Are Virtual Offices Now Acceptable on Google???


Erin Adams

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Jul 18, 2013
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5
We saw a listing for a virtual office space (Collonade Executive Suite) that lists out multiple businesses at that one location: https://plus.google.com/102217247307361356305/about.

Is this something that anyone else has noticed? Is Google permitting businesses to use virtual offices now?

Here's an example of a business at that location that now includes a link to the Collonade Executive Suite page next to the address on their Google-created local page (https://plus.google.com/104606733129944164350/about).

Here's what that particular listing looks like within search (https://maps.google.com/maps?q=(405)+752-8989&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&ie=UTF-8&ei=TdMwUsL2FYi9jAKI54D4Bg&ved=0CAoQ_AUoAg).

Thanks!
 

Linda Buquet

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Jun 28, 2012
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14,438
Hi Erin,

That looks like a scraped listing. Not even claimed. Not even any site listed.
So it's not a violation if you don't create or claim it and Google created it. (But if you don't claim it you can't control it and do thing like add the right categories, so it may not do you a whole lot of good either.)

But in general executive suites are tricky. Many small businesses BEFORE Google used them and it is their real office. They have a desk and sit there every day. So I don't think Google can say no executive suites allowed ever.

But many businesses, and attorneys are especially notorious for doing this... they get an executive suite or purely just a virtual office either to game Google or sometimes too even for yellow page and newspaper ads so it appears they have an office in that city. When in reality they are never there.

So to answer your question virtual offices are not allowed. Neither are UPS or PO boxes. Are there listings that have gotten away with it out there? Yep.

Should you try it for your client? Nope. Google is getting smarter at picking up on these.

I've seen and worked with LOTS of attorneys who have had all their listings either suspended or deleted for pulling this trick. Then even their main listing for their one REAL office goes down too. Not worth the risk!
 

Erin Adams

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Joined
Jul 18, 2013
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5
Thanks Linda, it's completely understandable how you can game the system like that, but how about when an attorney really rents out a place at these offices in order to make it more accessible for their clients that are in that area? It doesn't seem fair that you would get penalized for listing it on your site if you state something like "call for an appointment" or a statement similar. Is it ok to have on the site but just not create any listings for them?</SPAN>

In regard to the more general picture of things though, this is the first time we've seen a listing like this, particularly where the virtual office space has its own page and then Google then proceeds to list out the various businesses that are renting out space there. Have you heard anything through the Google grapevine about whether or not virtual offices are being given the thumbs up?</SPAN>
Thanks!</SPAN>
 

Linda Buquet

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Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,438
I've heard specifically from Google that listings AT a virtual office are not allowed. But the Office Complex/Executive Suite itself would be allowed to have a listing, as long as it's a staffed walk-in office.

This looks like executive suites that have actual offices as well as virtual. PC Executive Services Inc.

I have seen other office complexes and malls that have numerous businesses inside and have links to all the listings like that. So that's common for office buildings. And this IS an office complex - likely with some real tenants. They just happen to also offer virtual offices.

As far as the attorney example, yes he could list the office on the site if it's for the convenience of customers. But could not have a Google local listing unless it's staffed with attorney present. Just the executive suite receptionist would not cut it and by appointment only locations are not allowed either.

That's my understanding after working on several cases and discussing with Google in a few different scenarios anyway.
 

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