It’s important to remember that Google has rather strict guidelines regarding the types of businesses that are allowed to display their full street address on Google Maps.
Do you visit customers at their location, or do they come to you? Do you operate out of your home or an apartment complex?
If your answer to either of these questions is “yes,” then your listing probably needs to have its address hidden. Instead, you’ll need to use a service area to let customers know where in your region you’re willing to travel.
Service Area Businesses
A note about service area businesses and Google guidelines:
Service-area businesses, as per Google’s policies, cannot use a“virtual” office or another workaround — like a PO box or storage unit — to try to circumvent this rule and display an address at the same time.
A representative of your business must staff your business location during your regular operating hours and be able to receive clients to qualify as an acceptable location.
Violating these rules will lead to your listing being suspended, meaning that nobody will be able to find it!
How to Hide Your Address
Hiding your address on Google Maps and Google My Business (GMB) is simple. First, you need to sign-up (if you haven’t already). To keep your listing up and available, then, you’ll need to hide your address.
- Log into Google My Business account
- Go to your listing’s information
- Clear your business address from the profile.
- Enter your service area
Make sure that you have an accurate service area entered to replace your address. If you don’t, Google will automatically supply one that covers the entirety of the United States. Unless you’re willing to travel almost anywhere in North America, you’ll want to make sure you’re more specific about the locations you serve. Google may flag listings with service areas that go beyond a more local radius.
Why Does Google Need my Address?
Google aims to provide excellent user experience by displaying accurate and up to date information on your listing as well as their other services. Apart from the information you provide, Google relies on other sources such as your website, and what others say about your business. These sources enable them to provide customers with as complete and up to date information as possible. The address you use to describe your business location is one of the essential pieces of information that Google will require when it comes to your Google My Business listing. A precise address that gives information about your business will help customers to locate you on Google Maps and Search accurately. Generally, only businesses that have a physical location that customers can visit or travel to visit customers at their locations can create listings on Google My Business.
You will have to enter a business address that Google can locate to verify your business. For the address listing to be displayed accurately, it has to follow the address guidelines laid down by Google. You must be sure to include the complete and exact street address for your business location, enter building numbers, floors and suite numbers. While doing this, you should include only the information that is part of your official address. If your business rents a temporary, virtual office in a location that is different from your primary address, you should not create a page for that location. Regardless of whether you are using a single account or multiple accounts, you should avoid creating a page for each location of your business. In case your business address does not have a street number or the system cannot find the correct address you have entered, you should pin this location directly on the map.
Businesses that visit customers at their locations, commonly known as service-area businesses, should have one page for their central office and designated service area. Such businesses cannot list a virtual office if the office is not staffed during business hours. There are also hybrid service-area businesses, which have a storefront address from where they serve customers and a designated service area. For these types of businesses, the location they provide should be staffed and able to receive customers during the stated business hours. Google will then use different sources of information and determine how best to display your business address.
What do I Need to do to Hide my Address?
Google does not like to mislead users in any way. Since confusion in address listings can contribute to distrust of Google’s services, the company has stringent guidelines when it comes to listing business addresses. Today, Google holds business owners accountable for their listed business address. As such, business owners must provide a genuine physical location on their Google My Business account. It should be a location that is a true reflection of where the business exists. In case a potential client visits the location displayed on your listing, and your business does not have a physical presence there, Google may penalize your business. To avoid being banned by Google and protect your listing from losing ranking, you should consider hiding your business address on Google Maps.
One of the reasons why Google has strict guidelines on address listings is to prevent scammers from creating numerous fake listings that will eventually make it difficult for legitimate businesses to rank on local searches. Be that as it may, the various businesses that operate today are different in many ways. When it comes to small businesses, a good number do not meet the requirements for creating listings on Google My Business. However, such businesses still need to take advantage of the opportunities associated with local SEO. Since Google verifies that all GMB listings are linked to physical addresses, and the business addresses are real, such entities can choose to hide their address to enjoy increased online visibility. If you operate a home-based business, operate your business online, have a virtual office or do not operate a brick-and-mortar storefront, you may need to hide your address. During the process of hiding your address, you can conceal your street address and choose to list your service areas instead.
If you run a home business and you provide services to clients at their address, you will not want to show your address in the search results. Simply sign-in to Google My Business and select the specific listing you would like to manage. At the top of the page, click on “Info” and then click on the “Address” section. A window will appear, with a box next to “I deliver goods and services to my customers at their location.” Select this box and enter your service area information. In case your business location is staffed and able to receive customers during the stated business hours, and you want your complete address to appear on Google, select the box next to “I serve customers at my business.” You should then click “Save” to effect the changes.
What Type of Businesses can Hide Their Address?
To minimize the risk of being penalized by Google, certain types of businesses can hide their address. Apart from understanding Google’s guidelines on address listings, you should know whether your business runs the risk of facing penalties if you do not hide your address. Here are the two main categories of businesses that should consider hiding their address.
Service Area Businesses
If you do not serve customers at your business address and instead visit or deliver to them at their locations, you can hide your business address. Service area businesses such as plumbers, cleaning services, locksmiths and house painting businesses may not have a physical address. If you operate such a business, you should leave the address field blank and enter only your service area. This information will let customers know the area you cover in terms of visiting or delivering to them.
Hybrid Service Area Businesses
These are businesses that serve customers at their central location while at the same time visiting or delivering to them. Examples include restaurants and retail stores that also deliver products to customers. If you operate this type of business, you should enter your address as well as your service area.
To make the most of Google My Business and ensure you enjoy increased online visibility within local searches, you should understand what this Google service offers. Business owners can verify a pure services listing, edit a service area and remove a service area. Editing helps to keep business information accurate across different platforms, effectively enhancing the credibility of your business.
Have Questions? We Have Answers!
So, that’s all there is to it. Remember to follow Google’s rules and your service area business listing will continue to appear on Google Maps without an address. If you have further questions regarding Google Maps and GMB, please contact BizIQ today!