Having a clean business listings in search is considered the #2 most important search rank factor in SEO. Could your search rank be affected because you have duplicate phone number, address, business names – all over the place? Yes!
Why are duplicate phone numbers and addresses (or even names) in search engine listings harmful to search rank?
Because search engines try to provide an efficient search experience for the user who is searching (for anything really, but we are talking about a business here). If you think about it from the user’s point of view, and then think about it from the the search engine’s perspective, the need to provide one listing per real business is very important.
Imagine; what would you do as a search engine developer when you see 20 listings for your test-case search “AAA Locksmith”?
These same guys used AAA in the good’ol days of the phone book and they are still the same type of person today. They used A, then AA, then AAA was the trick to get ahead of the other guys in the phone book. These guys are still “spammers” today. These spammer-types make great test-cases for developers of search engines.
As a developer at your search engine, Im going to work very hard to clean the list by using ____what?___ to identify the duplicates? Well 1) phone numbers, 2) Addresses, right?
And as a developer at your search engine, I’m going to punish those guys who are purposely duplicating listings to get more clicks (and making my job harder). Those spammers are hurting the good guys that play by the rules. I’m going to punish them when I find them because I want them to stop spamming.
I get asked about the importance of phone numbers and Google My Business listings all the time, but this is pretty simple logic isn’t it? Now you may not be a spammer, but if you look like one, you’ll be treated like one.
So you can see why it is BAD to have duplicate listing. You don’t have to just accept that it’s a violation of Google’s guidelines to have more than one listing for a single business (unless it meets their standards of being a multi-practitioner or multi-department model).
What is a multi-practitioner? and what should you do it you are a multi-practitioner?
DON’T FORGET to scrub your website of the duplicate NAPs that are often in your website. Many customers only update their business listings at (Google, Bing, etc) but they forgot that long-long-ago someone put those phone numbers and addresses (and even old business names) into the meta tags (and sometimes even hard-coded) in the website.
LOOK AT THE CODE by using the Crtl-u keys. While looking at your webpage in a browser, most browsers allow you to see the code by pressing the Ctrl and “u” keys simultaneously. Then you can press Ctrl-f to search for anything in the code of the website.