Fixing or removing erroneous citations for SAB with hidden address

Erim Foster

Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2013
Messages
14
Hi all,

I had a question about a situation with citations and a SAB with a hidden residential address in Google+. With all the recent Pigeon changes and Phil's post about potential residential address issues, I want to try to get the best take on this before I proceed. I couldn't find a post that covered this, so hopefully I'm not reposting.

Basically, the business covers about a half dozen local communities, and the residential address in Google+ is roughly in the center of those. The business owner doesn't want her residential address shown in citations, but there are quite a few older citations with an outdated address.

Clearly these ought to be fixed, but many of them are outside the main ones that will allow a hidden address, per Phil's post here:

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

I'm wondering, would my best bet be to try to delete the bad citations and fix the ones that will allow a hidden address? Or, is deleting citations without a replacement going to negatively impact citation flow, and am I better off leaving them alone.

I think the rest of the optimization I need to do is pretty straightforward, but I'm unsure how to handle citation clean up in this case.

Thanks.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
13,307
Hi Erim,

Sorry I don't specialize in citations, so don't have an answer for you...

But I did move this post. It was in SAB forum which was totally appropriate however I moved it to the citation forum because pros like Darren and Nyag from Whitespark monitor this forum and so I'm hoping you'll get more play/better advice over here.
 

Phil Rozek

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
1,557
Hey Erim,

My initial question is: how competitive is your client's market? If it's not air-conditioning companies in toasty old Houston (for example), you can probably nuke some citations and still rank fine.

That post of mine you cited is 2 years old, as you probably know. I did a follow-up post in April 2013. Even since then, even more sites have started allowing you to "hide" your address. That's been the trend. ExpressUpdate is the most notable one that doesn't (although they do ask if your business is home-based.)

It's worth having a discussion with your client about privacy. If she doesn't have an office address, her home address will show up online. It's just a question of degree. I've worked with over 200 clients - some concerned about privacy, most unconcerned. None of those people has ever told me that someone came a-knockin' unexpectedly.
 

Erim Foster

Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2013
Messages
14
Hey Phil,

Thanks a lot for your response. I don't think the market is all that competitive. Probably moderate, would be my guess.

I just talked to the client today and found out that both the addresses in question are actually out of date.

The earlier address (which doesn't match the hidden address in G+) is from a shared work space that she used to rent in the center of the city she wants to rank for. That's the address that shows in the erroneous citations I mentioned.

The current address in G+ is a residential address from a now former employee. She used that address in G+ because it's also in the center of town, and she actually lives in an outlying area that she doesn't service and where she doesn't want to rank at all.

But, my understanding is that with an SAB it's possible to rank in an area you don't live, and that the best approach is to define that central area in G+ (no zip code), and use a 20 mile radius. I think I read that in one of Linda's posts. The client currently has several service areas defined, but she doesn't rank in any of them. Part of my work is going to be to create local landing pages for each.

So, based on all that, I'm guessing the ideal scenario would be to update the hidden address in G+ to her home address, confirm that address again (I'm assuming she'd have to do this), and then update all citations to this new address, hiding the ones that are hide-able and just leaving the rest visible.

Does that seem like the best bet for ranking? I guess I should have mentioned that she already ranks #3 in a seven pack for her main keyword. We're just hoping to push her to the top and get some organic rankings in the other areas.
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
13,307
The current address in G+ is a residential address from a now former employee. She used that address in G+ because it's also in the center of town, and she actually lives in an outlying area that she doesn't service and where she doesn't want to rank at all.
Ya that's a violation. Even with address hidden the address in dash needs to be where the home office physically exists. Even if that employee still worked for her it's not allowed.


But, my understanding is that with an SAB it's possible to rank in an area you don't live, and that the best approach is to define that central area in G+ (no zip code), and use a 20 mile radius. I think I read that in one of Linda's posts. The client currently has several service areas defined, but she doesn't rank in any of them. Part of my work is going to be to create local landing pages for each.
Sorry, no that's not true and was misconstrued somehow.

Pre-pigeon you would normally only rank in the city in your address field REGARDLESS of how you set service area. Service area does not affect ranking whatsoever.

My post about 20 mile radius was only about where you map marker shows up if you have address hidden. If you set service area next town over it won't help you rank there. Had no effect at all.

Now POST Pigeon things are a little different in that more businesses are ranking in cities they are not located in. But service radius does not play a part in that either. It's just Pigeon is looking at different signals and doesn't pigeon hole your rankings in the city you are in, as much as the old algo did.
 

Erim Foster

Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2013
Messages
14
Thanks for the feedback, Linda. I figured the address was a violation, or at least a bad idea.

To be honest, I'm at a loss as to what to recommend she do. Her home address is her home office, but all her business takes place in the main town and surrounding areas. Virtual offices don't seem like a good idea, and she doesn't have the resources to rent a store front just to satisfy Google, although clearly that would solve the problem.

Bit of a sticky wicket, as they say...somewhere.

Thanks.
 

Eric Rohrback

Moderator
Joined
Oct 3, 2012
Messages
982
Being that a lot of traditional ranking influences (I'll call ranking factors "influences" since I can't say definitively) are relying on web search signals, I think you need to put more importance on the on-site changes over citations in this situation - just make sure the citations are consistent.

Phil had some good resources on the sites that don't require you to show an address, and i'm seeing more pop up with that feature every day. Most kind of follow in Google's wake when it comes to this stuff.

Don't use virtual offices just for the sake of ranking - that'll kill the business if it's found out. Use the home address, hide it, and set a service area in Google Maps.

As for the citations use the ones that will let you hide the address. Be aware in this situation that her home address may leak out. Phone companies and other entities sell data, which is bought by many directory sites. Make sure it's not a surprise when the client Google's their business and sees their address once or twice (hopefully you'll be able to get that cleaned up for them).
 

Erim Foster

Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2013
Messages
14
Thanks Eric. I guess the problem is the home address is actually outside her service area, so I'm afraid using that would prevent her from ranking where she actually does business. It would actually be misleading to use her home address in a sense, since she doesn't service that area. Unless I'm missing something.
 

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