You’ve finally selected the beautiful new office space, hired the moving company, and connected your phone and Internet service. Maybe you’ve even sent an announcement to all of your clients. You’re finally relaxing a bit, thinking you’re all prepared to move your law firm to your new office. Well, think again. Unless you’ve taken some important steps to organize your online move, you still have some work to do.
Although I’m sure you’re exhausted from prepping for the move, I’m not advocating extra shut-eye. In this case, NAP refers to your firm’s name, address, and phone number. Search engines crawl the internet and collect all the NAP information that can be found about your law firm. When determining local search rankings, the consistency of your NAP across the web is one of the most important ranking factors, so it’s very important to your local SEO efforts.
Naturally, moving to a new office with a new address is going to result in NAP inconsistencies, but if you carefully plan your online move using the following recommendations, those inconsistencies and their effect on your local search ranking will be short-lived.
- Phone Number – Depending on where you’re relocating to, you may be able to keep your phone number. If at all possible, do so.
- Address – Consult the USPS database or UPS’ Address Validation tool to get your new “official” address, then be sure to use that exact format for everything connected to your firm, both online and offline.
- Offline Business Records – Google pays attention to certain “real world” records, including those from phone and utility companies, state and local business registrations and licenses, and trusted professional associations, so don’t forget to update all of those records.
- Website – Search engines consider your website to be the definitive source of information about your business, so be sure your address is updated across your entire site, including all pages, sidebar, footer, etc.
- Online Records – The major search engines pull data about your firm from four primary sources: Infogroup, Acxiom, Localeze, and Factual. They also get data from directories such as YellowPages.com and CitySearch, as well as from the major social media platforms. If your information isn’t listed correctly with these providers, your local search rankings will likely decline, so it’s important that you find and update all of your law firm’s listings. Moz Local is a great tool for updating your firm’s listings and distributing your listing across the web.
- Google My Business Listing – Considering Google is the dominant search engine, your initial reaction may be to update your Google listing right away, but hold off on doing so until after you’ve updated your other online records. Unless your information is updated with those sources, erroneous data will constantly feed into Google from all of its other sources.
It’s also against Google’s Business Listing Quality Guidelines to have a listing for a location that’s not actually open and active, so you should update your Google Local listing as close to the day of your physical move as possible. After you update your listing, check to be sure that Google hasn’t created a new listing with the new address. If you find a duplicate listing, report it to Google for removal.
Online directories and other websites update their content on different schedules, so don’t expect to immediately see your new address on all of your listings. Keep organized records of what’s been updated and any logins that you’ve created in the process.
No matter how vigilant you are, your local search rankings will likely decline until the search engines discover your new address across the web and gain trust in it. The sooner you can update your address and restore NAP consistency, the sooner your rankings will bounce back.
Director, Web and Online Marketing Services
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (858) 453-2128