Do You Need A Unique Description for Each Citation Built?

A question that has been long answered in my head, came to me today: would it count as duplicate content if my description is the same on all of the listings I’ve added? The answer is no.

I’ve thought about this long and hard, done my research and couldn’t find a lot of information regarding this question. After all, I don’t actually know anyone else that building manual local citations for their clients – besides myself.

Let me expand on why I said no it wouldn’t class as duplicate content and it doesn’t need to be unique.

Firstly, let me explain what duplicate content is. Duplicate content is when a piece of content is found on more than one website. Why is this bad? In some cases, Google will give a penalty to the site that hosts the duplicate content, which can impact your current rankings.

So here’s why I asked this question. I see on some business directories it asks if the business description you’re entering is unique and not displayed on any other websites – why? Because I guess they don’t want to be demoted in the SERPs.

Fair enough, but the question is, do you really need to provide a unique business description for each listing that you add?

I think not.

And here’s my theory, there will always be duplicate content on the web and the biggest is your NAPW (name, address, phone, website) across all of your listings. And Google encourages you to create consistency with this information, meaning they want it to be duplicated.


And, even if you did create a unique business description for each listing you create, it’s so likely that your description will become a duplicate anyway. This falls down the Local Search Ecosystem in the UK (and other countries). This means that large business directories such as GMB, Thomson Local, and Yell are huge primary data sources for all other business directories, leaving the chances likely for duplicate content from listing to another.

Unless this topic is spoken on from an employee at Google, it will remain unanswered.

Update (12/01/2018)

6 months later, I finally got some responses from the SEO community.

Let’s take a look.

Rand Fishkin, Moz

I think what Rand is saying here is that it’s a good thing to have the same description, as long as there’s only a paragraph about the business. This way Google won’t treat it as duplicate content. Obviously, as long as your NAP has its consistency.

Alan Bleiweiss, Alan Bleiweiss Consulting

Alan being well known for his in-depth SEO audits, provided a great answer. He states that it’s one of those things that cannot be helped. And I stated this earlier in the post, other directories are bound to crawl and resubmit data from one source onto another.

Then he adds in the second tweet that if you have a spammy description then it will be a weak point for your citations. So make sure your descriptions are good and provide quality information.

Chase Reiner, Chase Reiner SEO

Even Chase doesn’t think it will affect citations – so I’m not the only one.

I guess this finalises it, you do not need a unique description for every citation created. Thanks all for your input.