'Virtual Office' Definition


Mich

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Hey Guys

I've read many different opinions and views on this so wanted to get it clear.

I run a service based business and have an office that I rent. It's a real, manned office - but 'virtual' in the sense that other people rent and share it. I meet clients there occasionally but generally work from home. I guess, from reading another thread on here, it's very similar to a service called 'Regus'.

I wanted to clarify if I'm potentially going to run into problems before I start to invest more time and energy on local SEO. I already have Google My Business set-up and everything working fine from this address and am starting to rank on local searches. I also have some local citations pointing to this.

However, I want to take it to the next level and start investing more time in this. Aside from the 'standard' question you guys hear (which is should I not risk this and just use my home address instead?) - my other questions would be:


  • If this address is a registered business address with the regulator who overseas my industry (it's a financial industry) - would that make a difference?
  • Any other options you can suggest in this scenario?

Thanks in advance!
 

Linda Buquet

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Hi Mich and welcome.

I'm sure you want answers to your specific situation, but this is really complicated and I can't type much right now.

But we've covered this issue a ton at the forum. Here are just the recent posts from the last year, via Google search. You could also dupe this search and replace virtual office with Regus and there may be others: https://www.google.com/search?q=sit...OJssgCFYk5PgodTVUKjQ&biw=1525&bih=625&dpr=0.9

All I can say right now is that it's risky and not advised, yet many do it that don't get caught. I can also say that the rule is your hours must reflect the hours you are actually at the location. So if you are only there 1 hour a day, that's the hours you can have on your listing. Does not matter if there is a shared receptionist there.

There are lots of variables to consider too as far as if using home address would be better but again there are lots of angles to this issue, so we'd need to ask some Qs and get more info.

Hopefully some of our pros will jump in tomorrow to offer more advice. Whatever you do - don't change anything until you are absolutely certain that's the way to go. Google is very unforgiving about address changes and it can mess you up for months. :(
 

Mich

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Hi Linda

Appreciate the response and also I've read a tonne of posts from you on other threads about this too, so you are passively helping me too :)! This forum is great, I'm going to be spending a lot of time here!

From my reading so far, I'm leaning towards changing my GMB address to my home address and then making the change on the limited citations I have before I start to get more aggressive. I also have been reading that this too (changing address) doesn't come with problems and people losing reviews (although these can be transferred later) but I believe this is the safest method. Can I change my address and just explain it by saying "I didn't realize virtual offices were not allowed under Google rules"? This is pretty much the honest truth...

My thinking is that the industries I am in (real estate based) are competitive and people like to report minor issues with websites to the regulatory body, so I don't see any way that there won't be people out there reporting you to Google if you use a virtual office and rank it...
 

Linda Buquet

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Hi Mich,

Have you see our <a href="http://www.localsearchforum.com/moving-name-changes/">Moving or Name Changes Forum</a>. Just be sure you are reading the latest ones on top because procedures have changed. Now you just edit in dashboard.

But the key is to be sure your address is right and then if you are mainly out seeing clients, you MUST do the settings right to set up a service area and hide your address. It's a violation if you don't hide address and if it's a residential address I strongly advise it.
Unless you have a big sign out front and are there all day to accept walk in clients.
 

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