Duplicate Business Listings: How do you find and deal with them?
Well, if you have an online website, you must be aware of all the necessary factors that can affect your SEO, right?! Some of the crucial ones that can highly affect your rank are bad reviews, insufficient quality backlinks, improper NAP information, etc.
Apart from all these factors, there is one other crucial factor that needs your attention if you want to build a quality audience for your business website. You need to have a Google My Business listing.
If you haven’t observed it yet, you need to check if there is any other duplicate listing of your business.
What is a Duplicate listing? That is your first question now, right?
Let us take a look at the term duplicate listing.
What is a Duplicate listing?
In general, terms, if there is more than one listing of your business on Google My Business, that one is the duplicate listing.
For example: If you have a grocery store, but you also provide delivery of groceries to people’s homes. And if you create 2 different listings for the same business location, it will be counted as a duplicate listing.
We can agree on the fact that you want to increase the scope of your online business, but you should know that it will do more damage than benefit to your business.
Drawbacks of duplicate listings
Let’s take a look at some of the drawbacks of duplicate listings:
- It can confuse the customers: It is pretty obvious that if the users come looking for your business on the web and find the inconsistent address, it will not be good for your business. How? Your customers can get confused due to the inconsistency in the address and other information. This can also result in losing potential customers.
- Your account can get suspended: Now, as your potential customers cannot find your business due to mismatch in the contact information. Their frustration can lead to complaints and, in turn, suspension of your business listing. Believe me; it is very difficult to get back to the listing once you are out. This will also cause you a lot of site visitors and revenue.
- Local SEO: Whenever someone searches for a business service online, local results pop up on the top, right? Now, if you have a duplicate listing of your business, it can cause problems for the search engine in raking your business. They may lead your business to appear very low in the Google search results.
It is not likely every time that you create a duplicate business listing yourself. There are some other ways through which a duplicate listing of your business gets created.
Let us take a look at that:
- Auto Generation: It may sound a bit weird, but yes, a duplicate listing can also generate automatically. Google tends to create a new business listing if it detects any variations in the various provided business details. It is pretty easy to remove this type of business listing.
- Created by a random user: Well, if a user is a fan of your restaurant and he tends to add information about your business location online, for example, on Google Maps. If Google itself does not has a match for it, a duplicate listing gets created.
- Loss of Information about the old listing: The information regarding your business can change over time, right? This means that you may forget about the old information and decide to create a new one. This can result in creating a duplicate listing.
Well, that is all about the what and why of the duplicate business listing. If you come across a duplicate business listing, you would be more interested in knowing what to do about it or how to get it removed or merged. Be patient; you will know everything about it in the coming sections!
How to filter a duplicate listing?
Actually, you can use all the NAP parameters to know if your business has a duplicate listing.
- Contact Number: The first parameter to check if the business listing is real or fake is the phone number. You can check the phone numbers in the Google listings and can cross verify them with that on the business website. It will help you distinguish between business listing.
- Business Name: Your business is your identity, but it can sometimes happen that spammers play with some keywords and create a duplicate listing. But, there is no need to worry. If it is a duplicate listing, there will surely be something that will match with your original listing. Look for pictures attached with the listing, phone numbers, business logo to find if it is duplicate or real.
- You can also use the address: Sometimes, a business listing can also be duplicated by changing some aspects of the address like suite number, building number, moving the pin on the map, etc. You can look for landmarks that are near your original business listing. Also, check for the phone number of the business listing. You will surely get to know if it is fake.
What to do if you find a duplicate business listing?
Well, if you find a duplicate listing for your business, there are many ways to deal with it. You can either get it removed or merge it with your current listing. In doing so, there are some things that need consideration. Lets discuss:
There are basically two methods to deal with a duplicate business listing, you can either get it removed or merged. Now, to do that:
- You can report it using the Google Redressal Complaint Form: For this, you need to do thorough research about the listing and submit the proofs to Google Support for acknowledgment.
