Moving your business even just a few miles can be a painful process, and we’re not just talking about the headaches found in boxing up inventory and closing down your old shop. Believe it or not, even a minor move can lead to migraine-sized problems with your local SEO. Read on to learn more.
Surely, there must be a one-click way to let the entire online world know about your business’s new home, right? Sadly, the Internet doesn’t have the same tools that, say, the post office uses every day to forward mail to your new address. As a result, you could easily end up in a situation where your customers seek out your old address in Silver Lake long after you have moved to Echo Park. You simply can’t afford to get lost in the shuffle.
Okay, you say. This is a horrible situation, but it won’t happen to me because I updated my business’s Google+ page. The bad news is that this simply won’t be sufficient. Google pulls in information about your business from numerous sources throughout the Internet, some of which are not at all reliable. When you move offices, your address obviously changes, and that leads to an inconsistency in your business’s primary data, usually known by the acronym NAP. This refers to your name, address and phone number. When search engines encounter this inconsistency, they may rank you lower. When it comes to local SEO, this can be the kiss of death.
Don’t despair though. There are several things you can do to minimize the damage that could come from moving. First, if at all possible, keep your old phone number. Doing so will enable search engines such as Google to verify your new address more quickly.
Next, do some detective work of your own. Run a Google search using some of your old, now incorrect data. Take note of what pages come up. Then begin the process of alerting each to your recent change of address in the area. During this process, don’t forget about Google Maps. If you find that some of their information about you is outdated, click the “report a problem” button at the bottom of the list.
Although you might find a lot of incorrect information at local directory sites, they often initially obtain it from elsewhere. That’s why it is also imperative to change your data with Acxiom, Infogroup, ExpressUpdateUSA and Localeze. These companies provide business data not only to Google, but also to major mobile apps such as Facebook Nearby, Foursquare and Apple Maps.
No matter how diligent you are in performing these tasks, you need to also have a healthy dose of patience. It can sometimes take two to three months for your modifications to trickle down through the system. All you can do is to take pains to minimize the effects of the transition.