Why moving your business can hurt rankings
Today we’re going to talk about why citations are important to your business and why moving or changing your business address, phone, or other info can damage the ranking ability of your Google Maps listing and your website.
What is a citation? It’s a mention of your business name, address, phone, and other information on another website, usually in business directories or on social platforms.
You’re probably familiar with directories are Google My Business / Google Maps, Apple Maps, Bing Places, Yelp, Home Advisor, Angi, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
But there are thousands of others, and some of those are very important to your business’s success.
They’re important because they help people who use these directories find your business and they’re also reported to be a major ranking signal in Google by the world’s top SEO experts.
Other important information these citations might include are:
- Business categories
- Days and hours open
- Holiday hours
- Business description
- Photos & videos
- Payment forms accepted
- Customer reviews & business replies
- Website URL
- Email address
- Social media links
Those we’ve discussed are what’s called “structured citations.” There are also “unstructured citations,” which are mentions of your business in the press, on someone else’s blog, in photo galleries, and in other such places.
First, let’s take a look at how these structured business listings can hurt your business and its ability to rank in search engines, as well as the major directories you’re familiar with.
Then we’ll talk about how they can also help your business in both of those areas as well.
So first, inaccurate, duplicate or incomplete citations can hurt your business in several ways.
They can direct prospects to the wrong phone, website address, have the wrong days and hours open, holidays open or closed, the wrong business categories, and much more.
You can also confuse these directories and search engines because you have conflicting data in many directories across the web. So they don’t know which is accurate, which in turn can hurt your rankings in both directories and search engines.
Suppose you have moved, which is very common among home service companies because many operate out of their home and they’ve moved from one home to another. In that case, there’s a very high likelihood you’ve got a ton of inaccurate citations out there.
Even if you moved or changed your business phone number and corrected them in Google Maps, Yelp, Home Advisor, Angi, Facebook, and others, you probably have big problems with inaccurate info in dozens or hundreds of other directories.
The reason for that is that there are three Major Data Aggregators who scrape these directories for information and then sell that data to other directories.
So if you don’t make corrections with these aggregators, which charge you money to do so, then they’re still spreading bad information to many other directories.
Those major data aggregators are:
- Neustar Localeze
- Data Axle
On the flip side, having accurate listings in the major directories and those related to your industry and/or local to your business location can help increase your ranking ability in search engines and major directories.
The reason is these industry and local directories help further define your business and location to Google and other search engines, in addition to helping you be found by people using those specific directories.
This used to be more important than today due to algorithm updates and citation abuse, but it is still considered one of the top ten ranking factors in Google, according to the bi-annual Moz surveys.
Your local Chamber of Commerce is a directory that every business should join and get listed in.
You’ll get the benefits we’ve already talked about, plus you’ll get a link from a powerful local organization to your website, and these links also help your website’s ranking ability.
Another great citation to look at getting is from the regional or state trade association for your industry.
Every industry has a trade association that helps lobby state and federal governments on your behalf. Most usually have an annual convention and trade show to help educate business owners on the latest products, services, and information related to their business.
You can find additional local directories to get listed in by searching Google for:
[your city] business directory
[your industry] business directory
[your industry] business listing(s)
Use these searches to find good quality local and industry directories to list your business in.
Another help could be from a company called Bright Local has a webpage that lists the top directories for many industries.
Poor quality directories will have websites that look bad, so don’t waste your time with those.
We use Bright Local to monitor, track, and submit our client’s data to hundreds of business directories.
You should also monitor the Internet for citations of your company because your competitors may play dirty and change data in some of them, which is allowed by many directories, including Google Maps.
Click our Bright Local affiliate link here to sign up for your company and do it yourself.
Also, check out our Guide to Optimizing your Google My Business listing on our website. It’s free and provides 21 tips to make your listing as strong as it can be to try and get it ranking in the top 3 listings for searches that matter to your business.