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Thread: Hide Your Address on Google Places Q & A

  1. #1
    Nick.SEOSpark's Avatar
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    Hide Your Address on Google Places Q & A

    Hi All,

    So, it's well documented now that hiding the address is vital for businesses that serve customers at their locations:

    Why You May Need To Hide Your Google Places Address ASAP | SEOmoz

    However, I'm now doing this for the first time and have a few questions:

    Is the whole address supposed to be dissapearing?
    Does this effect the the citations you have for the address?

    I understand that it's necessary to do, but how does it change the other factors? And how does it change the citations you have already built, the address on the website etc?

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Linda Buquet's Avatar
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    re: Hide Your Address on Google Places Q & A

    Great questions Nick!

    And yes hiding your address, per the Google Guidelines is MANDATORY! In my opinion hundreds of thousands of listings have been deleted. Many have been down for months. AND even businesses that tried to start over with a new listing in a new account have not been able to get a listing back up. So this is VERY serious business.

    When in doubt HIDE YOUR ASS (address) is my advice!

    Now on to answering some of your Qs.

    Q - Is the whole address supposed to be dissapearing?

    A - Yes, the whole street address but city, state will still show.

    Added point - Also the map marker will move to the center of the zip or area you select in the service radius selection. And it will change shape and be a circle instead of teardrop.

    IMPORTANT POINT - After you hide address, it can take about a week or so for the live listing to update to reflect the change

    UBER IMPORTANT POINT - Even after you hide address and it updates, your client COULD still get a moderation call and be deleted. I believe the moderators in India are working off outdated lists and NOT the live maps listing. So still need to coach them that if they get a call, need to be short, direct and emphatic. "No I don't see customers here BUT I already updated my listing to HIDE my address. My listing meets the guidelines, please do not delete it!"

    Q - Does this effect the the citations you have for the address?

    A - My suspicion is that this does not affect citations. Google still knows the address INSIDE the dashboard, even if it's hidden on live listing. (Similar to the fact that you can still rank #1 for categories in your dashboard even though Google stopped showing those on the live Page too.)

    Q - I understand that it's necessary to do, but how does it change the other factors? And how does it change the citations you have already built, the address on the website etc?

    A - The main thing that changes is the display, both on the listing and on maps. I have not seen a big change in ranking. In fact I've shared an example where the top 3 A, B, C in one market are all hidden and the lower listings all have addresses displayed. (Cant remember the query but can find it if anyone wants me to.)

    I think you should still build full citations and have full NAP on site that matches what's in dash.

    The only question I get about this, which you have not asked but other's have, that I don't have a good answer for.

    ADDED Q - What if I have a client who works from home and does not want their address displayed on any citation sites or anywhere on the web? Most of the citation sites require an address. How do I build citations for a G+ L page with hidden address if home address is in dash but they don't want home address in citations?

    A - I don't know.

    Any other hide your ass* (address) Qs I can answer?
    (I think I have answers for most Qs except for that last one.)

    Any other thoughts, tips or experiences to share???
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  4. #3
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    Re: Hide Your Address on Google Places Q & A

    Linda, I had not heard this :

    Even after you hide address and it updates, your client COULD still get a moderation call and be deleted. I believe the moderators in India are working off outdated lists and NOT the live maps listing. So still need to coach them that if they get a call, need to be short, direct and emphatic. "No I don't see customers here BUT I already updated my listing to HIDE my address. My listing meets the guidelines, please do not delete it!"

    Outdated lists! Yikes!

    Nick - thanks for reading my piece at SEOmoz. Hope it was helpful.
    Local Business Website Design, Professional Copywriting and Consulting at Solas Web Design!

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    Re: Hide Your Address on Google Places Q & A

    Linda,
    Regarding your last piece, have you seen this very cool article on directories that allow you to hide address:

    Can You Rank Well in Local Google without Revealing Your Street Address Anywhere? | LocalVisibilitySystem.com

    I'm seeing lots of cool stuff from Phil Rozek lately.
    Local Business Website Design, Professional Copywriting and Consulting at Solas Web Design!

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    Linda Buquet's Avatar
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    Re: Hide Your Address on Google Places Q & A

    Quote Originally Posted by MiriamEllis View Post
    Linda, I had not heard this :

    Even after you hide address and it updates, your client COULD still get a moderation call and be deleted. I believe the moderators in India are working off outdated lists and NOT the live maps listing.
    Yep Miriam have mentioned several times in other posts and explain in detail in my training that consultants need to coach their clients on how to handle these calls, but go into a lot more detail.

    IT HAPPENED TO ME!
    2 weeks AFTER I hid my address I got the dreaded call from India. He kept saying in broken English "Oh I see, you DON'T see clients at this address!" I kept repeating "NO but I ALREADY hid my address and am in compliance" He just kept repeating - "Oh I see, you DON'T see clients at this address - correct?"

