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The OTHER Way to Change Your Address in Google+ Local

Google Places | 17 Dec 2012

Recently my good pal Nyagoslav explained how to close an old Google local listing. A very informative post, with lots of truths. David Mihm, SEOmoz, local SEO maven chimes in with a “Voila”, leaving the reader with the impression that this is clear cut. I’m writing this to tell you that it’s not. One thing my very intelligent, fellow SEOs failed to mention is that no matter how long you wait for Google to find your updated NAP, when you change that address, it won’t be any longer than a week or two before your listing dips.

You see, the reason your ranking drops is because you are essentially chopping the legs from under your listing – the legs being the supporting data. EVEN if you update everything at the same time or before, Google has to re-connect the dots. Typically speaking, in my experience, your listing, once it dips, will take a month or so to recover. A killer if much of your business comes from Google.

You need to update your Google+ Local address, but don’t want to lose the rankings you have worked so hard for, and lose business in the process.

Here is how I once went about it…

My client hadn’t moved yet, but was intending to in a couple months. We had control of this new location, and thus shot off a post card for the new location. In this unique case, the client was not attached to his phone number. In fact, we have 5-6 listings set up for different competencies of his biz with different tracking numbers routed to his main 1 number. If your knee jerk is “that isn’t by the book!” consider that he made 1 mil (rev) his first year in biz, majorly due to our flexibility on the Google+ Local book. I digress.

So we used the new phone and address for the listing. The old listing remained, ranking well and continuing to drive new business. We understood, this new listing was going to be BURRIED for quite some time, meaning the chances of your current/incoming customers stumbling across it are quite small. You may want to make a note in the GL description (citations too) that this location is not open yet.

Note: if you are retaining the same phone number, there is a risk of your old listing merging with your new one. I have never had this happen while employing this method, but it is possible. Should it happen, I would use this link to appeal to Google. They will normally be able to sort it out within 1-2 weeks.

So, you’ve shot your post card off. I would now start ranking your new listing in the same fashion you did the last. Ideally, before you activate that new listing, you want a ton of supporting data already indexed by Google. You don’t want Google finding nothing when you activate your listing. If Google finds nothing, they will assume that is what you are worth. Remember, Goog wants to rank the most valuable, trusted, awesome businesses…so paint a good picture.

Once you have activated your listing, continue on with normal ranking activities.

Note: you might be thinking, “you can’t rank a listing with a near duplicate listing existing.” You would be sort of correct. Long term, you put yourself at a severe disadvantage, risk of merging and all kinds of other goodies. This is not long term. Read on…

The goal is to get that new listing on page 1 by the time you move locations, thusly suffering little to no down time in business generated from Google.

Once the listing is ranked well enough, delete your old listing. The fastest way I have found to execute this, is to appeal to Google via this link, and submit a duplicate listing removal request. Also, don’t forget to delete your old citations as well.

So, you have now changed your business address in Google, and not lost any business in the process. I’m not suggesting this is how you should do it, but just the way I have gone about it in the past with success.

Inb4 this is against Google TOS. At your own risk.

Credit: Picture found on SERoundTable

Related posts:

  1. Google Local in Review: A Series
  2. How to Move a Google+ Local Listing
  3. Google Places Page Optimization: Google Local in Review
  4. On-site Optimization: Google Local in Review
  5. Delete or Transfer Ownership of a Google Places Page

6 Comments

  • Hey Adam,

    Great stuff! Thanks for posting. I remember you mentioned in a comment on one of my posts that you’re a big fan of the “citations first” method, so it’s neat to see where that fits into the plan you describe here.

    Question: did this particular client run a service-based business or a bricks-and-mortar? Obviously, whether this is “by the book” in the case of a service-based business is something people will have different views on. But I would think that this simply wouldn’t work for a bricks-and-mortar location, just because of the logistical hurdle of trying to receive a postcard at a location you haven’t moved into yet. I could be totally wrong, though!

    • Adam Steele Adam Steele

      Both – they serve clients at their location. The trick for say…a dentist, would be to get it started 3+ months in advance. Be clear on each property you aren’t open at this location. And watch the new profile like a hawk so that when it hits page 1, you kill your old profile right away.

      Yes, the postcard can be tricky. In the past, the current occupant was cooperative and it was a non issue.

      This won’t work for every situation, but it’s nice to have the option in your arsenal.

  • I advise on the Google and Your Business Forum to start the Places entry process for a new location 12 weeks before you plan to move as its a long winded process to get it to show in search.

    2 weeks to get the PIN post card, if you are lucky. After 2 weeks request another without any Edit. After 3 weeks use this link to get manual help:
    http://support.google.com/places/bin/static.py?hl=en&ts=1399021&page=ts.cs
    Is the normal process but if you cannot access the new locations post then use the trouble shooter.

    2 weeks for the new Places entry to get into the Maps index cluster and for it to show in a Google Maps search by “Phone no” or (Business Name and Location).

    And about 8 weeks to rank.

    Technically you will have two listings active at the same time but I see Google have added a move location feature to a Closed listing report so they should know whats up. I lead discussions earlier this year on Closing locations after problems doing that for a client. A lot with crowd sourced Map Maker moderator mistakes. After some prodding Vanessa said Closing would hoover up old web directory data we cannot get at and it does seem to work. So as Joel said to me, when I asked ‘where the smileys were they have on proper forums’, ‘We do listen’.

    Once you have launched the new Places entry work on editing all you Web Directory entries to the new details to get those citations over.

    At the point of moving, logged into the Places account, mark the old Google+ page in search as Closed. I assume the new moved feature will point you to the new location now.

    At this point the website and other self owned assets should be changed over.

    In the brave new Google+ world have Google put any features or code in to transfer a merged +Local Business page over or will it be Closed as well? Who knows. Some poor sap will find out.

    What assets can be moved from one +Local Business page to another?

    Cheers. Andrew.

    • Adam Steele Adam Steele

      Great write up Andrew.

      By assets do you mean reviews and such? It seems to me the only way to keep you reviews would be to edit you current listing…and even then I have lost reviews.

  • Hey Adam, I have a different problem, earlier my listing has 3 categories like: auto repair, auto shop and brake repair but now Google listing shows only 1 category.
    My targeted keywords dropped drastically due to this, i have sent request to before a month to update my listing with these category but not updated yet.
    can you help me out here?

    • Adam Steele Adam Steele

      The important thing here is what is showing on your back end. That is, when you login to your Google Places dashboard, click edit, and view your categories, what does it show? What appears here is what, in my opinion, counts.

      Very often there is a large difference between what shows on the front end (what everyone else sees) and what appears on the back end (what only you can see). You can make a change today and not see it appear on the front end for months. This DOESN’T mean that Google hasn’t accounted for it.

      If it were I, I would make sure everything on the back end is in order, and move on to other possible causes for your drop in Google.

      Hope this helps.

      Adam

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