Virtual Offices/Home Address & Google Plus Local

khidma

Inactive
Joined
Oct 16, 2012
Messages
3
I am starting a limo & Town car business in Charlotte, NC.

I built a good website and i am familiar with how to promote it.

My issue is G+ Local, before i create a profile and start I need some help.

I don't have a business address, as I will pick customers from their address, I will be working from home.

My options:

Virtual Office:
there are many businesses with same address.

My Home Address: Google requires to hide the address. If I do, I don't think i will get higher ranking... as most my competitor show their address.Should I use my home address and select hide my address? would i rank higher same as if i have a physical address showing? or having home address and hide it will affect my ranking negatively.

Now, how about citations in other business directories? Do i need to put my home address in those in order to rank? how about putting the address in my site.

Please help
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,438
Hi khidma and welcome,

Google is very strict about location and for good reason. I would not use a virtual office as you could get suspended or deleted for that.

If your office is really in your home, then that's your REAL address. Hiding address is not supposed to affect ranking and does not from what I've seen. I've seen SERPs where the top 3 listings are all hidden and the lower listings are showing address.

As far as address on citations or your site, Google is still going to try to find matching citations to verify you are real and legit and she'll match to the address in dashboard I believe, enough though it's not visible on your G+L page.
 

khidma

Inactive
Joined
Oct 16, 2012
Messages
3
Thank you Linda,

To make sure I understand.

I need to use my home address, submit it in all business directories and my site. Create a Google + local with my home address and choose hide the address option.

If I am using all other factors correctly the ranking should be hurt by making my home address private.
 

khidma

Inactive
Joined
Oct 16, 2012
Messages
3
Thanks ladies for your help!

Would it affect the ranking in Google+ Local even If I hide my address in other directories? How google would know about my citations if the address is hidden in my site and other places?

 

Marie Ysais

Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2012
Messages
251
I use my home address and I hide my address in the Google+ dashboard. Hiding my address did not change my rankings at all. I had rankings before hiding my address and after hiding my address my rankings didn't change at all. Good luck with your new business!
 

Chase Billow

Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2012
Messages
47
I'll chime in and add a little to the virtual office comments. Where I live, there is a large office building that rents office space. They also offer virtual offices where you get some call and mail forwarding and your own suite address. A few local businesses use these and they rank well.

IMO, if you have a legitimate virtual office arrangement like this, there is no problem to use it. You can also operate with a clean conscience knowing you are not trying to trick or hide anything. It is a legitimate, modern office arrangement. That's my .02
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,438
I'll chime in and add a little to the virtual office comments. Where I live, there is a large office building that rents office space. They also offer virtual offices where you get some call and mail forwarding and your own suite address. A few local businesses use these and they rank well.

IMO, if you have a legitimate virtual office arrangement like this, there is no problem to use it. You can also operate with a clean conscience knowing you are not trying to trick or hide anything. It is a legitimate, modern office arrangement. That's my .02
Yes lots of listings still get away with virtual offices and rank but I think it's only a matter of time. (Kinda like Geo stuffed titles.) Technically it's a violation and I would caution against it. I've seen too many listings suspended or deleted and Google is getting better at detecting.

It's an acceptable business practice, no reason you can't do it for your own purposes, but a virtual office is not a viable business locations in Google's eyes for your local listing.
 

Chase Billow

Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2012
Messages
47
Were those listings getting suspended or deleted just because their business address happened to be a virtual office, though? And, if so, in those cases did they share a Suite #?

I just see a lot of people get into SERP trouble wondering what they did wrong (when a lot of times it's pretty obvious) and attributing it to something that may not necessarily be the cause.
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,438
Yep I agree Chase, sometimes it's something else and users attribute penalties to the wrong thing.

But the cases I have in mind were Attorneys with virtual offices with Suite #s and we have a couple MapMaker Regional Expert Reviewers that will tell you Google is shutting down virtual offices left and right and that mappers love to shut those down.

In the past couple weeks Jade brought it up too, but I'll be darned with everything in my head if I can remember where it was.

Can't find Jade's recent post but here's one from Flash, a Google RER and member here. This was posted at the G forum.

Virtual offices are definitely against the guidelines, you are to use your real location only.

Additionally, Places is just a feed into Maps. If a mapper is cleaning up your street and finds you aren't really there, you can be deleted from Map Maker.

AND WHERE DOES IT SAY THAT VIRTUAL OFFICE IS AGAINST GOOGLE GUIDELINES SHOW ME A LINK TO WHERE THAT IS SHOWS IT????????

GUIDELINES:

- Do not create a listing or place your pin marker at a location where the business does not physically exist. P.O. Boxes are not considered accurate physical locations.

That's the guideline. Google considers UPS boxes, other private mailboxes and most virtual offices the same. You may have a physical desk there, but most people use virtual offices as simply mail pick-up points, so those people have poisoned it for you.

Plus, like I said, you also will have the Map Maker guidelines eventually applied to you.
 

Flash

1
Joined
Jul 20, 2012
Messages
185
Virtual offices are definitely violations, just as much as private PO boxes. You may see people rank with them, but you will also find people ranking with PO boxes. The latter are also in violation, despite their ranking. When found, they are taken down (often along with everyone else at that address).

