Brian

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A Law firm we work with is changing their firm name. This is not a full scale rebranding. The firm name is changing from Arnold Rodman & Pletcher, PLLC to Arnold & Rodman, PLLC. Since this is not a full scale rebranding is it acceptable to edit to the firm name in their already claimed Places listing?

If it is acceptable I am wondering about the timing of the edit. Their Website currently shows the old firm name. However, they are moving to a new site in two weeks and the new firm name will be listed on the site. When the new site goes live I am planning to update the firm name in Localeze, Info express and Axciom. And then begin to update their citations with the new firm name.

Should I be waiting till the citations gain some traction (perhaps 6 weeks) to make the update in Google. Or since the name change is subtle just go ahead and make the change in Google.
 

Phil Rozek

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Either way would work fine. But, as you say, the name-change is subtle and should stick without having most or all of the citations squared away. So I'd go ahead and just make the change in Google around the time you make changes at the data-aggregators. You'll also want to go to the other major sites, like Yelp, CitySearch, YP, and SuperPages, and make changes manually at those places.
 
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Either way would work fine. But, as you say, the name-change is subtle and should stick without having most or all of the citations squared away. So I'd go ahead and just make the change in Google around the time you make changes at the data-aggregators. You'll also want to go to the other major sites, like Yelp, CitySearch, YP, and SuperPages, and make changes manually at those places.
I disagree with Phil's advice and would deny a name change like the one you want to make. It is not a minor change as the name change guidelines allow for fixing mispellings. This is a change of name which is significant, the loss of a partner on the name of the firm is no small matter. The old one should be closed and a new feature created, per
Name - Map Maker Help
 

Broland

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This has been gone over before. Do not create a new listing - unless you want to drop rankings and have more of a mess on your hands. Go with Phil's advice above.
 

Phil Rozek

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I disagree with Phil's advice and would deny a name change like the one you want to make. It is not a minor change as the name change guidelines allow for fixing mispellings. This is a change of name which is significant, the loss of a partner on the name of the firm is no small matter. The old one should be closed and a new feature created, per
Name - Map Maker Help

That, my good fellow, is crazy.

If it?s the case that you?re saying ?Here are Google?s rules, they?re crystal-clear, and I?m just enforcing them,? then that?s one thing. But it?s always been my understanding that you guys have more latitude than that, and can take a know-it-when-I-see-it approach to battling spam.

So if it?s more a question of judgment rather than of enforcing Google?s unclear rules, I?ve got a few of questions:

1. Where in the rules does it say that fixing typos are the only changes you can make to a claimed listing? It doesn?t say that here (in the section under ?Business Name?): Ways to correct my local business listing - Places for business Help

2. It?s still the same firm. Same location. Same contact info. Only about 33% of the name is changing. I would think this passes the ?sniffer test? of being the same establishment ? the same ?point of interest,? if you will.

3. Would you concede that this is a case of Google simply being inconsistent and unclear? The Google Places rules say you can edit your name, and the MapMaker rules say you can only edit typos in your name. But business owners don?t see the MM rules. Abiding by the only set of rules they know of ? the ones for Places ? should be enough. Especially when there?s rampant spam (e.g. locksmith) created by people who aren?t even trying to play by the rules.
 

Laustin1878

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I've read both links posted here and it seems that minor changes are acceptable but require re-verification, as per Google's rules. This is a similar situation I've come across. The company name and URL is changing but the only change to both is removing the geographical identifier from the end (i.e. Business Name City, Inc to Business Name Inc). The URL is easy as the old URL will 301 to the new URL.

I'm afraid of the business listing losing it's ranking (despite having 2k+ impressions and less then 5 actions...grr) but will this change be easily picked up by the many business listing websites if I hit a few of the hubs to make the name and URL changes? More so, will the rankings return despite citations having the geographical identifier at the end or do I need to hit all of the sites and have this corrected?

The business owner has opted to redesign the site and change the URL as well so they are not pigeon-holed to one locale. I know the SERP's will be juggled as a result of the redesign but I'm unsure of how this will affect the local SEO that has been and is being conducted. I figured the changes might as well be made at the same time as there will be some fluctuations as a result of all the changes.

I'm looking to understand the effects of a name change and a way to streamline the process of getting the changed info to existing citations and business listings. Hope these questions fit into the realm of the original post.
 

Phil Rozek

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In addition to going to all the "major" sites to update your listings, yes, you'll definitely want to go to all but the most rinky-dink citation sources and update those one by one.

More so, will the rankings return despite citations having the geographical identifier at the end or do I need to hit all of the sites and have this corrected?
 

Laustin1878

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I was trying to weigh the workload with such a change and determine if it's worth it or not. Im hoping that this is considered a minor name change and the value from any existing citations will still pass value without changing the name on every citation.

Will a name change like this unwind any past and current work being done on local SEO or just throw a hurdle into the mix that can be overcome?
 
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