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