Moving to a New Business Address? Don’t Forget to Tell Google

We all know that moving can be a big pain in the backside.  Boxes, sticky tape, labels…  And then you just have to unpack everything the other end.  But we live in a world where Royal Mail redirects, We Have Moved postcards and answer phone messages are just the tip of the iceberg.  And that is only magnified if you’re a business.

When you consider how people may use the internet to locate your business, it’s important that you do everything you can to ensure that search engines log your new details correctly.  BOTTLE is in the middle of an exciting move, with the office relocating… Relocating means changing address, which means I’m doing this right now.

Getting your business address consistent

One of the central tenets of local search engine optimization is to ensure that your business’s Name, Address, and Phone number, NAP for short, is consistent everywhere it’s mentioned around the web (and offline, too – there’s no point getting everything online correct if your business cards have the wrong details). Your NAP is basically your digital thumbprint – Google’s unique identifier for an individual business.

So when you move locations, you create an inconsistency in your NAP.   Your address is change, and if you change your telephone number then that too clashes with what Google already knows.  Sadly, you can’t just send search engines a “We Have Moved” postcard. In worst case you end up with visitors turning up at the wrong address, but even if your communication to visitors is top-notch inconsistencies in your NAP can lead to lower search engine rankings for keyword searches.  Google hates duplicate content.  And the same goes for duplicate listings.

The first thing I did was to run an Accuracy Report on GetListed for old and new NAP information. I wanted to see which search engines had indexed which location(s), and in what manner.  That way you know if you need to alter anything.  GetListed is primarily a US tool, however there is a UK function in Beta that can provide some insights…

Social networks

Once you know how your business address is being logged by search engines (if you are able to pull results from GetListed) the next thing is to make sure they are all being fed the same information.  Where your business address is listed online, and you have the option to change it, do so.  So on your website and on social networks.  Pay particular attention to Google+, and local business pages on Google.  Whilst the information does have a tendency to switch back (because Google is trying to associate it with your old NAP), it’s important to know where you need to make changes.

To a lesser extent don’t forget to check out Facebook and Foursquare (as well as other location services) – every little helps…

Setting your Google Maps address

Search Google

Do a Google search for your old NAP and on Google maps click the down arrow to “Report a problem” – and on the following screen note the correct information and tell Google why you are requesting the change.

Also pay particular attention to any external sites that return your old business address – some listings sites will allow you to edit the details manually, others you will have to contact the site owner to request the change.

One last step is to visit Google MapMaker. Think of MapMaker as a Wikipedia for locations. Google users from all of the world can add, edit, delete, and consolidate business information using this tool. For the most part, each edit is reviewed by other Google users before it goes live to the public.   And most people don’t know about MapMaker.  But as it’s a Google property, Google loves it.  And MapMaker seems to process changes sometimes quicker than edits to Google Maps – so edit away!

Now all you can do is kick back and wait.  It can take a good while for these changes to filter through to all search engines.  So keep a note of all the changes you make, and the results that you get and note when there are changes.  There will be… it might just take a few months to get there!

I’ll admit, this isn’t something I’ve done before, so I’m basing this on logic… What other things should be considered to help solidify your business address move in Google’s eyes?

by

Why EE Needs a New Twitter Strategy

If you know Twitter, you know it’s where people go to complain. There’s something about the freedom of 140 characters that makes some people get out their soap box and start shouting to their network.  And to be fair most companies have adapted their strategies to accommodate this.  In the past I’ve had some great experiences on Twitter with @sluglettuce and more recently with @YodelOnline.  If you deal with a complaint well, companies have the power to transform discontented individuals into brand advocates… Everyone’s happy. So it drives me spare when big companies get it so utterly wrong.

My husband and I were both due mobile upgrades. He decides to stay with EE, and agrees to a mobile upgrade on Wednesday due for next-day-delivery.  Hubby is sulking a bit by Monday morning when there still hasn’t been a delivery attempt… But then goes into a rage on Monday evening when EE deactivate the SIM in his trusty BlackBerry. So not only did Hubby not have his upgrade, but EE had made it so his old phone was no more than a fancy alarm clock. So much for “Everything Everywhere” – he had nothing.

I naturally hit Twitter to voice  displeasure on Hubby’s behalf, and hope that EE would be able to do something, like possibly reactivate the SIM.

Everything Everywhere EE

What followed then was utter farce.

Understandably the EE team did not want to talk to me as I wasn’t the account holder.  However rather than directing me to a more appropriate platform to raise our issue the impersonal, robot-like interactions from EE kept doggedly on. My husband very briefly accessed Twitter (while at work) to give permission for EE to speak to me on his behalf, I then was passing a lot of information back and forth (including name, number, password, address, Twitter handle etc), to only then be told by the EE team that  they could only discuss the problem with me if my husband gave me third-party access to his Twitter account.  After nearly 24 hours of going back and forth, after jumping through all these hoops and explaining the issue three or four times,  I logged into my husband’s account as requested, and sent a DM.  The response :

Direct message from EE: "Please DM details of what you'd like help with"

I was back at square one after 24 hours of Twitter red tape.

I actually screamed.  At this point I gave up on trying to resolve the matter.

Now, the story doesn’t quite end there…  My husband’s phone eventually arrived, and he was wooed by the handset, so to some extent he’s a happy camper.  But the interactions I had with EE had left a bad taste in my mouth.  It simply was not acceptable.

By coincidence that same week Paul Sutton posted a blog about EE’s new advocacy group, and I ended up in a discussion about how EE are poor at active engagement…  Now if I’d been EE, at this point I would have got involved with this online conversation.  It was intelligent, proactive discussion after all, showing interest would have been really beneficial for the company.  But nothing.  EE did diddly-squat.

Certainly nothing public.

What happened however is that I received an email from the Senior PR Manager at EE.  One of the members of EE’s advocacy group had passed my details on.  To his credit he listened to my comments about the poor experiences on Twitter, and apologised for them (and the SIM deactivation) most strongly and promised that these would be discussed in detail with the customer support management team.

My interactions with @EE had seriously damaged my perception of the company.  I had been left feeling that EE had little interest in what I was saying.  On Twitter there was no way for me to understand who I was talking to, and clearly there was little handover between staff to ensure that ongoing customer interaction had any continuity.  EE simply seemed inept at dealing with customers.  So the email from EE’s PR department was welcome.  Great, I thought, proof EE were willing to engage and answer their critics.  At least on some level.

However I have to wonder whether the significance of having a wholly awful Twitter strategy has really computed to EE though… Nearly 70% of customers that leave companies for competitors do so because of a perceived indifference, and whilst I received a nice personalised email from the PR team, I can’t imagine that the majority of the customers that complain on Twitter do.  The central strategy needs to change otherwise EE will be left fighting a swelling fire of discontent.

Even after all of this, I’m not sure that my perception has hugely changed… Whether EE are scared to, or simply aren’t ready, clearly they are still not prepared to engage in public discussions – I told the PR team at EE that I was writing this blog and offered them the opportunity to phrase a response for publication.  And I’m still waiting for a reply…

by