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    Questions about changing address / business name on local listings

    This is my first post, so hopefully I'm asking in the correct forum.

    We recently started claiming Google, Yahoo! and Bing listing for our clients. But there are a few things I need clarification on:

    Address Discrepancies
    The customer may provide a slightly different address than their Google listing, such as ‘5410 Rt 31 West’ vs. ‘5410 State Route 31 W.’ Both of these are technically correct, but what are the ramifications if we change the Google listing?

    Does changing the Google address adversely affect ranking, even if Google recognizes and accepts the new address? Or is it best to always use what Google has, so long as it’s correct?

    "Av" vs. "Ave"
    We are also claiming their Yahoo! and Bing listings. I know it’s important to use a standard address format, so does changing an address from Ave to Av present a problem? Or are they smart enough to know it means the same thing?

    Business Name Changes
    What are the ramifications of changing the business name from something like ‘Joe Smith’ to ‘Joe Smith, DDS’?

    Thanks in advance!

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  3. #2
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    Re: Questions about changing address / business name on local listings

    High John. Welcome and thanks for starting off with some great questions!

    I devote a lot of time to explaining this in my Advanced Google+ Local training because it's one of the most important things to get right BUT the hardest to explain. Much easier when I do it by phone because it's so complicated and with my carpal problems I can't write a book trying to explain all the issues.

    So 1st off - it's important to realize ANY change to NAP can potentially cause lost reviews or rankings. OR if NAP is wrong it could potentially boost rankings I guess.

    But IN GENERAL (and it TOTALLY depends on each indiv sitn) I typically recommend not risking rocking the boat if it's just a minor formatting or abbreviation issue.

    Partly because it can cost you reviews or rankings.

    Partly because if "she" scraped and created the listing with that format often she'll just change it back on you anyway. So you end up making all the citations match the new edit, then a month later she changes the address on you anyway!

    PLUS I strongly advise not changing NAP without doing extensive citation research 1st and teach you how to do that.


    "I know it’s important to use a standard address format, so does changing an address from Ave to Av present a problem?"

    I would never change Ave to Av. I would never change to a non-standard format.

    "What are the ramifications of changing the business name from something like ‘Joe Smith’ to ‘Joe Smith, DDS’?"

    Again totally depends. Need to do the citation research 1st.

    The general rule of thumb I teach these days with NAP changes is...
    "If it AIN'T BROKE - THEN DON'T FIX IT"

    What I mean is...
    If the title is keyword stuffed - then it's broke and you must fix it.
    If suite is missing or address is wrong, it's broke you must fix it.
    But if the only issue is Street vs St, I would not risk rocking the boat, for the reasons above.


    FYI when you DO have to make minor edits to NAP, even though any NAP change normally results in having to re-verify which can be a big time suck. I also teach how to AVOID verification most of the time, which is a huge time saver.

    HOWEVER another point I want to bring up... above we are talking about minor formatting changes. BUT if a client moves or rebrands and it's a COMPLETE address or name change. You know you can't just edit the existing listing right? You need to start a new listing and close the old listing. Let us know if you aren't aware of this issue and we can point you to threads that explain.
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

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    Re: Questions about changing address / business name on local listings

    Linda,

    Thanks for your reply. Actually, I've been talking to Andrew Shotland about the possibility of some coach, but he says you rock in this area. Can you seen me an email so we could arrange a time to talk about it?

    Thanks!

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    Re: Questions about changing address / business name on local listings

    Well I personally think Andrew rocks too! But I don't know what all he offers as far as training courses.

    Shoot me an email though and I'll send you my options.
    linda AT catalystemarketing DOT com
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

  6. #5
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    Re: Questions about changing address / business name on local listings

    Quote Originally Posted by John Tabita View Post
    This is my first post, so hopefully I'm asking in the correct forum.

    Address Discrepancies
    The customer may provide a slightly different address than their Google listing, such as ‘5410 Rt 31 West’ vs. ‘5410 State Route 31 W.’ Both of these are technically correct, but what are the ramifications if we change the Google listing?

    Does changing the Google address adversely affect ranking, even if Google recognizes and accepts the new address? Or is it best to always use what Google has, so long as it’s correct?
    The Google listing should contain the full address spelled out "5410 State Route 31 West" (if that's the correct physical address). Even without the location you should always use the long form format of the road name as Google will be able to locate the address on the map the best. Most numbered highways have Obscure names (non-rendering names) which typically include "State Route" "State Highway" and "Route" so Google should be able to figure out what a user is searching for and match that with the correct address. If you link to the location or provide a city, state I can better advise you.

    I don't think changing the address affects ranking negatively if you are using a format that Google recognizes (spelled out in full). However, if you change to an abbreviated address or a non-Primary name Google may have difficulty finding the location.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Tabita View Post

    "Av" vs. "Ave"

    We are also claiming their Yahoo! and Bing listings. I know it’s important to use a standard address format, so does changing an address from Ave to Av present a problem? Or are they smart enough to know it means the same thing?

    Thanks in advance!
    You should be using "Avenue" for Google, as it doesn't like abbreviations in street names (see "Complete Name").

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    Re: Questions about changing address / business name on local listings

    Andrew,

    Thanks for the information. We're not using Map Maker; we're changing the listing directly. My understanding was that Map Maker requires the complete address, but the Places/Google+ listing understands the abbreviation.

