How to Relocate Your Small Business Without Losing Visibility
- Posted by: Hiren Ponkia on 05 Oct, 2015
If you are a local business, chances are that you’ll move to another location. If you do, moving itself isn’t an easy task by itself. Further, it brings in other problems you may or may not have foreseen. Moving locations affects your citations, Google+ local page, and can be a potential SEO nightmare.
As if SEO wasn’t hard enough, moving brings a host of new problems related to SEO. As E A Quinn of Read Below the Fold points out, moving causes address inconsistency, which in turn causes:
- Drop in rankings
- Duplicate listings appearing in the search results
- Incorrect listings appearing in the business listing sites like Internet yellow pages or local search engines
- Drop in authority caused by duplicate listings diluting your presence in local search results
Here’s what you need to do when you decide to move, or if you’ve already moved to ensure that your SEO efforts don’t go abortive:
The first thing you need to do would be to get a new telephone number, this is of utmost importance. It’s an important entry as a part of your web citations and Google use this to verify the authenticity of your business.
Jeffrey Magner of Trumpet Local Media recommends using Google Voice (a free resource) or even paid resources such as GrassHopper to get a local number. Using Grasshopper, you can also forward your calls from the new number to the old one or actually make your business look more professional with a complete IVR (Interactive Voice Response) setup.
David Mihm who wrote for moz.com alludes to how even an organization like SCORE had to dig into seemingly endless work, just because SCORE’s Austin chapter moved 8 miles northeast.
NAP (Name, Address, and Phone) information is basically your digital thumbprint and it ought to remain consistent throughout the web. That means that you have to get all the three parameters right, when you move. In case of SCORE, the name doesn’t exactly show up the same way across their citation sources. So, in effect, they look like this:
US Score-Services Corps of Retired (Google)
US SCORE-SVC CORPS OF RETIRED (Infogroup)
US Score-Svc Corps of Retired (YP.com)
Service Corps of RTRD Exctvs Assctn (Nokia)
SCORE’s business number remains the same but the address changed. Also, their recent rebranding exercise giving separate subdomains for each chapter now brings in inconsistences with email addresses that Google+ local pages are associated with.
In order to update correctly here are some steps to consider.
Create a new XML sitemap for your website and resubmit the file to Google through your Google Web master tools account. Google Webmaster Tools provides you useful statistical and detailed reports about your pages’ visibility on Google.
Social media is one of the vital tools of connecting with your customer base, there’s no question regarding this fact. So when you are changing your location make sure that this change is reflected in your online or social media profiles.
Social Media profiles are your de facto information centers for your customers, potential leads, and for everyone else. The first places that’ll need your attention, apart from Google+ page, are:
According to Ryan Lite of Mashable.com,Google+ is now the second-largest social media site in the world and boasts a user base upwards of 240 million.
As a local business, your Google+ page is mandatory. If you are moving locations, you may either work on Google+ local page that Google creates for you automatically or create a new one altogether. Tim Vahsholtz explains how he did it for his client. Note that you’d have to verify any changes to old business information or new Google+ pages.
As for your Google My Business (Google Places) listings, Google recommends that you remove a listing if you no longer wish to use it. You may report that you are moving, or if you are closed permanently. If there’s a listing you’ve never used, remove it.
Since you are moving, find the closed or moved business on Google Maps, click on “report a problem” from the results displayed, and give the new location information in the comments.
One of the most important parts of SEO is anchor text associated with the backlinks. It’s likely that you’d have done tons of Local SEO work to target keywords like “Service + City Name, Area Name”.
Use a Backlinks Analysis Tool like Open Site Explorer to find your backlinks and set out to change anchor text for each link.
This could also be a good opportunity to review backlink quality and for delinking.
Google nowadays has become more sensitive to the plight of relocating businesses and the problems they face. Recently Google has allowed moving reviews from one listing to another depending upon certain criteria.
As Jade Wang, Google Employee announced in a Google Business Help thread,
We will transfer reviews from an old location of a business to a new location of business in many cases. We will not always transfer these reviews if the business goes through a significant rebrand.
Although there’s no guarantee that your existing local business reviews will be transferred accurately and completely, we recently wrote on how to transfer Google+ Local reviews on Effectual Media Blog.
Nyagoslav Zhekov wrote on how to change information – Structured or Unstructured — on citations all over the web that you’d have accumulated so far. Your information on listings, directories, and other places will need a revisit.
Structured Citations are your business listing on directories like yelp.com, yellowpages.com, and superpages.com. When it comes to local search rankings, According to David Mihm’s Local Search Ranking Factors, citations account for 25% of all local ranking factors.
Unstructured citations on the other hand refer to your business mention on websites, blogs, job websites, or event listings. These are ideal for maintaining high search engine rankings. When updating your citations don’t ignore the unstructured ones as well for ensuring the best results throughout.