I think you were asking because you thought that having an address show would be beneficial. As others have said, it won't make a difference. But more importantly, you are in a service area business (SAB) that goes to the customer, and SABs are expected to hide their address whether they are using a home address or a commercial one.
 

Chase Billow

Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2012
Messages
47
Thanks very much Linda.

Now, in a case like my example where they lease both physical space and virtual offices, how could anyone (including Google) know which is a virtual and which is a physical?
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,438
So you are talking about one like Regis that offers both?
I'm not sure but have wondered that myself. Maybe Gregg knows?
 

Flash

1
Joined
Jul 20, 2012
Messages
185
Re: Virtual Offices/Home Address & Google Plus Local

Now, in a case like my example where they lease both physical space and virtual offices, how could anyone (including Google) know which is a virtual and which is a physical?
It's pretty easy to tell. Let's look at the possibilities.

Unit 350 is a virtual office company. It assigns it's clients suite numbers. So now you have a sub-suite of a suite... red flag.

You avoid the above by finding a virtual office will let you leave off the sub-suite; most won't but perhaps they will just for the verification (unlikely, because if that's your primary reason for using them, then you probably won't stick around for more than a month). Because they will do so, many others use it too. Now you have a bunch of businesses all with the same suite number. Red flag. Plus merges.

You get past both of those. One of your fellow user of the same virtual office has an issue and goes to either support or the forums. First thing a lot of us do is search the address and find it's a virtual office. Red flag... for every listing at that location.

You haven't suffered any of the above. A user of Map Maker or Ground Truth is editing your street. They use resources when they do so, such as lists of local virtual offices. They also see that multiple businesses are all in one suite. Red flag.

Someone that specializes in spam specifically looks up virtual offices and sees who all is using that as an address. Red flag.

Those are just a few of the methods. Basically, you will get caught. And as time goes on, Google has more and more time to create algorithms that do the above automatically. We've been seeing more and more spam seeking bots the past month.

---------- Post Merged at 10:23 PM ---------- Previous Post was at 10:17 PM ----------

So you are talking about one like Regis that offers both?
I took it to mean he meant an office tower that had legit companies in some suites and virtual offices in other suites.

In the case of virtual offices that offer both; that is what I meant in the quote from me you found above. Almost all their customers are completely virtual, most of the rest just show up for meetings (also a violation) and so if you are one of the few that spends 40 hours a week there, you're going to have your location poisoned by the others and will probably be assumed to be one of them.

In Map Maker, our big criteria for a business using a virtual office is that they must have a verifiable storefront. And don't forget, after you get set up by the automated system that is Places; you are then not only subject to checks by them, but also subject to Map Maker scrutinization.
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,438
Here's an attorney who has 1st hand experience getting locations closed down by Google that were virtual offices or that Google did not believe were full-time offices.

Google Location taken down. Disputed. Google thinks I don't have some locations but I do! Help!

I can tell you what we had to do since we first posted, this may help clear things up a bit. For Google to allow your business to appear on Google places, a person must be able to walk right in off the street during your posted business hours and receive your services. Having someone there that just answers phones or collects mail is not enough.

Furthermore, "by appointment only" doesn't guarantee a Google places listing and will most likely not get one. Also, if the address your have is already being used by another company (say the true owners and the post office doesn't have suits at that location, so it looks like they may have sold you the address to use), it's a violation. Any address that is tied to some type of virtual office (regus, da vinci, etc.,) or any other such means is in violation. And of course, renting an address is a violation.

I know Google is going to really start cracking down on their places section. Eliminating virtual offices, and challenging people's listings.

Their remedy, place your office up that you work out of and in the locations section in your google places account, set location to an entire state or x amount of miles around your address.

Google places is for local businesses, plain and simple. If they take you down, you can try talking with them, but don't argue. They are just trying to keep things fair. Move on and focus on writing good content and getting your website ranked.
Not from Google directly, just an opinion, but from an Atty that fought the battle and lost the war.
 
Joined
Sep 5, 2012
Messages
329
Here's an attorney who has 1st hand experience getting locations closed down by Google that were virtual offices or that Google did not believe were full-time offices.



Not from Google directly, just an opinion, but from an Atty that fought the battle and lost the war.
Well it looks like his experience/advice is in line with my advice on such Regus-like arraignments; have a physical presence there yourself or an employee of your business during the time you say you're there or you're SOL. Thanks for the first-hand account Linda!
 
Joined
Aug 8, 2012
Messages
131
ok - so i committed the BIG mistake a while back when i was just getting started and i even knew better :) did the virtual office/po box at the UPS store...thought i could "trick" google - lol - so what is the best way to correct this? Leave as is - i am ranking well - OR go ahead and change to my home address and hide and follow guidelines as stated in this thread?
 

Weekly Digest

Weekly Digest
Subscribe/Unsubscribe

Trending: Most Viewed

Promoted Posts

New advertising option: A review of your product or service posted by a Sterling Sky employee. This will also be shared on the Sterling Sky & LSF Twitter accounts, our Facebook group, LinkedIn, and both newsletters. More...

Local Search Forum


Google Product Exert

@LocalSearchLink

Join Our Facebook Group

Top