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  1. #1
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    Service Area Business

    Hi All,

    I am an electrician based in the UK. Until recentley my buisness was top of the search area for my area on google maps (for 2 years). I was always "A" and got alot of my business from there.

    However one day (3weeks ago) it disappeared from the map completely. I logged into my dashboard to find. .."currently do not support location" which I'd had before. On previous occasions I'd just tweeked bits in my places page and it would cone back on.

    However this time it has stayed off. I contacted Google support and they told me that because I go to customers homes etc that I must hide my business address from
    The google places page and this was the reason it is down.

    However when I do this my balloon just goes into the centre of my working radius some 10miles away from my business location. This means I no longer come up top for my local l are and my customers cant see my address, which I think gives them more trust in a company. All my other competitors are still listed with their full addresses and are service area business's just like me.

    I'm still not back on the maps at all.

    Google support are offering no help. If my listing is down then why arent any of my competitors.

    I havent had work in over 2weeks.

    Whats going on?

    I dont want it to look asif i am based 10miles away from my actual location!
    Last edited by Colan Nielsen; 02-11-2013 at 06:43 PM. Reason: Moved To Service Area Business Issues section.

  2. #2
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    Re: Service Area Business

    Hi there, I moved your post to the Service Area Business Issue section. Lots of great info on your issue in this section.

    Bottom line, if you are a Service Area Business, you MUST hide your address. From all the examples I've seen, hiding your address shouldn't negatively impact your ranking,

    As far as your competitors not hiding their address, if they are a SAB as well, it's only a matter of time before they are noticed by a Map Maker RER or somebody in India and their listings are deleted.

    Playing by the rules is the only sustainable way to exist in Google's world.
    Colan Nielsen l GMB Top Contributor
    Vice President, Local Search at Sterling Sky
    Connect on Google + and Twitter

  3. #3
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    Re: Service Area Business

    Yes, you must hide it. There is an exception, and that is when an SAB has a storefront; but that would be more a restaurant that will also deliver.

    Right now you are only being noticed by the Places Quality team and the Maps editing team, both groups of Google employees. Map Maker is not yet available in the UK, but I'd suspect that it is coming there soon. When it does, you'll have thousands of volunteer mappers setting fixing items.

    If you feel they currently have an unfair advantage over you, you are free to report them. Click on Report a Problem on their G+ page, choose Other near the bottom of the form, and type in something along the lines of "SABs with no storefronts are not permitted on the map"

  4. #4
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    Re: Service Area Business

    But are you sure this is for the United Kingdom aswell?

    Is this a recent change in google guidlines?

    If someone takes their time to search "electricians wirral" or "electricians liverpool" (my local area), you will see all electricians like myself still have their addresses listed. It is only me who has been picked on.

    This really is a bad move by google in regards to companies in the construction industry who give services at customers locations.
    customers in the UK like to see companies list their address for piece of mind they are a good company.

    I think I must be the only one in the UK who this has happened to.

    We also dont have "map maker" in the Uk.

    Google just arent helping, the loss of work is massive whilst my competitors continue to operate with their addresses

  5. #5
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    Re: Service Area Business

    Google is neither consistent nor always fair in how it enforces the “hide-your-address” rule. Your competitors may not be whacked for a while, but if they’re in the same situation as yours then they eventually will. The only way forward for you is to play by Google’s often-confusing rules – in this case, to keep the address hidden and to make sure you’re squeaky-clean in other areas (like business categories).

    Google has had the “hide” rule in place for almost a year. The enforcement of it is still very spotty. But the good news is that hiding your address just doesn’t affect your rankings.

    As for the balloon, there’s no way to fix where that appears, even if it’s 10 miles off. Google isn’t indicating that you’re located in a specific spot; they’re actually trying to obfuscate your address. Now, it’s a separate matter entirely whether the average user even now recognizes that “Oh, that round balloon means this business has a ‘hidden’ address and isn’t actually located where the balloon is.”

  6. #6
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    Re: Service Area Business

    I'm not sure how it works in the US. But with a small country like England with a huge population there is at least 200 electricians within a 10 mile radius. Hiding my address means that I will no longer get local work. I have alway been top of my local area.

    My main problem now (after changing everything that the guidlines asks) is actually getting back on it at all. Its been 3 weeks and I havent returned yet,

  7. #7
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    Re: Service Area Business

    Again, for better or worse, Google makes the rules. And again, I’m not sure whether your listing is compliant in other regards: feel free to post a screenshot of the “edit” area of your Google Places dashboard, and I’ll see if anything jumps out at me.

    I’d also suggest diversifying as much as possible. Slowly but surely building your website into an monster. Running a PPC campaign (if you’re not already). Listing your site on and asking for customer reviews on as many third-party directory sites as possible. You definitely won’t want all your eggs in Google’s basket, regardless of how visible you are there.

  8. #8
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    Re: Service Area Business

    This applies worldwide. There are not exceptions for different countries.

    Basically, showing your address puts you on the map. If an item is on the map, it is supposed to be something that people can visit.

  9. #9
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    Re: Service Area Business

    HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of listings have been deleted by Google for violating the guideline. Don't risk it.

    FYI Google will put the Map Marker in the center of whatever you list in the service radius box. If you include zip it will put your marker in the middle of that zip. If you just put city with no zip it will put you in the middle of the city. If you list 4 cities it will put you in the center even if it's a forest or lake.

    So choose your service area setting wisely and you'll be find.

    That is once it comes back. Many listings have been down for MONTHS which is why we are so strongly warning you, you need to comply.
    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".

  10. #10
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    Re: Service Area Business

    Yes, this does apply to the UK (and everywhere). I am a UK based Local SEO Consultant and part of my job is making sure that my clients listings complies with this.

    There are lots of threads here (and other places) that speak about the "hiding address" situation (it all kicked off last year). Here is a thread from Miriam that gives a good summary:

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


    In addition to all that, there are other checks that Google can do to validate business locations/authenticity. See this thread for vital information on that:

    http://localsearchforum.catalystemar...ant-other.html

    ------

    By the way, I know that all of this stuff is very very damaging (we all agree with that, I'm sure), but this is happening to a lot of businesses. I've recently been helping some business owners in my local networking group who have had their listings removed. This is happening to lots of others so it's important to read the threads above.
    Nicholas Pratt | Director | Add me on Google+
    SEO Spark



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