★★★★★ "Mindflow Marketing does care about delivering results" - Dmitry Lipinskiy

   Call Us Now:  (404) 775 9995

HomeBlogDigital MarketingHow Duplicate Online Business Listings Hurt Your Rankings

How Duplicate Online Business Listings Hurt Your Rankings

In the digital age, understanding how duplicate online business listings can hurt your rankings is crucial for businesses and marketers alike. Duplicate content significantly threatens search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, often leading to decreased visibility and lost potential customers.

This blog post will explore the dangers of duplicate listings, including suspending a Google My Business account due to duplicate content, competitors gaining more visibility because of divided rankings, and diluting link authority with keyword cannibalization. We’ll also discuss how to differentiate between genuine separate businesses and duplicate listings by identifying unique NAP data or recognizing incorrect marking of duplicates in shared locations.

Furthermore, we will explore common causes for duplicate business listings, such as changing addresses or contact details, causing discrepancies, and losing track of directory logins leading to unintended duplications. To help you maintain a strong online presence while avoiding these pitfalls, we will provide tips on monitoring and removing duplicates effectively using search operators & specialized tools.

Lastly, this comprehensive guide on how duplicate online business listings can hurt your rankings will cover claiming and managing business listings on review sites like Yelp & Google My Business, as well as ensuring NAP data consistency for better local SEO performance. Additionally, we’ll share valuable insights on avoiding internal duplicate content creation in website rankings through writing original content and utilizing meta tags effectively.

Duplicate Online Business Listings

The Dangers of Duplicate Listings

Duplicate online business listings can significantly hurt your search rankings, user experience, traffic, and revenue. These issues arise when there is more than one listing for a single entity on a platform or if additional listings within a business location are incorrectly marked as duplicates. In this section, we will discuss the adverse outcomes of duplicate listings.

GMB Account Suspension Due to Duplicate Content

One major consequence of having duplicate business listings may lead to a suspension of the Google My Business (GMB) account. This happens because Google considers multiple entries with similar content as spammy behavior and might penalize your local SEO efforts by suspending your GMB account.

Competitors Gaining More Visibility Because of Divided Rankings

Duplicate listings also divide the ranking potential between them, allowing competitors to gain more visibility in search results. When users find multiple instances of your business online, they might get confused about which one represents the authentic brand presence leading them towards other businesses instead – ultimately hurting your chances at attracting potential customers.

Dilution of Link Authority and Keyword Cannibalization

  • Link authority dilution: Duplicate content poses an issue where link equity gets divided among different versions rather than being concentrated on one authoritative page, thus diminishing its value for improving search engine rankings.
  • Keyword cannibalization: Another risk associated with duplicate content is keyword cannibalization, wherein two or more pages compete against each other for the same keywords, thereby reducing their overall effectiveness in terms of SEO rankings and driving organic traffic from search engines like Google and Bing.

To avoid these issues, it’s crucial to find duplicate listings and take appropriate action in a timely manner. Regularly monitoring your business listing on various platforms like GMB, Yelp, and BrightLocal will help you identify any inconsistencies or duplications that might be affecting your local SEO performance.

Genuine Separate Businesses vs. Duplicate Listings

It’s essential to differentiate between genuine separate businesses and duplicate listings before taking any action. Genuine separate businesses include those within other businesses, multi-practitioner offices, and multi-building locations – provided they each have their own name and phone number. Understanding the difference can help you avoid unnecessary complications with your local SEO efforts.

Identifying Genuine Separate Businesses with Unique NAP Data

To determine if a listing is for a legitimate separate business or just another instance of duplicate content, check its Name-Address-Phone (NAP) data. If the NAP information differs from other listings on the same platform or directory, it may be considered as an authentic individual entity.

  • Name: The business should have a distinct name that sets it apart from others in the same location.
  • Address: To ensure proper differentiation, each business must have its physical address or suite number.
  • Phone Number: A unique contact number for each establishment helps search engines recognize them as different entities.

Recognizing Incorrect Marking of Duplicates in Shared Locations

In some cases, multiple businesses operating at one location might be mistakenly marked as duplicates by search engines like Google due to similar content present across their websites or local listings. This could lead to undesired consequences such as lower rankings and online visibility issues for these establishments.

To rectify this situation, consider contacting platforms like Google My Business (GMB guidelines) or Yelp (Yelp guidelines) to inform them about the discrepancies and request a review of your listings. Providing sufficient evidence, such as photos or documentation proving separate business operations, can help expedite the process.

Another effective strategy is to create unique content for each business’s website and local listing pages. This will improve their local SEO rankings and make it easier for search engines to differentiate between genuine separate businesses and duplicate listings.