    Please tell me you're not saying that we also must update the listing in Map Maker ...

    Here's an actual example of the customer telling us something different than what Google or Yahoo have:

    Customer says: 5410 Rt 31 West
    Google says: 5410 State Highway 31
    Yahoo says: 5410 State Route 31 W

    So what would you do in this situation?

  8. #7
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    Re: Questions about changing address / business name on local listings

    Quote Originally Posted by John Tabita View Post
    Please tell me you're not saying that we also must update the listing in Map Maker ...

    Here's an actual example of the customer telling us something different than what Google or Yahoo have:

    Customer says: 5410 Rt 31 West
    Google says: 5410 State Highway 31
    Yahoo says: 5410 State Route 31 W

    So what would you do in this situation?
    No don't edit in MM typically it's a bad idea.

    I think Andrew will need to see the full address and link to listing to tell you for sure. Too many tricky variables to guess and customer says, vs Google says does not really tell us enough because I don't know where Google says and why without research. You could mean Google says one thing on the live listing, but Google could say something else on maps and something else on MM.

    Then I would also do citation research to see what is indicated there. AND run in through the USPS tool. Then weigh everything to make an informed decision. (IF you end up taking that training we talked about,
    I explain all this and how to do it in detail.)

    But it's tricky in cases like this where the address can be listed 2 different ways.
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

  9. #8
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    Re: Questions about changing address / business name on local listings

    Quote Originally Posted by John Tabita View Post
    Andrew,
    Thanks for the information. We're not using Map Maker; we're changing the listing directly. My understanding was that Map Maker requires the complete address, but the Places/Google+ listing understands the abbreviation.
    Realistically it doesn't matter if Places "understands" the listing as Places only renders the name. However, if you enter an address into Places then it will pass into MapMaker and also used for Routing/Directions/Marker. MapMaker is the primary source of addressing data for the tools in Maps. So if Google Maps is unable to directly match it in the database, then it will guess, and we all know how good bot guessing is; its great until it is horribly wrong (which happens).

    Quote Originally Posted by John Tabita View Post
    Please tell me you're not saying that we also must update the listing in Map Maker ...
    I never said you had to use Map Maker. Though Map Maker is the best way to do troubleshooting, even without doing any editing.
    Quote Originally Posted by John Tabita View Post
    Here's an actual example of the customer telling us something different than what Google or Yahoo have:

    Customer says: 5410 Rt 31 West
    Google says: 5410 State Highway 31
    Yahoo says: 5410 State Route 31 W

    So what would you do in this situation?
    Quote Originally Posted by Linda Buquet View Post
    No don't edit in MM typically it's a bad idea.
    I think Andrew will need to see the full address and link to listing to tell you for sure. Too many tricky variables to guess and customer says, vs Google says does not really tell us enough because I don't know where Google says and why without research. You could mean Google says one thing on the live listing, but Google could say something else on maps and something else on MM.

    Then I would also do citation research to see what is indicated there. AND run in through the USPS tool. Then weigh everything to make an informed decision. (IF you end up taking that training we talked about,
    I explain all this and how to do it in detail.)

    But it's tricky in cases like this where the address can be listed 2 different ways.
    The full address, city and state, will be needed to find out what is used in the area for physical addressing purposes. I typically will check local authorities (city websites, other local features, street signs, etc) to find what is used for the Primary physical street name. This isn't a scenario where I can give advice without a full picture of the location of the feature.

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    Re: Questions about changing address / business name on local listings

    I know this thread is a few weeks old but saw it in 'Similar Threads' and thought I'd offer some advice for anyone who may ever have this question.

    The small discrepancies in address formats do not generally make much of a difference (Such as W or West). But it is important to have yourself organized and pick one format.

    The way to do this is go to google.com/maps and type in the address. See if it is found. If google corrects you and suggest a different format, then there you go. If not then zoom in on the map and look at the street name and how it is written. Use that.

    If you want to see how google recognizes a format listed on a third party listing try typing it into google maps.

    For things like Ave and Avenue, everything is smart enough to know they are the same thing. I imagine Av would be the same as well.. but who uses that?

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    Re: Questions about changing address / business name on local listings

    Quote Originally Posted by Broland View Post
    I know this thread is a few weeks old but saw it in 'Similar Threads' and thought I'd offer some advice for anyone who may ever have this question.

    The small discrepancies in address formats do not generally make much of a difference (Such as W or West). But it is important to have yourself organized and pick one format.

    The way to do this is go to google.com/maps and type in the address. See if it is found. If google corrects you and suggest a different format, then there you go. If not then zoom in on the map and look at the street name and how it is written. Use that.

    If you want to see how google recognizes a format listed on a third party listing try typing it into google maps.

    For things like Ave and Avenue, everything is smart enough to know they are the same thing. I imagine Av would be the same as well.. but who uses that?
    Broland, I'm confused why you would give advice that goes against Best Practices/policy for Google Maps? There is a huge difference between W and West as a town can have both a W Street and West Street and if you abbreviate the street name it could be confused by Google. Plus, why would you put in less specific information and crossing your fingers that Google can figure it out. If it doesn't then you're screwed. When it comes to crossing your fingers when Google has said otherwise is bad advice, as someone who has seen what happens when Google confuses addresses or can't find a place.

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