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The importance of having correct and consistent business listings across the web is no secret. What’s often neglected by small businesses though, is the addressing of duplicate or incorrect business listing profiles. While this doesn’t sound too threatening or worth your valuable time to address, you might want to reconsider before it turns into your own nightmare.

Recently, I received a new client that had numerous incorrect business listings populating Google results pages (SERP), as well as a graveyard of social media profiles. Generally speaking, social media profiles are relatively easy to gain control of and either merge with the correct page, or delete altogether. The real issues began to arise when duplicate Google My Business listings, with incorrect company names and addresses, begin showing up in the SERP, and on Google Maps.

Why is this an Issue?
  1. Different Google My Business listings were showing up in the 3-pack (listing of top results for geo-targeted searches), for different types of relevant search queries.
  2. Potential customers could call one of the wrong numbers
  3. My client didn’t generate sales from visits to their location, but you can imagine what problems their wrong addresses would have caused if they did.
  4. Google My Business is the epicenter of the local listing universe, which can make it difficult to track down the source of the incorrect listing.

If you think I may be overstating the complexity and importance of correcting inaccurate business listings, take a look at this image depicting the local search ecosystem.

Local Search Ecosystem

Courtesy of David Mihm and SEOmoz, Inc.

Yea, I wasn’t kidding. While your Cazbah Internet Marketing Consultant has the know how (and patience!) to straighten out your local listing issues, you can see how duplicate listings are something you really should avoid.

How to Avoid the Nightmare in the First Place…
  1. If you are considering adding a business listing, or even creating a new social media profile, spend the five minutes it takes to first make sure someone else at your company, or an overzealous customer, has not already created one. This will potentially save you as much as a few days of work down the road…no joke.
  2. Stress to your employees the importance of not creating or claiming any sort of social media profile (or really posting anything online that represents your company) without direction from your marketing staff or consultant ;). The simplicity of a profiles creation often leads people to underestimate their importance and potential negative impact when not done correctly.

How do you know if you have duplicate profiles? Call Cazbah and talk to your Internet Marketing Consultant. They will help you find any duplicate profiles and discuss a plan to fix them.