An Internet Change of Address Guide

I recently read and responded to this post in the Google Maps for Business Group:

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TOPIC: Fix our phone number – repetitive problem.
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== 1 of 1 ==
Date: Wed, Aug 13 2008 11:26 am
From: rihard2000

Sorry to butt into this discussion, but I am having the same problem with my updated listing.

We recently moved our offices and switched our phone number. After updating the information in our Google Local Business center account, the new phone number isn’t showing on Google Maps or Local 10 pack (the new address is showing though). It has been about 1 week since we first updated our information.

Local 10 URL for North Coast Events
Google Maps URL for North Coast Events –

Please advise. Thank-you.

Dear rihard2000,

It generally takes 8 weeks or so for all of the information to filter through Google’s system so I wouldn’t worry until October sometime. It is unfortunate but it is the reality of the Google Local Business Center. It takes time for all of the pieces and parts of the database to realign themselves after a change like this. If after 8 weeks the discrepancy has not cleared up you should return to the group and plead with one of the Google Maps Guides to look into it. I would note, however that this is a small part of your concern.

I would strongly suggest that you scour the internet for your old address and phone number and start the Internet Change of Address Niggle Trauma (ICANT). Your old address/phone is embedded in the ether in a way that makes permanently changing it a task for the Gods and not mere mortals.

First go to the upstream primary data suppliers (InfoUSA, Axcion, Localeze & iBegin) and get it changed there. These companies are the primary data source for the many internet yellow pages (IYP), on line directories, MSN, Google & Yahoo. These primary data suppliers are used by Google and the other directories to verify that you are who you say you are and that you are located where you say you are located.

Next, change your record at Yahoo, the Superpages, InsiderPages & MerchantCircle manually as Google relies heavily on these directories for verification, categorization and ranking of your Google listing.

I would then go into your Maps listing and see what other directories and review sites that Google is referencing and make changes at those industry specific directories as well. If your address is different in the Google Local Business Center than at these supporting directories then Google might show your business as having less web pages (citations) pointing to your business and possibly less reviews singing your praises. This will definitely affect your ranking at Google and could lead to your falling off of the Local 10 Pack..

I am sure that you have done the traditional things in regards to your change of address such as notify the post office and your phone company. But you also need to be sure to notify the many phone books that service your area as well as the local government authorities that control your business record of the needed changes. Some of the upstream primary data suppliers (like InfoUSA) rely on these records more heavily than a change of address order provided to them on their site. They may not feed correct information to Google and the others until they have “on the ground” verification.

It is important that Google and all of the IYPs get a consistent view of your business. The days of only telling the postman and the phone company of your new address are over. You need to do this change of address two step or your old address will haunt you for years to come and the loss of business in your case could be significant.

It is unfortunate that in the Internet Age that this problem has made the life of the small businessperson much more complicated than it used to be. There is not yet a single solution in site although a few companies seem to be trying.

Mike

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
An Internet Change of Address Guide by

17 thoughts on “An Internet Change of Address Guide”

  1. How good of you to lay this all out of for the business owner, Mike. This is an extremely valuable tutorial and offers an actionable plan that at least gives guidance for how the business owner should proceed when they change locations. Excellent!
    Miriam

  2. Hi Miriam

    Thanks….but it just strikes me that the stakes for a florist are so high and the complexities are so great that SMB’s should not have to confront this mess. They have better things to do with their time.

    Mike

  3. Maybe you can put these under ‘traditional things’ , but didn’t read it elsewhere in the article, but don’t forget to update your OWN website with your address information.
    And if you run multiple language/.TLD sites, change them on all of them!

  4. Mike,
    I do have one addition to your excellent guide:

    In order to properly change your address, you need to sacrifice a goat weighing at least 75 pounds, while facing Cupertino and reciting the HTTP specifications backwards.

    Cheers!
    Erek

  5. Hi

    I hate to be the Joannie come late but well I was on vacation last week.

    With regards to this, I’ve found that Google, when doing an edit, actually states that changes should be reflected within 24 hrs. When editing information for US clients I find that happens far more quickly than when trying to do an edit for a Canadian business in Google. That takes in excess of 4 weeks.