Common Causes for Duplicate Business Listings

Duplicate business listings can significantly hinder your local SEO efforts, negatively impacting search engine rankings and user experience. Several scenarios lead to the creation of duplicate listings, such as changing business information over time or adding the same business to multiple directories without securely storing log in information. This common faux pas leads to inconsistencies in Name-Address-Phone (NAP) data across platforms like Google My Business (GMB), Yelp, and BrightLocal, adversely affecting local SEO performance. Let’s discuss these causes in detail. 

1. Changing addresses or contact details causes discrepancies

One of the primary reasons for duplicate listings is businesses changing their address, phone number, or other vital details over time. When this happens, you must update all existing online profiles with accurate and consistent information. Failing to do so will result in multiple versions of your listing appearing on various platforms containing outdated or incorrect data, leading search engines like Google to view them as separate entities rather than one cohesive brand presence.

2. Losing track of directory logins leads to unintended duplications

Another cause for duplicate listings is when businesses lose track of their login credentials for online directories where they have previously listed themselves. In an attempt to rectify this issue, they may create new accounts instead of updating old ones resulting in several identical entries across different sites – ultimately harming their SEO rankings. To avoid such situations, always maintain a secure record of all your directory logins enabling easy access whenever required while also ensuring consistency throughout every platform.

Tips for preventing duplicate content:

  • Regularly audit your online presence to identify and remove duplicate listings.
  • Maintain a secure record of all directory logins for easy access and updates.
  • Ensure NAP data consistency across all platforms, including GMB, Yelp, and BrightLocal.

Monitoring and Removing Duplicates Effectively

Duplicate business listings can significantly impact your local SEO efforts, search engine rankings, and overall online presence. To avoid these issues, monitoring for duplicate content regularly and taking appropriate action when necessary is crucial. This part’ll examine the correct procedures for discovering and eliminating duplicate entries.

Using Search Operators & Specialized Tools to Find Duplicates

You can use Google search operators such as “site:” followed by your domain name or specific directories where your business is listed to identify potential duplicates. For example:

This query will return results containing both your business name and address on Yelp’s website.

Besides using search operators, there are specialized local SEO tools available that can help you find duplicate listings more efficiently. Some popular options include:

  • BrightLocal: Offers a comprehensive suite of local SEO tools, including citation tracking, review monitoring, and Google My Business management.
  • WhiteSpark: Provides various services like citation building, reputation management, and a Local Citation Finder tool to discover existing citations with inconsistencies or duplicates.
  • Yext: A powerful platform that helps businesses manage their digital knowledge across numerous sites while identifying discrepancies in NAP data which may lead to duplication issues.

Removing Duplicate Listings to Maintain a Single, Accurate Listing

Once you’ve identified duplicate listings, it’s essential to take action and remove them. This process may vary depending on the platform where the duplicates are found. For example:

  • Google My Business (GMB): If you find multiple GMB listings for your business, log in to your account and select “Remove this listing” from the menu of each duplicate location. You can also report duplicates directly to Google.
  • Yelp: To report a duplicate Yelp listing, visit the specific page and click on “Report this profile” at the bottom right corner under “Business info summary.” Follow their instructions for reporting duplicates.
  • BrightLocal & Other Directories: Reach out to customer support or follow their guidelines for removing or merging duplicate listings.

Claiming and Managing Business Listings on Review Sites

Duplicate business listings can hurt your local SEO efforts, making it essential to claim and manage your presence on review sites like Yelp and Google My Business (GMB). Ensuring that your Name-Address-Phone (NAP) data is consistent across all platforms helps maintain uniformity, thereby reducing the chances of creating unintended duplications. In this section, we will discuss how to effectively claim businesses on review sites and ensure NAP data consistency for better local SEO performance.

Claiming Businesses on Yelp & Google My Business

To avoid duplicate listings harming your search engine rankings, claiming ownership of your business profile on both Yelp and GMB is crucial. Claiming a listing allows you to edit the information displayed about your company, ensuring its accuracy while also preventing unauthorized changes by third parties. Follow these steps:

  1. Create an account: Sign up for an account with each platform if you haven’t already done so.
  2. Search for existing listings: Look up your business name in their respective search engines (Yelp Search, Google Maps Search) to find any existing profiles.
  3. Select “claim this business”: If you find a listing that belongs to you but isn’t claimed yet, click the option provided by each site: “Claim This Business” button or link.
  4. Verify your business: Follow the platform’s verification process, which may include phone calls or postcard mailings to confirm that you’re authorized to manage the listing.

