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View Poll Results: Suggest they move their business from a PO box, or leave well enough alone?

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  • Move: weather short term problems for long term security

    6 75.00%
  • Don't send them on a mission they might not be equipped for - leave it alone

    2 25.00%
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  1. #1
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    Quick Survey: NAP cleanup and TOS compliance

    So, Hypothetical. A business owner approaches you, they're doing alright (showing in a lot of 3-packs for their city/service) but it turns out their address they've got on Google and that they've spread far and wide is at a UPS store. Google didn't catch it since it's not formatted like a PO box, but they're still likely getting flack for being listed somewhere with a dozen other businesses, and they're risking a penalty if someone ever takes a closer look.

    Assume too that this is someone you're talking with over coffee, not a client. If you tell them to make the switch, they're going to be jumping in alone. For the sake of the Poll, assume they're set on trying to handle it themselves if that's what you suggest.

    So, do you suggest they go through the difficulties of essentially moving their business, or do you tell them to sit tight and leave well enough alone?

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  3. #2
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    Re: Quick Survey: NAP cleanup and TOS compliance

    Whew! That's a tough one James. And as usual depends on so many things!

    Off top of my head, if UPS specifically I'd warn them & tell them to move it, because those locations are such an easy target.

    If it was a local no name mail center like that didn't sound like a PO box AND if they were pretty non-tech savvy I think maybe I just would not say anything. For them to figure out how to move, have to re-verify and then have to deal with Google saying their business is closed and fight to get that straightened out - that's too much for a Mom & Pop SAB to handle.

    But also depends on industry. For instance if it was an atty with a 2nd office at a UPS, I'd really warn him and tell him to close it so as not to risk his main listing.
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

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  4. #3
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    Re: Quick Survey: NAP cleanup and TOS compliance

    My thoughts too. In this case it was a carpet cleaner (so a SAB, public address in a lot of citations and website, hidden on Google) and it was a UPS with an unusual non-PO box formatting (more like a suite number?) The main concern was the same one you mentioned... they seemed reasonably competent, but I'm still hesitant to suggest a big change without knowing how technically savvy they are.

    Seems to me though, that not changing is potentially a time bomb. All it'd take is one competitor deciding to do a little digging.

  5. #4
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    Re: Quick Survey: NAP cleanup and TOS compliance

    There are a few competitors in my area who use this same tactic. What would Google do if they find out? They can claim they are SABs and use UPS boxes to receive mail and admin stuff.

  6. #5
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    Re: Quick Survey: NAP cleanup and TOS compliance

    PO Boxes are too easy to prove so I would suggest they change it. It's not that difficult to clean up NAP and the implications of them keeping it is that Google would remove the entire listing, so you'd lose all that history (which seriously helps ranking) and you'd also lose the reviews.

  7. #6
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    Re: Quick Survey: NAP cleanup and TOS compliance

    Quote Originally Posted by theitsage View Post
    There are a few competitors in my area who use this same tactic. What would Google do if they find out? They can claim they are SABs and use UPS boxes to receive mail and admin stuff.
    UPS and PO boxes are prohibited. From guidelines:

    "Use a precise, accurate address to describe your business location.
    PO Boxes or mailboxes located at remote locations are not acceptable.

    Make sure that your page is created at your actual, real-world location."
    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
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    Re: Quick Survey: NAP cleanup and TOS compliance

    I'd tell them exactly what you asked us. Usually if you tell people how they are harming themselves they are quick to listen as long as you can back it up. Then I'd walk them through what a NAP change looks like i.e. there may be some pain from cauterizing the wound but will be better setup for the future. If you know how to handle NAP changes this should be pretty painless unless proximity changes quite a bit.

    This is also a judgement call for the owner. We have had prospective clients that were just peachy being in the wrong but wanted to strike while the iron is hot. Full disclosure should help you either way.

    I digress... I'd instruct them to move.
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  9. #8
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    Re: Quick Survey: NAP cleanup and TOS compliance

    Assuming they're a small business with no outside help, i'd still tell them to change and re-verify. If i'm the one talking to them i'd want to tell them how to follow the rules and not get burned long term. Plus I'm also thinking about my reputation at that point. If I tell this owner to ignore it because it might work (even though I know it's wrong), then i'll have that on my conscience when it backfires. Also, if it does go wrong they will tell others that I told him/her to do that. That's not good for business.

    Point being, if you know it's against the guidelines don't tell someone else to go against it. If you want to do it for your own sites, go ahead and do it. The only company at risk in that case is yours. It really annoys me to see people knowingly giving out bad advice, which they know could hurt the business at some point. Don't hurt someone else's business. If someone's looking to you for advice, give them an honest answer. If they want help with it, then you can charge for your time/services.
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  10. #9
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    Re: Quick Survey: NAP cleanup and TOS compliance

    That is a violation.

    Google + lists where you are physically at and receive visitors. You also list hours that you are there.

  11. #10
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    Re: Quick Survey: NAP cleanup and TOS compliance

    I'm all about full disclosure, that being said correcting it could lose them money. So it is important to be as up-front as possible.

    Something along the lines of "Sure it works now, but Google will eventually tear it down; how much money would you lose trying to address this retroactively?"

    Most business owners will see the light.

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