    Also has anyone noticed that when doing edits you lose your ‘ Additional Information’ fields and data?

    Thanks…
    Joan

  6. Hi Joan

    We’ve missed you….not sure anybody is lurking in these corners but me…this stuff goes stale soooo quickly.

    Yes in the US I generally see changes in Maps immediately (although not always) but changes to the Local 10 Pack can be long and arduous affairs. Did you see the guest article on the database architecture? That would explain the bulk of the delay in Google themselves.

    But in the case of the Plus box Google seems to not ever look at the LBC for information or seems to give precedence to the preponderance of information found elsewhere on the web.

    I have not noticed the problem with “Additional Information” fields but will keep an eye out.

    Mike

  7. Hi Mike,

    How do I find the guest article on the database structure?

    Cheers. Andrew.

  8. Hi Mike. I’ve become a huge fan of your articles. Sorry to be commenting on such an old post. But I’m doing my rounds, seeking answers.

    I was rising nicely in the local ranking with a ton of effort. Then Google map stopped recognizing my suite number. So, like a fool, without calling them to ask whether they could change it back, I ran around frantically changing and creating new directories with the address minus the suite number. Then I thought of calling them, and they fixed it.

    I read somewhere you said that suite numbers don’t impact ranking. But my ranking dropped from 7 to 14 within weeks of this change. I’m not sure whether it was the change itself (and now change back), or the faulty directory listings. So I’m just trying to fix everything as best I can, then hope for improvement in a couple of months.

    So that meant going around to all directories and trying to edit where possible.

    I just have a couple of questions, hoping you can help:

    (1) Yahoo apparently can’t be edited without a Local Works account. I do have MOZ local (not sure whether they edit yahoo eventually). But do you think Yahoo Local Works is a good thing to do? I’ve already read the disaster with Yext and I guess they are partners. Really would rather not but just asking…is there any other way to update Yahoo? I’m asking bc you mentioned them as being important.

    (2) During this transition, I had the brilliant idea of creating unstructured citations on social media posts. So, in addition to trying to correct directory citations, do you think I should run around trying to ask everyone who shared posts with bad addresses to delete them? I think I could get many to do so. But, man, what a huge pain.

    Any other suggestions?

  9. 1-I am not convinced that suite # is the causative factor here
    2- Regardless to fix Yahoo for free goto listings.local.yahoo.com and scroll down to the choice that says: Yahoo Local Basic Listing and edit and verify that way. It will avoid the use of Yext. If you run into problems contact the Yahoo Concierge and see if they can help you.
    3- I wouldn’t worry about all of your social notations.

  10. Thank you for your awesome insight.

    I wasn’t worried about the suite number at first, specifically bc I had read your comments saying they don’t matter. And maybe they don’t. I sure as heck believe you over myself.

    I just can’t think of any other problem. Nothing else changed. I had been steadily rising. The only other change was the actual change of address on G+. Basically, one day my address (with the suite number) went from verified on G+ for business, to not verified. So I kept trying to edit, and Google wouldn’t take the change with the suite number. So finally I deleted the suite number, and basically submitted a new address to G+ (in their eyes I suppose). That was the only change I could imagine. Do you think maybe just the change itself caused the problem?

    Now I changed back a week or two ago, and this morning noticed that I’ve dropped again from 14 to 16.

    Meanwhile, I’ve got about half citations with, and half without, the suite number. Everything else was meticulously added, with lots of detail everywhere (enhanced listings wherever possible).

    The only other factors (in my mind) could be: the change itself (meaning: I changed my address on G+) or maybe a little less activity on G+ than I had before. But that has gone up and down a good bit over the last 2 years. So I just can’t imagine that’s the reason.

    Do you think the change itself might be the cause? More importantly, if it is, do you think it will right itself in a couple of months? Man local sucks…!

  11. Google is changing all the time… they are changing their algo, other businesses are changing, Google is always adding new information from across the internet…. so without having watched it before and comparing that to now it is impossible to say. I can only say that suite number is not the likely cause.

    If I were in your shoes i would
    1- be sure that you are tracking things that matter like conversions not rank
    2- see if your target traffic is in fact dropping
    3-Continue to build out local prominence via becoming newsworthy in the local market and link worthy in the local market

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