When you decide to move your business, you may wonder how it affects your rankings. This is natural. After all, building a client base is hard work. Moving your business can apply to a physical location as well as your online store. Both affect your rankings differently. However, a business move will likely have some affect. Therefore, in truth, the affect your move has on your rankings depends.
What Affects Search Engine Rankings?
When it comes to search engines, there are certain things that can affect rankings. Changes to keyword usage, content and links can all impact rankings. However, changes to your domain name or contact management system can too. A major change to your design is influential as well. Moving to a new web host is also likely to affect your rankings. Physically moving your business, however, can provide an interruption too. After all, anything that creates an inconsistency is disruptive. This disruption can impact your search engine rankings. Make sure you're Local SEO strategy is prepared for such a move.
How to Minimize the Effects of a Move
Because it can affect your rankings, you will likely want to minimize the fallout. This can be easy or complex depending on the size of your website and customer base. Following the below steps can help with this process.
Update Your Old Website
Your old website likely contains contact and link details that will need updating. Review your contact and “About Us” pages to ensure they are up to date. If your website has a header or footer, you will want to update those too. Certain platforms make the transition easy. WordPress, for example, has a “Search and Replace” plugin. This allows you to search your entire site for specific words and swap them with new ones. (If you are physically relocating your business, this can help you update your current website. Your new address and phone number will be important changes.)
Update Your Google My Business Listing
Hopefully, you had previously listed your store on Google My Business. If you are physically moving, you will want to make sure your Google My Business page is also updated. If you do not have access to your Google My Business page, you will need to verify your claim. This can be done through the mail or via the phone. (If you are moving to a previously owned location, check with the owner. They may still list their store in that location. They will need to remove this listing as soon as possible.)
The 301 Redirect
If you are moving your entire website, you will need to redirect traffic. Part of your strategy should include implementing 301 redirects. A 301 redirect tells a search engine where the new pages are and what they replace. It will also ensure anyone who goes to your old link redirects to the new one.
Business Listings and Directories
Search the internet for your business listings. This will include everything from articles you have written to backlinks and posts. (Creating a spreadsheet that identifies these listings can help you.) Tracking down all listings will help you update them. Once you identify these listings, you will want to claim them. Doing so will vary based on the platform. Some make claiming easy. Others will require update requests. Updating your name, address and phone number (NAP), as well as the website, is typical. If you are listed in niche directories, you will want these updated too. Having your updates made across all postings and directories is important. Consistency will help your Google My Business rankings.
Be Proactive and Consistent
If you are proactive with your move, you can minimize the impact. This is true whether you are physically moving your business or changing your online address. There are plenty of services available that help with your internet presence. However, you can do much of your own damage control yourself. The goal of any move is to minimize disruptions. Proactively redirecting customers to your new store will make sure they are informed of your move. Updating your Google My Business page can ensure anyone who looks online finds you easily. By identifying and updating any postings, backlinks, and directories, you keep your presence consistent. If you want to ensure your rankings continue to grow, this is very important. After all, you want to keep your current traffic in addition to growing it.
Minimize the Disruption
Your move was meant to increase your business. In person and online traffic can do this. As long as you are proactive and consistent, you can minimize the impacts. However, if you fail to update your online presence, you may notice a drop in rankings. This can downgrade your search engine listings, which in turn can damage your leads. Using the steps above can help you to minimize disruptions. This can help you reach your goals with very little interruptions.
If you need help, contact the team at 51Blocks for more information.