Can Lawyer Name Change Cause Problems?

Eric Rohrback

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Oct 3, 2012
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I have a situation where a lawyer added a partner, so the business name changed. Can this be enough to see a rankings change? The citations would be different (though still have the original name), and the Google page would be slightly different. Address and phone stay the same. Is this enough to kick them to the end of the line and be treated as a new page? I wouldn't think so, but I wanted confirmation. I think there are other problems with the site causing a ranking drop, but I wanted to make sure the name change had very little impact.
 

Colan Nielsen

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Jul 19, 2012
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Hey Eric,

I think it all depends on a few factors. If it's a very minor name change you might be okay. Whether or not the edit triggers a verification will have an impact as well. But as you know, any change to NAP can have negative consequences.

Either way, you gotta do what you gotta do, so if you need to change the business name, make sure to get your citations in order as well and you will be okay in the long run.
 

jtweav

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Oct 9, 2013
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I've had a successful case of changing core business information without losing rankings. In my case it was addresses but should be the same. I don't know of a better post then moving locations checklist by David M is by far the best: Moving to a New Location? Don't Forget about Local Search - Moz. Basically I just went to all the sites I built links for and edited the information/reclaimed. Then I searched Google for variations of the old information and went and claimed/edited those links. On the other hand I've had clients do some bad changes and not tell me and I learn about then when I see rankings/leads fall.
 

Eric Rohrback

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Oct 3, 2012
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I think address change would be a little more tricky to handle. My thought on this case is the fact that i'm only adding one name, the rest of the NAP info remains constant. I think Google is smart enough to recognize that it's only a slight adjustment, but we know what happens when you assume...
 

Linda Buquet

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Jun 28, 2012
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So core name stayed the same? It was something like Smith Law Offices and now the new name is Smith & Jones Law Offices?

As long as main part of name is still in there I would not think it would have as much impact

Is this enough to kick them to the end of the line and be treated as a new page?
It's easy to tell if that was what happened. Search KW + Zip in maps. Search a bunch of different ways like that. If they don't show at all then they started over. Then search phone in maps and be sure they show, just to be sure the listing is not borked somehow. Even if they started over they should come up for phone search.

So if they rank in maps for KWs - they didn't start over. May have just dropped lower.

To investigate a rank drop like this, it helps to separate maps ranking from organic to try to isolate where the problem is.

Did you track pure maps ranking before? If so compare same KW now.

Did you ever track PURE organic to see where the site itself ranks without the Place page? Do you know how? If so check and see if the site dropped. Could be an organic penalty, nothing to do with the name change, just coincidence.
 

Eric Rohrback

Moderator
Joined
Oct 3, 2012
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993
Linda:

Yeah, it was just a name addition - previously Smith law firm, now Smith & Jones law firm (using your example :)). I wanted to double check a small addition like that wouldn't automatically tank them.

I'll have to take a closer look at the pure ranking. I only got this question from a sales guy at my company and really haven't had time to do a ton of investigating. Great points on how to test.

I'll take a deeper look and let you know what I find. Thanks for your help.
 

a11c

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Jan 24, 2013
Messages
72
In my experience with local search for lawyers/law firms (4,000+), adding a partner to the firm name is probably the least concerning NAP change for the firm. Follow the advice given here and your golden.

---------- Post Merged at 08:03 AM ---------- Previous Post was at 08:03 AM ----------

In my experience with local search for lawyers/law firms (4,000+), adding a partner to the firm name is probably the least concerning NAP change for the firm. Follow the advice given here and your golden.
 

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