Written by TeleVox partner, Wpromote
So you’ve just moved into a newly renovated office in a completely different city. It’s in a great location, it has beautiful renovations, and it’s got the extra space you need for your growing practice. There’s just one small problem: Google.
Moving locations can often be a death sentence for a business’s local search rankings, especially if you’ve worked hard to rank for local keywords in your city. For businesses that have invested in an amazing website design and rely on their website to bring in new patients, this is a significant problem. Thankfully, though, Google is getting better every day at dealing with businesses that change locations. If you play your cards right, this shouldn’t have too much of an impact on your rankings.
Getting Your Ducks in a Row
First things first: your website is your highest priority. Go through all of your pages, and anytime you find a mention of your previous address, change it. Be especially sure to update your main location pages (these may include your contact page, about us page, or maps and directions page) and your website header and footer with the new address. Then, comb through all of your onsite copy and replace any mentions of your old location with your new one.
Once you’ve taken care of your onsite text, it’s time to edit your title tags and meta descriptions. You’ll want to ensure that all of your tags are updated with the new town you are located in. If you don’t edit your website directly, your Webmaster or web designer should be able to do this for you.
While your website is the most important thing to update, it’s probably not the only thing that affects your local rankings. You’ll want to ensure that your profiles on local sites like Google+, Google My Business, Yelp, and Angie’s List are accurate. It’s critical to hit the major directories, but don’t forget niche ones targeted towards dentists and orthodontics – ZocDoc is a common example. Finally, check for any local city and state directories. These are often organized through the city’s Chamber of Commerce.
Take the move as an opportunity to check for duplicate listings and mark any other inaccurate listing of your business – like the one for your previous location – as closed. Additionally, check for the company that occupied your new location before you and mark them as closed.
After giving some time for these changes to circulate, try double checking your efforts by searching for your business like a patient would. How easy is it to find your practice when searching on the Google Maps mobile app? Via Safari? On Yelp? Is the location right or still incorrect? You want it to be as easy as possible for patients to find your business, so be sure to check every possibility.
As always, social media is your friend. Try to keep all of your social pages and profiles extra active in the time leading up to and following the move. Change your address in the ‘About’ section and don’t be afraid to write a blog about the big move. As an added measure, it wouldn’t hurt to send an email or a postcard to all your current patients updating them on the move. If you use an automated appointment reminder service featuring text message or email appointment reminders, patients probably won’t mind if they get a quick notification informing them of your new location.
Finally, don’t be afraid to run a social ad campaign specifically highlighting the location change. In general, it’s better to be “louder” than to be “quieter.” In addition to keeping your customers informed of your location change, this will also drive more traffic to your page and help give your rankings a bit of cushion.
Be Patient and Don’t Be Afraid to Call
Even if you do everything right, you still may see a temporary dip in your search rankings after a move. This is normal and is no cause for concern – just stay the course, keep checking for duplicate listings, and continue following best practices for local SEO. With a little time, Google’s algorithm will adjust to the location change and you should see your rankings come back up to old levels.
If something is confusing or not working, don’t be afraid to reach out to Google. It’s a gigantic company, but its customer support department is surprisingly helpful. If you’re making your best effort to work with them, they’ll do the same for you – after all, they want to highlight good businesses. If you’re doing everything right, they want to make sure you show up high in the search results.