GradeUs banner  below header new
Thanks Thanks:  0
Likes Likes:  0
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12
  1. #1
    Member Since
    Jun 2012
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    15,627
    Thanks (Received)
    154
    Likes (Received)
    165

    Question Can You Risk NOT Hiding your Address on Google? For Home Based Businesses

    If you have a service area business and your office is in your home and you only go out to customers, YES it is absolutely mandatory that you hide your address! THOUSANDS (I personally think hundreds of thousands) of small business listings have been removed for violating this fairly recent guideline and some have been down for a couple months without being able to revive their listing or even successfully getting a new listing to show.

    But this post is targeted at a slightly different scenario. We get SMBs on the forum that say, "Yes my office is in my home BUT customers SOMETIMES come here. So I don't want to hide my address and don't feel I'm in violation." Some of you may have clients in the same boat. What do I advise?

    1st of all the official guidelines read "If you don't conduct face-to-face business at your location… select the "Do not show my business address on my Maps listing" This is what is bringing up the question. Even though home-based, some businesses DO have customers come to their location. For instance I know carpet cleaning companies that mainly go OUT to customers but also allow rug drop offs at their home office for cleaning. So they don't want to hide address because they do have customers visit. (Be sure to see the copy of the Google Places Support email that is circulating at the bottom of this post. CONFLICTING MESSAGING FROM GOOGLE ON THIS.)

    So here is a good thread at the Google forum where I go back and forth with a resume writer who REALLY does not want to hide his address and keeps trying to justify why he should be allowed list it. I say in a nutshell - YES if you see customers there, you may technically be allowed to show address but it's EXTREMELY RISKY and if it were me I would cave to Google and hide it. Here is some of the advice I offered as he continued to insist he should be able to get away with showing his address.

    Google and Your Business Forum Thread

    03gtcoupe - I do about 50 percent of my business via people coming to my home office and about 50% through email. I certainly don't want to risk of being removed but I want to still be able to show up in the search results when people are looking for my service.

    Linda - You will still show up if you hide your address. It will just move your map marker to the center of your zip.

    BUT if Google takes you down like it's taken down THOUSANDS of other listings you will have nothing. Many businesses have been down for almost 3 months and can't even get new listings to work.

    So not worth the risk IMO.


    03gtcoupe But it's really not fair to my customers because I always make appointment with them to come to my office, although some choose to go through email. Do you think "showing my address" and selecting a "service radius" is too risky?

    Linda - As I explained before it's a HUGE risk.

    How would a Google moderator who's job is to WHACK businesses that violate the guidelines know you have customers come to your house???

    If they look at the map and it looks like a house not a commercial office there is a high likelyhood they will assume you are breaking the rules.

    If you see customers there, you are free to show your address and take the risk. But do not come back here and boo hoo when your listing is TOTALLY gone for months. We warned you MANY MANY TIMES and I don't know how to make it any clearer.

    Yes, you CAN show your address.
    Yes, it IS a risk.


    Keenan - Linda's point is that we would be doing you a disservice to suggest that we THINK it MIGHT be okay.

    In the end, this is YOUR decision. If you take any action based upon the opinions or recommendations expressed here, you MUST accept that ALL of the responsibility is yours and yours alone. All we can do is provide you with information we feel may be relevant to your situation.

    Just by making a single edit to your listing could cause it to be flagged for review and ultimately lead to something bad.
    Below is a portion of the latest series of emails going out to warn service area businesses.
    SEE IMPORTANT COMMENTS RE: CONFLICTING INFO BELOW THE QUOTE!

    GOOGLE SUPPORT EMAILS GOING OUT

    We’d like to tell you about a recent update to our quality guidelines. This new addition, which affects service area businesses based at a residential location, states:

    If you don't conduct face-to-face business at your location, you must select the "Do not show my business address on my Maps listing" option within your dashboard. If you don't hide your address, your listing may be removed from Google Maps.

    Why the addition? We want to ensure that Google users do not attempt to visit your business at the location listed publicly on Maps — it’s a bad experience for you, it’s a bad experience for them.

    Over the next few weeks, we’ll begin strictly enforcing this guideline, more so than we have been since the policy change. This means that if you don't have a storefront, and you haven't hidden your address, your listing is not in compliance with our updated quality guidelines and subject to takedown. We wanted to give you a heads up both to give you enough time to be in compliance and to ensure your listing remains live on Google Maps going forward.
    When you carefully read between the lines on stuff from Google you often see conflicting info, because I think different departments are making policies that either don't agree or don't get properly communicated to the SMBs. THE CONCERN IS - the guideline only says "If you don't conduct face-to-face business at your location" HOWEVER this email says "if you don't have a storefront" which implies to me, whether you see customers there or not is immaterial, if it's a home address - we want it hidden.

    So I say if a Google moderator views the listing on maps and if it looks like a residential location - be safe, not sorry and hide the address. That's my advice.

    What's your take on all this???
    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".

  2. Local Marketing Summit banner in thread
  3. #2
    Member Since
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    12
    Thanks (Received)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    0

    Re: Can You Risk NOT Hiding your Address on Google? For Home Based Businesses

    Is the movement of the pin the only implication of hiding an address?

