Businesses today operate in two parallel realities: the physical world and the digital world. If your physical location changes, it can have an impact on your digital presence. It’s like the sci-fi novels or Twilight Zone shows of the past – an action in the present extends its influence to alter the direction of the future. In this case, moving your physical business location can affect your coveted search engine rankings or position in local search listings. So, what’s a business to do if you’ve outgrown your space or have your eye on a new part of town? Don’t hold back for fear of upsetting the balance between your physical and digital realities – but do make sure that they stay in sync.
At Black Tie, we’ve moved both our Melbourne and Lake Mary offices in the past two months. With our team growing and our space shrinking, it was time for a big leap forward. And we didn’t lose our place in the Search Engine Universe or fall off the map in local search by doing so. But before the movers arrived and after the boxes were emptied, there were important steps we followed.
How to Make a Digital Move
Moving your physical location is easy enough (…sometimes) but managing your digital location takes diligence. You will need to cover all your bases, and make it a priority to get your virtual ‘move’ completed in a short amount of time in order to keep your spot in local search listings.
Start Here: Change your address on your website before you make any other changes on the web.
Items to Look For: Obviously you’ll want to change whichever page of your site describes your location, but also scour your site for other places that your address may appear. This may include: website header and footer, html code containing location information, and any driving directions to your location.
Next Steps: After you make internal changes, there is a long list of other places where your physical location will need to be changed. Here is a handy checklist so you know where to begin.
-On Google, find the listing for the previous business in your new space and mark it as ‘closed.’ Also state in your comments that the business has closed. If more than one business is using your new address, repeat the process for each business.
-Access your ‘My Business’ Dashboard on Google and change your address and map marker.
-Don’t forget your social networks! Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social accounts will all need your new address to remain current.
-Update major data providers and directories. Yext is a great tool for making this process quick and easy – and Black Tie can set you up with this service while saving you valuable time.
-Submit your new information to any other online directories for your industry (for instance – vitals.com for healthcare professionals or findlaw.com for lawyers).
Other Places: You’ll also need to update offline sources of address information, since online directories could find an old address from one of these sources: government records, phone and cable company, and your bank. You’ll also want to update the address on your business license, if you have a license registered with your Secretary of State.
Whew! You might have thought the heavy lifting was just for boxes. But as you can see, there’s a lot of work involved in keeping your virtual information in sync with your physical location. So push aside the packing peanuts, plug in your computer, and get to work keeping your physical and digital realities in balance.