Moving locations has always been a challenging moment for any small business. And with more and more customer searches happening on mobile, getting found on Google is crucial in capturing all sorts of opportunities.
You can help keep your customers updated if you have a good handle on your business’s NAP data and overall online presence. Never heard of NAP and not sure where to start? Here’s what you need to know about updating your online presence after a move.
No, it’s not your self-care siesta. This acronym stands for your business name, address, and phone number, and it serves as your business’s online digital footprint. Google is the main channel that uses your NAP data, but it is everywhere and can be a sticky wicket to update thoroughly.
Luckily, we have some guidance to help you put together your first NAP audit with some advice on making sure you’re up-to-date for local search.
If you’ve already claimed your business listing, good news! You won’t need to create a new listing, you just need to update your current information. You may be asked to reverify your new business address, but otherwise, you’re all set.
It’s not a bad idea to do this before you physically move. That way, you can list an opening date and promote your new location with some promotional posts to keep your current customers in the loop.
Haven’t set up or need to claim your Google My Business listing? Take a trip over to our Knowledge Center to get help setting up and verifying your business listing.
This is a great first step in ensuring your business is showing up in Google results accurately, but what about the other listing sites out there? Once you have the basics updated, it’s time to audit for your NAP.
When doing any type of web audit, it’s best to set up a tracking document to help you keep straight what data is currently listed where. Excel or Google Sheets work perfectly, but really any sort of document will do.
Give yourself space to record webpage URLs, business NAP data, and when you last updated this page, if ever. You’ll also want to create a notes column for what kind of search query brought this page to your attention (more on this later).
List out the rest of the business listings that you currently manage—Yelp, Angie’s List, and so forth. Confirm the accuracy of these listings and update your sheet accordingly, and take note of any inconsistencies or errors you may see. For example, if your address is up-to-date, but your phone number is not. These details will help with our next audit phase.
Once you’ve taken stock of your business listings, return back to Google and perform any combination of old or inaccurate NAP information. This could include stale phone numbers, your old address, or any inconsistencies you noticed in your initial business listing audit. You’ll also want to search on Google Maps, as well, to get a good spread of information.
With each search query, make note of the webpages that rank, especially the pages at the top of your results. Google is most likely to pull information from these top search positions. You’ll likely have to click through to each page and update your information manually, but there are some short cuts to be had.
Check your Google Maps results and report a problem when you see incorrect NAP info. Explain the reasoning—you’ve moved—and Google should make the correction for you.
Another key place to check is the bottom of the page within each search result with incorrect information. Some of these pages get their incorrect data from other sources and will usually tuck a line in the Copyright information.
Hometown newspapers, for example, may pull from a local business listing, while others will pull from the main players, like Acxiom and Localeze. Make a note of the data source in your sheet, then go straight to the source to update your NAP.
An added bonus to updating these main players, too, is that data feeds into major mobile apps like Facebook Nearby, Foursquare, and Apple Maps, so you’re updating other data sources with one request.
When you’re audit is complete and you’re ready to correct your NAP data, keep in mind that you shouldn’t duplicate your efforts. Never create a new listing if one already exists; you should update old listings instead. With this in mind, it is not a bad idea to record any login information you create to manage your business listings.
Some folks even go so far as to create a new email address for this very purpose. It does double duty in keeping your personal inbox clean, and more importantly, helps protect any personal data if you then work with an agency to complete this sort of work in the future.
Another audit bonus is that it can uncover new opportunities for you to list your business—independently owned bookstores, chambers of commerce, professional organizations, etc.—and further connect with your local community.
One final note, however, is that it can take a few months for these updates to update throughout the local digital sphere. Time any Google My Business promotions accordingly, and it may not be a bad idea to repeat the NAP audit process in a few months time to check your work.
Admittedly, audits can be a time-consuming exercise. But once you survive your first, you have a valuable living resource if/when you need to update your NAP again.
Ready to take stock of the rest of your online presence? Check out our free online Grader tool and see where you stand.