    I kept repeating "NO but I ALREADY hid my address and am in compliance" and then finally kinda yelled and said DO not delete my listing. I am in compliance and work with Vanessa and Joel. I still don't think he understood or knew who they were.

    But I guarantee if I didn't know what was going on and responded like the average SMB would have and just said, "no I don't see customers here" - I would have gotten whacked!
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    Re: Hide Your Address on Google Places Q & A

    My gosh, that sounds like a fun conversation! One worth recording and playing back for Google on your blog!
    Local Business Website Design, Professional Copywriting and Consulting at Solas Web Design!

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    Re: Hide Your Address on Google Places Q & A

    That's really quite terrifying Linda, as the average small business owner wouldn't know what to say and it wouldn't be nice to be "whacked" as a result of it. I don't actually think it's fair for Google to make business owners jump through these hoops (just as Miriam says in the SEOMoz post). It's confusing enough for us SEOs as shown above.

    Thanks very much Linda for your in-depth answers to my questions. I personally found the "hiding of the address" quite scary to initiate as it looks like the citation (NAP) matching is going to disappear, and I didn't want to assume that Google is monitoring the dashboard. As long as that is the case, I can relax a little about it.

    Miriam: Thanks for the great article on SEOMoz - it was a great early warning system for a lot of people.

    ---------- Post Merged at 08:36 PM ---------- Previous Post was at 08:33 PM ----------

    Another thing about that conversation. It sounds like he was constantly trying to trip you up and get the listing deleted. Awful! What a way to treat business owners!
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    Nick.SEOSpark's Avatar
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    Re: Hide Your Address on Google Places Q & A

    Sorry, I've got another question/query about the "hiding address" scenario.

    Miriam: it was touched upon in the comments of your article. About the Real Estate Agency that has an office (very well signed and publicised!) and serves customers at the office and at locations.

    Is it best for this business to choose "customers come to the business location"?

    In other words, it's a business that does both. But, there isn't an option for that!
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  11. #9
    Linda Buquet's Avatar
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    Re: Hide Your Address on Google Places Q & A

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick.SEOSpark View Post
    I personally found the "hiding of the address" quite scary to initiate as it looks like the citation (NAP) matching is going to disappear, and I didn't want to assume that Google is monitoring the dashboard. As long as that is the case, I can relax a little about it.
    That's an assumption on my part Nick BUT a strong one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick.SEOSpark View Post
    Sorry, I've got another question/query about the "hiding address" scenario.

    Miriam: it was touched upon in the comments of your article. About the Real Estate Agency that has an office (very well signed and publicised!) and serves customers at the office and at locations.

    Is it best for this business to choose "customers come to the business location"?

    In other words, it's a business that does both. But, there isn't an option for that!
    Here is my general rule of thumb, BUT every situation is unique.

    This guideline from what I've seen AND the moderation team that whacks listings seems to be focused on 2 things primarily:

    1) Industries that traditionally only go out to clients (carpet cleaners, exterminators, taxis, movers, plumbers and others that are similar.) Another one that gets hit a lot that can be outbound OR inbound (with a studio) is photographers.

    2) Home-based, residential locations.

    For the most part, the businesses I see getting whacked meet both criteria above.

    BUT there are exceptions to every rule. For instance most accountants have offices SO likely that's not an industry that's targeted. BUT if you have an accountant that does work from home, then he falls under #2 and I would hide address and be compliant.

    On the FLIP SIDE and something I run into often is for instance a carpet cleaner - which G would classify as service area only business, because you have to go to someone's house to clean their carpet. I've seen some argue "But we have customers drop off rugs here, so we DO see customers here and want to be on maps." My advice in that case is be safe, not sorry and hide it.

    If a moderator looks on maps - does it look like a house? HIDE IT! They don't always call any more. Sometimes they just whack. A moderator looking at a house on maps, is not going to know you sometimes have clients come to house. PLUS is someone always there to accept walk-in traffic - even when the owner/carpet cleaner is out on call?

    Back to the Q Nick asked "About the Real Estate Agency that has an office". I would say, if they have a commercial office that is staffed during business hours - no need to hide address. They don't meet either criteria in #1 or #2.

    HOWEVER if was a case of a single Realtor, no secretary and he/she is ALWAYS out with customers and the office is almost always closed except by appt, then maybe they should hide.

    So again every case is different.
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    Nick.SEOSpark's Avatar
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    Re: Hide Your Address on Google Places Q & A

    Thanks for all of the valuable information Linda.

    On the last point, I am speaking about a fully staffed Real Estate Agency office, that can have visitors come in off the street, so like a proper shop.

    In this case, is it best for it to have "customers come to the business location"? So, it does both but people can very much walk in, but it also serves people at locations.

    This stuff is actually very tricky for the business owner to decide as most of them want to give the most accurate answer.
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