consultant

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Has anyone come to any firm conclusion is on how significant the effect of hiding versus not hiding the address on a listing on Google and/or Bing?

It would seem logical to me that when someone is searching via the Map, the engine would give less importance to the user's proximity for listings that do not have the address hidden. But how much preference? Or there no discernable difference?
 

jvaquino

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Why do you need to hide the address on Google?

Hiding an address is good for Service-Area-Businesses only. Hiding an address is supposedly an effective way to show up in local results in nearby areas.

I don?t know if it works. We?ve had problems in the past when we?ve managed multiple SABs. The location was visible, but when we wanted to modify the business info (which requires a postcard verification), we were getting an error and a statement that we couldn?t request the postcard. I think it?s mentioned here in the forum that it occurs to SABs only.

If I don't need to hide it, I prefer to keep my address showing.
 

helloworld

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I think the fact click to call is such a huge thing now there is less importance on address. Put yourself in the googlers seat. If you have a store front, then display it. If you don't then hide it. Plenty of listings without address are ranking well in local
 

Linda Buquet

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To hide or not hide is not really a choice IMO.

If you qualify to show your address then you should show it.
(Walk in office, staffed full-time. Preferably signage if an SAB).

So for example plumbers normally should have address hidden, BUT if they also had a walkin retail shop for buying parts, they should show address.

But if you don't qualify to show address and especially if a home business, you really need to hide address.

Hiding address has no impact on ranking. AND how wide you set your service area does not affect ranking either and won't help you rank in other cities.

The example I always use: "Plumber San Marcos Ca." The top 3 usually have hidden address and the lower ranking ones have address showing.
 

Dana Franks

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Thank you for answering that, Linda. Most of our clients are service area businesses and many have hidden addresses, and I have wondered about the effect it might have on Maps rankings. We're in the process of adding addresses to the site footers, whether their address is hidden on Google or not, and also doing schema markup. But if Google is not displaying the address it might not have much of an effect. It also complicates embedding a Google Map for the business since the address is not showing on their Google Maps listing.
 

Linda Buquet

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We're in the process of adding addresses to the site footers, whether their address is hidden on Google or not, and also doing schema markup. But if Google is not displaying the address it might not have much of an effect.

Even if address is hidden on G I still recommend adding address to site unless the client is super worried about privacy. WHY if address is hidden? Because Google still tries to match up NAP for citations and 3rd party reviews - based on the address that's in the dashboard. Make sense?
 

Dana Franks

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Definitely makes sense. Thanks! Doing everything I can find on our end to get our guys to the top of Maps.
 

Linda Buquet

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Dana, I heard a rumor that if you spin to the left 3 times in your office chair, while patting your head and rubbing your belly - the Google Gods will look down favorably upon you and sometimes give you a ranking boost. :)
 

DanLeibson

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In the last three years we have only seen one single case where changing the address from hidden to visible had an impact on ranking.

Funny, as I have seen the opposite often. Time to run a more controlled test I guess...
 

DanLeibson

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The little testing we have done the same business with a visible address regularly outperformed the same business with a hidden address, so that doesn't really surprise me.
 

consultant

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Interesting, so essentially there is no consensus on what the answer is to my question (yet).

There are some businesses that are office-share or home-based that the business may prefer to not have the address on the Google maps results for fear of someone showing up without an appointment, but on the other hand, these same businesses would take that risk if it helped their ranking. Hence the original question.

I think either you need to be a large local SEO firm that can analyze data from a well controlled experiment involving several businesses, or, experiment with a business that is in a faily uncompetetive niche (rarely new businesses coming in) in a smaller city where the local results rarely change in the first place but there's enough competitors to notice effects of local SEO actions to ranking changes.
 

consultant

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Funny, as I have seen the opposite often. Time to run a more controlled test I guess...

I think you have to get into the heads of the Google engineers on this one to try an educated guess. Ideally they probably would want to try to determine is the person looking for a place to go obtain a product or service, or just find a service provider.

So for example, if I were searching for anything with the word "store" in it, like lumber stores, then I would guess Google is smart enough to give preference to the listings that are not only the closest to the user (with best reviews and all the other stuff) but also that are not hiding their address. Why would a lumber store hide it's address?

On the flip side, if you are looking for a plumber, Google should be smart enough to not care whether the address is hidden or not.

Quite possibly in most circumstances even if it did matter if the address was hidden or not, the sum of all the other ranking factors might eclipse the importance of that one factor so much, it might be virtually impossible to really tell if it matters.
 
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