Can duplicate Yelp listings affect your SEO? No one can answer this question definitively. However, in SEO, typically, anything duplicated can harm you, not help you. It is possible that having multiple listings can confuse search engines and cause your rankings to lower. This article will explain why this may be the case and what you should do instead.
Will Duplicate Yelp Listings Hurt Or Help SEO
Whether or not your SEO can be affected by multiple Yelp listings can only be answered with speculation. This is because no one truly knows the answer to this question. We are an SEO agency and we can therefore speculate based on everything we already know about SEO. The reason duplicated content and listings can potentially harm your SEO is because Google takes any duplication very seriously.
While this example is different than duplicate Yelp listings, it will serve as an example. Suppose you were to copy a competitor's article, service page, about page, etc., any copied content. In that case, Google will notice, intervene, and the website found guilty of plagiarism will have the hammer dropped on them. Google will determine who is the one that copied based on which content was crawled and discovered first by their spiders (bots Google uses to discover and index websites).
However, Yelp listings are obviously a bit different than if you were to plagiarize an entire article from a competitor. But, if there are multiple listings in the same directory, Google may be unable to determine which one is the correct listing, and Google rewards websites that have uniform information wherever they are referenced online.
Duplicate Listings & How Google Rewards Reliable Information
A critical aspect of SEO is a concept called NAP (Name, Address, Phone number). Now, NAP refers to local citations. Local directories and websites you can submit your business to are considered local citations. These directories are free and usually do not offer the option to link to your website, but they allow you to list your NAP. While Google uses its spiders to crawl every website on the internet, in time, they will come across these local directories and see the information about your business. If the NAP in - ideally - every place your business is mentioned is the same, Google will see this information as reliable. Google will deem your business and your website as more credible and trustworthy. In turn, your rankings will rise.
How Google May View Duplicate Yelp Listings
Now, understanding that identical information is seen as reliable in the eyes of Google, how can we use this information to determine how Google might view duplicate Yelp listings? If you had multiple Yelp listings that were all about the same business, the only way you would be able to make use of various listings would be to have slightly different information on each listing. Google will eventually see all of your listings and can potentially be confused by the lack of consistency and therefore deem your business and website as less credible, which can lead to your rankings suffering. Again, this is only speculation, but this same concept is true everywhere else in SEO, which leads us to believe it will also ring true here.
Ensure All Information About Your Business Is Identical
Now, with everything we've covered in this article, the choice is yours. If you feel duplicate Yelp listings may help you, don't change a thing. However, if you want to avoid risking anything, we recommend keeping the most relevant Yelp listing and deleting the others. You want to ensure that in every place your business/website is mentioned, all of the information you display is identical. The only exception should be your bio. In every place you mention your business/website, you typically have the opportunity to give a few sentences/paragraphs describing what you do. That small bio section is the only thing that should be different from place to place.
For your biography section, in each place your business/website can be mentioned, it is essential to write a custom biography. Tailor it for the demographic likely to be found using that particular website, and ensure it is optimized with your targeted keywords. Other than the biography, however, ensure all information is identical.
When Is Duplicate Content Acceptable
Typically the only content you are allowed to duplicate is your own. Content that originates from your website can be copied without penalty. Landing pages are a prime example of this. Professional SEO agencies will duplicate landing pages, changing very little. Once you have a quality service page that ranks well, you can copy it without penalty. This is how SEO agencies have done landing pages for years, and Google has never expressed any concern or care.
This practice of landing page creation has helped SEO agencies charge less for SEO services than they would have if each city required a unique page.
Hopefully, this article has helped answer your question regarding whether or not duplicate Yelp listings can affect your SEO potential. If you want to learn more about SEO in general, a great place to start would be our blog! We've got articles dealing with the primary goal of any search engine, all the way to the benefits of investing in SEO.