- Suggest an Edit in Google Maps: If you find a listing that has the same information as your business, you can choose the suggest an edit feature to get it modified. If your edit gets approved, you can get it removed, and Google will display it as “Duplicate of another”
You are not the only one that needs to grow his or her business; you have competitors that are trying equally hard to get on the top.
They may not play by the rules as you do, so if you find a business listing of your competitor, that is not a genuine one. Go for the following methods:
- Power of Keywords: Your competitors can harness the power of keywords by using them in different listings to gain benefits. This is not in favor of the guidelines and hence needs to be reported. You can gather all the necessary evidence regarding this and submit it to Google for verification. You can also use the Suggest an edit option in Google Maps.
- Reviews: This method is a bit tricky. Why? There can be some listings that have reviews in them and that is a bit harder to remove. But, you can do it by following the same Google Redressal Complaint Form and Suggest an Edit in Google Maps method. The thing that may go south on you in this is if Google merges that listing with the original listing of your competitor. You may lose or gain ranking; it will depend on the legitimacy of the reviews.
So far, we have only reviewed reporting and getting the fake business listing away from your eyes. But, what if you could use those listings for your good. Yes, you can!
Why do you need to merge the duplicate listing?
If you find a duplicate listing of your business that can benefit your current listing in any way, it is best to merge both of them. But, you need to make sure that it is claimed or not.
Is the listing claimed or not?
This process is pretty simple; all you need to do is open the Google Map info of the business and look towards the bottom of the details like phone number, location, etc.
- If you find the option “Claim this business”, it is not claimed.
- If it shows “Manage” or has nothing to show in this context, then it is claimed.
Now, if you want to get the ownership of the claimed or unclaimed business, you need to follow a procedure that will be discussed shortly.
Until that time, let us consider the factors for which you can merge the duplicate listing with claimed one.
- If the listing has positive reviews: It is best for you if you get a duplicate listing with positive reviews. You just need to check if it is claimed or not. Along with this, also verify it has some valuable user-generated content that is older than your claimed listing. It will also help your business grow.
- If it has a relatively high rank: Look for the keywords used in the duplicate listing, if they have a high Google ranking than your current listing. You should definitely merge that listing with yours.
What to do if the duplicate listing of your business is claimed?
If you find a listing that has your business information and has been claimed by someone else, you need to get the ownership of that listing.
The process of getting access to the listing varies a bit based on your business. If your business venture has a physical location, you need to follow the below-mentioned steps:
- Try to claim the business by filling out the form and requesting access.
- Soon, you will receive an email from Google that you need to save.
- Google allows the owner to respond to your request in three days.
- If the owner does not respond, you can go to your saved email and click on view request > appeal or verify (if the owner responds).
- This will begin the process of verification by postcard (Google uses this process to send verification code to the physical location). If you are the rightful owner, you will get the postcard.
- Upon entering the code, you will get the ownership of the listing. Now, you can edit any information in the list as per your preference.
If your business does not has a physical location, but you provide service in a particular area, you follow the mentioned steps:
- Go to Google My Business creation page and create a new business listing of yours. Enter all the required details, and in the end, you will get a postcard-like in the previous process. Google postcard arrives in at least 10 days.
- Verify your code and post this; a dialog box will show “Owner Conflict”. Now, you need to request access.
- After you have submitted your request, you need to wait for three days, along with saving the mail that Google will send you.
- If the owner denies your request, you need to get all the necessary pieces of evidence that proves you as the rightful owner of the listing and submit them to Google My Business Support.
- They will surely help you get that listing.
Let’s Wrap It Up!
In a nutshell, we can say that it seems like a good idea to create different business listings. But, they can create a problem for you in the long run. If, in any case, you find a duplicate listing of your business, you need to get it removed or merge it as per the situation.
In the case of your competitors, duplicate listings can result in unfair competition, and that needs to be addressed to Google as soon as possible.
It is equally important for you to have tools that can help you find and manage the duplicate listings of your business on Google.