When moving business locations there is always a lot of chaos with packing, transferring technology, and filling out paperwork for the new space. Between trying to make the actual move and trying to keep your company up and running during that time, you have to get unpacked and you have to get unpacked fast. Unfortunately, this panic often leads businesses to forget about some of the things that need to happen online to keep things running smoothly. The offline tasks are much more visible and can feel more pressing, but that doesn’t mean that your SEO should suffer in the meantime. In anticipation for a big move, it is therefore important to have all of your SEO and online tasks taken care of and ready to go before the chaos starts.
Tips and Tricks to Moving Your Online Presence When Moving Locations
First things first, it’s important to understand that changing your online information slowly or whenever you have time can actually hurt your SEO. You should therefore make all of the changes listed below at once (and first) not because it’s easier necessarily, but because it actually matters when it comes to your SEO. If you have inconsistent NAP (name, address, phone number) data online, it will hurt your local SEO because it confuses the Google bots. Google won’t know whether you’re one business or two, so your rankings could start getting split and causing you to lose traffic. And so without further adieu, when moving physical locations consider the checklist below so that you’re also moving your online presence successfully:
- Change information on your local accounts. Local SEO is where you’re going to see the biggest issues if you don’t make the appropriate address changes. Therefore, this is always the first place you should go. Once you change your local SEO accounts your Maps should also change, but always double-check within 24 hours to make sure everything went smoothly. Also keep in mind that this doesn’t just refer to Google—check Bing, Yahoo, and any other search engine you may have dabbled with in the past. You can learn more about local SEO here.
- Update any email marketing or newsletter templates. This is one that many companies forget but it’s incredibly important. You have to make sure you make this change so that you’re not sending out emails with incorrect information.
- Update your website. This is another checkmark that many companies forget despite the fact that it’s staring you in the face! Make sure you visit your homepage, contact page, and crawl your website for anywhere you’ve mentioned your address and make the changes.
- Change your social media information. Make sure you check all of your social accounts. Hopefully by now you only have a presence on accounts that you’re actually able to manage, so go through and make these changes so that your community is on the same page. This isn’t necessarily affecting your SEO with Google, but it could affect the SEO within the social network.
- Look for directory listings and other online citations. This includes Maps, any online review or ratings sites such as Angie’s List and Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc. You should also visit any member organizations where you may be mentioned online such as a Chamber of Commerce, networking groups, etc. I recommend using the tool Yext to help you gather all of the places your business is listed online—even places you didn’t know existed. It’s a great tool to use once or twice per year in general, but especially when you’re making a move.
- End by using the Fetch as Google tool. This tool is available in Google Webmaster Tools and allows you to see your website the way that the Google bots see your website. It helps you submit the pages on your website that have your new address so that Google will crawl those faster; thus helping your SEO make a smooth transition. You can learn more about how to use this tool here.
Other Online Changes to Make
- Update any ad campaigns. Pretty self-explanatory, but ad campaigns also need to be manually changed if you mentioned any contact information.
- Change your email signature. This is one of the first places that your contacts will look to make a phone call or visit your location. In most cases this affects only your most loyal customers, so it’s an easy fix you have to make sure you don’t forget.
- Send a change of address announcement to your email list. This is a great way to let all of your customers know you’ve officially moved.
- Create a blog post/ video to make the move more visible online. Making your move visible online not only gets the word out, but it can help get your audience engaged and interested in what’s going on with the company. I highly recommend creating a video for added engagement.
In the end, making these online changes won’t take you too much time, but it’s best to have this done first so that nothing slips through the cracks. When you finally move into your new office, you will want to get straight to work and make up for the inevitable lost time you faced. The last thing you want to worry about is the checklist above, so the sooner the better! Do you have any ideas for changes you should make online when you’re moving physical locations? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.