Whenever a local business has multiple listings for a singular physical listing in an online directory, the other listings are considered to be duplicates. There can be a number of negative outcomes that will arise from duplicate listings, taking away from your local business's ability to win customers or score decent rankings. The quality guidelines for local business information on Google details plain language regarding the number of listings that any business can have. You can never create more than one location for any business location, either with a single account or with multiple accounts.
There will be some exceptions to this, such as when you have legal firms with multiple partners or medical offices with multiple practitioners. In many cases, the failure to comply with any rule can be grounds for any, or all, of the following:
With a duplicate listing, you will never know which listing will outrank any other. You could end up with a listing that is highly visible that has an address that is outdated, a phone number that is wrong, or a number of other problems that will show up with searches instead of those that are approved and correct. New customers could easily be misdirected with poor data, causing your company to lose business.
Review equity might be split throughout different duplicate listings
Instead of having one profile that has 20 amazing reviews, you could have one listing with a handful of reviews and then another with even more. If you have one with only poor reviews that comes up, the reputation that you are working on could end up being invisible to any potential customers. The major search engines will have a difficult time when trying to determine which listing can be trusted, whether it is within their index, or in another index that they will rely on for their data. You need to send out a clear signal about the business so that search engines have the proper place listed.
Due to the way that data gets fed from a local business index to others on the internet, even a single duplicate listing that has bad data can be copied throughout multiple platforms. Older listings that have poor information could create newer listings with duplicate errors.
The management of a single listing can be difficult enough
If you have a business and you need to update your information, you could edit the wrong listings if they happen to be duplicated. The changes may not appear live if you are not editing the listing that the search engines or index decided to be the most authoritative for your business.
Duplicate listings will not always be your fault
Some local business owners may have intentions of creating more than one of the listings for a physical location, simply because they believed mistakenly that it would help the rankings. Quite often, duplicates might arise from automated activity on the part of the directories or search engines. Regardless of how the duplicates came about, it is best practice to have them removed.