Ensuring NAP Data Consistency for Better Local SEO Performance

Maintaining consistent NAP data across all platforms is essential in preventing duplicate listings and improving local search engine rankings. Here are some tips on how to ensure uniformity:

  • Audit existing listings: Regularly review your business profiles on Yelp, GMB, and other directories like BrightLocal, ensuring that your NAP information is accurate and up-to-date.
  • Create a standard format: Establish a standardized format for displaying your company name, address, and phone number. This will help avoid discrepancies between different platforms due to formatting variations.
  • Edit inaccurate information promptly: If you find any inconsistencies in your NAP data during audits or receive notifications from customers about incorrect details, make sure to update them as soon as possible.
  • Delete duplicate listings: If you encounter multiple instances of the same business location with identical or similar content while auditing profiles, remove duplicates following each platform’s guidelines (Google My Business Help Center, Yelp Support Center).

Avoid Duplicate Content Creation in Website Rankings

In addition to managing existing duplicate content, proactively avoiding its creation is essential for maintaining and improving your website’s search engine rankings. Writing 100% original material should be practiced diligently, and utilizing meta tags effectively where needed. This section will discuss strategies for producing unique content and employing meta tags to minimize duplication issues.

Writing Original Content for Better Search Engine Rankings

Creating valuable and original content engages potential customers and helps rank high on search engines like Google. As per Social Media Examiner’s report, 58% of marketers consider “original written content” as the most crucial form of content, surpassing visuals and videos.

 Follow these tips to ensure the production of quality content:

  • Research thoroughly: Before writing any piece of content, conduct extensive research on the topic. This will help you gather new insights and ideas to set your work apart.
  • Create unique product descriptions: Avoid using manufacturer-provided descriptions for eCommerce websites, as they are likely duplicated across multiple sites. Instead, invest time in creating unique product descriptions.
  • Rewrite similar articles: If you need to cover a topic already discussed elsewhere on your site or another source, make sure to rewrite it entirely so that it constitutes fresh material.
  • Add value through expertise: Share expert opinions or experiences related to the subject matter – this adds depth and authenticity while making your work more engaging.

Utilizing Meta Tags Effectively to Minimize Duplication Issues

Besides generating original text-based content, implementing proper meta tag usage can prevent Google from considering duplicate pages as copied materials which may hurt your website’s ranking. Here are some meta tag best practices:

  • Use self-referring canonical tags on homepages: This informs Google that the homepage is the preferred URL version, avoiding internal duplicate content issues.
  • Avoid swapping canonical tags between two pages: Doing so may confuse search engines and dilute link equity. Instead, choose one page as the primary source and use a <link rel=”canonical”> tag to point to other similar pages to it.
  • Don’t form canonical chains: Ensure that there are no multiple redirects or loops in your site structure by using proper 301 redirects.

FAQs in Relation to How Duplicate Online Business Listings Can Hurt Your Rankings

Duplicate content harms SEO because it confuses search engines when determining which page version should be indexed and ranked. This can lead to divided ranking signals, dilution of link authority, keyword cannibalization, and lower visibility in search results. Ensuring unique and high-quality content helps improve your site’s SEO.

Yes, having multiple Yelp listings for the same business can adversely affect local SEO efforts by dividing customer reviews across separate pages instead of consolidating them under one listing. This weakens the business’s overall online presence on review sites like Yelp and makes it harder for potential customers to find accurate information about your company.

No specific percentage defines an acceptable amount of duplicate content; however, minimizing duplication as much as possible should be a priority. Focus on creating original material tailored to each webpage or platform you publish on while ensuring consistent NAP (Name, Address & Phone number) data across all platforms for optimal local SEO results.


In conclusion, having duplicate online business listings can harm your local SEO efforts and lead to lost revenue due to a loss of trust from potential customers. Inaccurate NAP data across platforms and multiple directory submissions with inconsistent login details are common causes of duplicate listings. Unmanaged duplicates can result in suspension risks for GMB accounts, diluted link authority, and lowered CTRs.

Identifying and removing duplicate listings using specialized tools such as BrightLocal and WhiteSpark is crucial for maintaining the accuracy of your online presence. Proactively avoiding duplicate content creation through unique content writing and proper use of meta tags is also important. Additionally, customer reviews play a significant role in local search rankings, along with backlinks, in boosting visibility.

If you want to ensure that your business has accurate online information while avoiding the dangers of duplicate listings affecting your rankings, consider partnering with Mindflowmarketing today.

Logo Transparent
Grow 10 times faster with an award-winning SEO agency

© 2024 · Mindflow Marketing