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 excellent website design and rely on their website to bring in new patients, this is a major problem. Thankfully, though, Google is getting better at dealing with businesses that change locations every day. 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 change, it’s certainly not the only thing that has an effect on 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 and 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, marking any other inaccurate listing of your business – like the one for your previous location – as closed. Additionally, check for the business that occupied your new location before you and mark them as closed.
After giving some time for these changes to propagate, try double checking your efforts by searching for your business as would a patient. 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 period 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 card 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 “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 practice 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.
And if something is confusing or not working, don’t be afraid to reach out to Google. They’re a gigantic company, but their 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 come up high in the search results.
As a Senior Account Manager at Wpromote, Kaitlyn is responsible for assisting West clients with their digital marketing needs. In her spare time, Kaitlyn is an avid bookworm, Jeopardy aficionado, and fantasy football champion. Learn more about Wpromote at West.Wpromote.com