    Or, does it affect how a business ranks?

  4. #3
    Member Since
    Jun 2012
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    15,627
    Thanks (Received)
    154
    Likes (Received)
    165

    Re: Can You Risk NOT Hiding your Address on Google? For Home Based Businesses

    Hi Spencer,

    Pin turns round, moves to center of selected service area. Ranking should not normally be affected. See plumber San Marcos Ca. Top few are hidden addresses.
    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".

  5. #4
    Member Since
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    12
    Thanks (Received)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    0

    Re: Can You Risk NOT Hiding your Address on Google? For Home Based Businesses

    Thanks Linda...That's really interesting.

    If that's the case, then reward certainly outweighs the risk b/c there doesn't seem to be any risk at all...assuming of course, they don't later change they're policy.

    But it's enough trying to keep up with the changes, much less guess what they are, so yeah...I'd definitely hide my address if I was doing business out of home.

  6. #5
    Member Since
    Jul 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    479
    Thanks (Received)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    2

    Re: Can You Risk NOT Hiding your Address on Google? For Home Based Businesses

    Linda,
    Have you heard anything else on this since you created this thread? I completely agree with you that the addition of the term 'storefront' in the circular has only added to the confusion. So...you must, must, must have a brick and mortar store to show your address from here on out? Is that how you read this? I'd like to know if you've had any further thoughts on this.
    Local Business Website Design, Professional Copywriting and Consulting at Solas Web Design!

  7. #6
    Member Since
    Jun 2012
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    15,627
    Thanks (Received)
    154
    Likes (Received)
    165

    Re: Can You Risk NOT Hiding your Address on Google? For Home Based Businesses

    Quote Originally Posted by MiriamEllis View Post
    Linda,
    Have you heard anything else on this since you created this thread? I completely agree with you that the addition of the term 'storefront' in the circular has only added to the confusion. So...you must, must, must have a brick and mortar store to show your address from here on out? Is that how you read this? I'd like to know if you've had any further thoughts on this.
    NOOOOO I don't think you need a brick and mortar store to show address at all. IF YOU HAVE AN OFFICE and SEE CUSTOMERS THERE during regular office hours - any type of office: commercial, medical, dental, accounting office, basically any type of business office - you can and should show address.

    This is mainly about service area businesses and home offices. But would also apply to lets say a warehouse that is not open to customers

    The focus is mainly on service area businesses that ONLY go out to work at the client site and they seem focused on certain niches: carpet cleaning, plumbers, pest control, mobile repair, taxis, movers etc. And the issue is if you are in those industries that mainly only go out to see clients AND have a residential address.

    If you had one of the above businesses BUT had a commercial office that accepts walk-in traffic and had someone there all day to help customers, then you could show address.

    So I still stand by this advice…

    Quote Originally Posted by Linda Buquet View Post
    So I say if a Google moderator views the listing on maps and if it looks like a residential location - be safe, not sorry and hide the address.
    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".

  8. #7
    Member Since
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    235
    Thanks (Received)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    0

    Re: Can You Risk NOT Hiding your Address on Google? For Home Based Businesses

    I don't think they mean everyone must have an actual retail store front, but rather a legitimate commercial or office location.

  9. #8
    Member Since
    Jul 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    479
    Thanks (Received)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    2

    Re: Can You Risk NOT Hiding your Address on Google? For Home Based Businesses

    I think my terminology was confusing. Sorry. By brick-and-mortar, I meant a building...not really a retail business. Google's use of the term 'storefront' is bound to confuse folks. A dental office isn't a storefront, per se, etc.

    Ah, well. Thanks for your replies, Linda and Keenan.
    Local Business Website Design, Professional Copywriting and Consulting at Solas Web Design!

  10. #9
    Member Since
    Jul 2012
    Location
    North Attleboro, MA
    Posts
    1,071
    Thanks (Received)
    4
    Likes (Received)
    8

    Re: Can You Risk NOT Hiding your Address on Google? For Home Based Businesses

    One takeaway I'm getting from this - and from a few months of seeing different businesses get nuked - is: Google goes by industry.

    I just can't imagine that they're taking the gray areas into account, like if you meet customers 50% of the time at your location, versus 10% of the time, etc.

    I agree with you, Linda: just tuck your tail and "hide" your address. I'd even take it a step further and say that it doesn't matter if in a particular case a business owner meets some clients at the "office" / home: if you're a carpet cleaner who meets 50% of your clients at your location, you're just as marked for death as the guy who meets 0% at his location.

    With millions upon millions of businesses to process, Google is paying attention to which "bucket" your business falls into, not to the nuances. Hence all the people getting penalized when they shouldn't have been.

  11. #10
    Member Since
    Jun 2012
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    15,627
    Thanks (Received)
    154
    Likes (Received)
    165

    Re: Can You Risk NOT Hiding your Address on Google? For Home Based Businesses

    Yep I totally agree with you Phil. Nuked by industry if you fall into the bucket.
    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".

Similar Threads

  1. Service Based Business... Slapped for not hiding address
    By Andrew Polanski in forum Help & Support for Google Local
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 08-16-2012, 06:22 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
GradeUs above footer new