If you are planning to move your agency, here are some tips to prevent your Google ranking from becoming a disaster. Now, before you get excited and make these changes weeks before your actual move, you should know that premature address changes are against Google guidelines and could cause a lot of issues in the future. That’s why we recommend following these best practices from start to finish without skipping steps or jumping ahead!
First, Behind the Scenes Updates
You should update your website before making any Google My Business changes. Once you request your address change, Google will look over your website to see if the new location (and your request) is valid. Seeing the new address already on your website will let Google know the location change is credible and your business will be moving.
Here’s a tip for where to find your old address on your website: Check your “About Us,” “Contact Us,” and other location pages as well as your headers and footers. Another place people often miss is pictures, so check all the photos on your website to make sure they don’t contain any mention of your old address. It’s also important to replace the photos of your old office with new ones to make it very clear to clients and prospects that your location changed.
Now, Let’s Talk Google
Before you update your address on Google My Business, you should do a search to make sure there are no other business currently listed at the same location. This could happen for a number of reasons: Previous businesses that forgot to notify Google, multiple businesses renting space in the same building, etc.
To conduct your search, go to Google Maps and search for your specific address. If nothing pops up, you are good to update your address. If there is another business at the exact same address (same suite number and everything), you will have to submit an edit with an explanation that justifies why you are recommending Google change this business’s address.
Time to Update Your Google My Business
Now, it’s time to update your current business listing. Here are a few things to remember when changing your information:
- Do not create a new business listing. You can log into your Google My Business account, and from your dashboard you can make changes to your address. Be prepared to go through their verification process as an extra measure of security. Google doesn’t make your changes immediately because it needs to verify if your changes are legitimate.
- Double check the Google Maps pin marker correctly indicates your new location. It will move when you change the address, but it sometimes isn’t completely accurate.
Finally, Take a Look at Other Sites
To wrap up your online location changes, take a look at websites where you are cited. This includes your social media, Yelp, carrier websites, etc. If you’d like to learn how to market your move as a prospecting tool, read our IA Moving Checklist.
Unfortunately, your Google ranking might still fluctuate as Google verifies your new location, but this is normal for all businesses. If you follow these steps in order and complete them, you can minimize the negative impact on your SEO.