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3 Steps to Move Your Service Area Business Google Business Profile Without Destroying Your Ranking

Many business owners aren’t sure what to do when they operate out of their house and then have to move. In many cases, these moves aren’t close by and the business owner is trying to figure out if they have to start from scratch.  The good news is that if nothing else is changing about your business, you should be able to move without any issues if you follow these steps.


Important: This advice only applies to service area businesses.  

We recently had a business reach out who was moving from Alabama to North Carolina. I’m going to walk you through the exact steps we had them do.

  1. Create a new profile.  This is usually where most businesses get it wrong. It seems like the best option is always to just update the existing listing with a new address. A new profile is better for two reasons. First, there is a huge technical issue that causes listings not to rank in the new area (example).  Second, updating the address is more likely to cause a suspension which will make this process way longer and complicated.
  2. Make sure the new profile has a local phone number. If you’re moving, your phone number has likely changed. Make sure the new listing has a phone number with a local area code. Also, make sure you update your website and top citations to match the new number. Don’t forget to update your BBB profile if you are listed there.
  3. Once the new profile is live, contact Google support to ask them to mark the old listing as moved to the new one. Explain that your business has moved recently and that you have a new profile for the new location.

This process should not only make the old profile disappear, but should also move over the reviews to the new profile. 

How Long Will It Take for the New Listing to Rank?

If you did the process correctly, usually, you should see your new listing rank within a few weeks.  This is how the business we helped recently looked after just a few weeks: 

On the flip side, if done wrong, we have seen many cases where the business doesn’t rank anywhere for several months.

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Joy Hawkins

Joy is the owner of the Local Search Forum, LocalU, and Sterling Sky, a Local SEO agency in Canada & the USA. She has been working in the industry since 2006, writes for publications such as Search Engine Land, and enjoys speaking regularly at marketing conferences such as MozCon, LocalU, Pubcon, SearchLove, and State of Search. You can find her on Twitter or volunteering as a Product Expert on the Google My Business Forum.

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. So, if I get this right, the idea is to basically ask support to merge the older profile into the new one instead of doing any sort of actual edit to the older profile?

      1. What I mean is the ultimate technical result will be a merge, hence why it dodges the bug. Any operation involving a single GBP (and thus no merge to “anchor” at the new address) would either fail or get you metaphorically laughed off by Support.

  2. Super post, Joy.

    The “new profile” SOP sure does help one avoid the purgatory of no longer ranking in the old area, but not yet ranking for zilch in the new area. Pretty important.

    A few additional SOPs I’ve found to be helpful – usually to do between the 2nd and 3rd steps:

    4. Update the site (usually at least the homepage, footer, and “areas served page) to reflect the new service area, especially if there are specific cities or suburbs you were or are targeting.

    5. Wait a week or two, if possible. Just to give Google time to digest things and to give yourself a grace period with the old GBP page, in case there are problems.

    6. Ask Google to transfer the reviews from the old page to the new one (https://support.google.com/business/answer/3098204?hl=en). As you know, they’ll probably do it. I’ve had Google transfer reviews to a new page that’s thousands of miles from the old one. They’re still relevant to the business, if not to the new service area.

    1. Great tips Phil! Thanks for chiming in. In the past, creating a new profile was always a terrible idea because the new profile wouldn’t rank anywhere for a long time but we have found that isn’t true anymore. For once, Google did something right for SABs 😁

  3. Great post Joy,
    This is so timely. About to do this for one of my clients who has a bricks and mortar eyewear store. You mentioned this strategy wouldn’t work for that. As a local area guide, should I just suggest an edit to the new location from the front end of the profile? Or is there a different process for a moving business that is bricks and mortar?

    Thanks
    Karl

  4. Great article, Joy. Thank you! And great comments. Two questions for you, please.

    I’m a realtor and a one-man band. Only me. I’m not moving to another state nor to another portion of the state. I no longer office at the address on my GBP, but, of course, I’m uber hesitant on changing the address!

    I home office, and I certainly don’t want to list my home address on my GBP. Thus, I’d consider outlining my service area on the Google map. I live in a large metro area, so the outline would cover a wide swath.

    1) Do you recommend I follow the steps outlined in your post?
    2) Would I lose Google juice if I use the map outline and no specific address? Or do recommend an alternative option?

    Thank you!

    1. Hey Brad,

      If you work from home you should definitely keep your address hidden. You only rank close to the area that you used to verify the listing so your service area doesn’t really matter. If you moved to a different house/address than what’s currently on your listing, you should follow the instructions in this article.

  5. I have moved to Idaho from California. I am an electrician with a service area business. I am currently commuting to California for work, but I am planning to start work in Idaho soon. I will be running a residential electrical business in Idaho, just like California. I think that following this process makes sense, but the only issue is that I am changing the name of the business. Will this matter?

    1. Hi Mike,

      I think you should start by creating the GBP in Idaho with the current name of your business, and then contact support to ask them to mark the California GBP as moved to the Idaho GBP before you change the name of your business. If the names on the 2 GBPs are different, Google might not be willing to mark the California one as moved and transfer the reviews.

      Once you get the California listing marked as moved and the reviews transferred, then you can change the name of your business.

  6. What should we do in the case of SAB moving to a new location, but the new location is now a brick & mortar?

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