Even if you’ve never heard the word before, if you are a business owner with a social media or online presence (pretty much all businesses in 2017!) the process of conflation may be having an adverse effect on your business’s SEO.
So what is conflation? We found a great podcast about it, but simply stated it is the merging of two or more sets of information into one. For the purposes of today’s post, let’s look at how conflation can create duplicate listings across the web and social media and how these duplicate listings can affect your SEO.
Conflation happens when data aggregators periodically audit data to ensure that a business’s information is correct. If the data aggregator analyzes this information and finds conflicting information, they may determine what they feel is the ‘correct’ information and create a new listing...all on their own! This frequently occurs due to web crawl errors, variations from one site to another, and poor listing accuracy throughout a company’s web presence. The data aggregator will combine info and create their own listings. And this can happen without you ever knowing...bad data gets merged.
Having this happen is a huge problem and will:
-Hurt your rankings.
-Frustrate and lose customers.
-Diminish your brand in the eyes of Google. Google and other search engines do not like conflicting data and will not trust your business or promote it.
Preventing duplicates requires active and consistent management. Sorry, there is no other solution aside from this! How do I do that you ask? Search for your business name on directory sites and ensure the spelling, address, phone number, web site address etc...are all correct. There might be something that you will find when you search and can correct. The longer you avoid managing the data, the more and more conflation will happen!!!
An example of this even happened to us this week at Hub!
We have a client that never properly set up a Facebook page but had check-ins on Facebook at their different business locations over the years. Facebook took it upon themselves to create new ‘unofficial’ page(s). Without ownership of the page there is no opportunity to approve, moderate, or delete content on them. Bummer, we know….and something that can seriously affect your business’s reputation. While this (and the drop in SEO!) is enough to be concerning, the steps needed to correct the situation can be numerous and time-consuming and when you are busy running a business, you don’t need these extra problems. This is why we ALWAYS recommend creating your own Facebook business page even if you have no intention of using it – though we strongly recommend, obviously, that you do set it up and use it with best practices (that we share here on our blogs) as a part of your integrated digital marketing and growth strategy!
Finally, if you do notice that there are duplicate Facebook pages for your business, you must have a verified business page on Facebook in order to merge unofficial pages with your official one.
As you know, we love to educate (knowledge is power!) and empower small businesses and now we hope you have the tools to manage conflation!