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Hello Everybody!
We've got another great thread going here about Hiding Your Address and Linda's very clear advice about this now being mandatory for certain types of local businesses.

I'd like to break the discussion off into a thread of its own about a specific type of scenario - the home based business.

Since the early days of Local, I've spoken with so many home-based business owners who had quite reasonable privacy concerns about listing their home address all over the web. Alternatively, they were concerned that the publication of their address would mislead customers into thinking they could stop by house as if it were a store. Now, for most of these businesses, hiding the address is mandatory, and Phil Rozek recently authored an amazing little piece on other top directories that allow you to hide your address: Can You Rank Well in Local Google without Revealing Your Street Address Anywhere? | LocalVisibilitySystem.com

What I'm wondering about is, if you are in the hide address category, and you are dedicated to keeping your address info off the public web, you would ostensibly determine that you will not list your address on the website. Optimizing footers, contact pages, etc, with complete NAP is one of the core tactics of on-page Local SEO. So, if you leave this off, I wonder what the effect would be on your ability to rank.

In sum:
You're listing yourself everywhere that lets you hide your address
But you're not optimizing your website for NAP

It's always been my theory that the NAP on the site is a strong trust signal. What do you think. Could a hide-address-type business model rank without this basic step of on-page Local SEO? Have you ranked yourself or a client well without publishing on-site NAP?

I'd love to hear about it!
 

Nick.SEOSpark

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This is a very interesting area, and I suppose it comes up with clients - there are certainly new clients recently (at home businesses) that state a preference to hide their address. However, I speak it's case and see how inconvenient it really is compared to a strong local ranking. In short, it's one of the factors that I use to see if we can work together.

Like I asked about in this scenario:

http://localsearchforum.catalystema...ions/653-best-solution-strategy-scenario.html

From that, you can see why some people would find it counterproductive to have their address listed. And in the case of my yoga teacher (see link above), it's a nessecary evil but actually could mislead users. Anyway, her main fear about having her home address was that it doesen't portray the location where the classes are (all over the city) and so would confuse users on first glance. However, I suppose you need to have some form of HQ for a business and if she doesen't own the gyms in question (where the classes take place), you can't use them anyway.

Regarding getting sites ranked while keeping the address off the home page, I'm not sure in all honesty, but it seems like it would make the job of the local SEO a lot more challenging.
 

Linda Buquet

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What I'm wondering about is, if you are in the hide address category, and you are dedicated to keeping your address info off the public web, you would ostensibly determine that you will not list your address on the website. Optimizing footers, contact pages, etc, with complete NAP is one of the core tactics of on-page Local SEO. So, if you leave this off, I wonder what the effect would be on your ability to rank.

In sum:
You're listing yourself everywhere that lets you hide your address
But you're not optimizing your website for NAP

It's always been my theory that the NAP on the site is a strong trust signal. What do you think. Could a hide-address-type business model rank without this basic step of on-page Local SEO? Have you ranked yourself or a client well without publishing on-site NAP?

Thanks for starting this thread Miriam and linking to Phil's post which is excellent.

I admit citations are NOT my strong suit and for a long time I have not focused ANY energy there and shifted all my energy to on-site SEO since blended rules and organic rules blended.

But that's largely your question - NAP on the site - which is on-site SEO.

I have not personally ever had to deal with this issue since I don't do on-site SEO for service area or home-based businesses SO take this with a grain of salt.

BUT but strong feeling is that as far as NAP goes name, phone and City are most important (city also important for keyword ranking), then last of all street address.

SO I think if I had a client in this situation (home address they did not want listed on the site and hidden address on G+ Local page) I would put NAP on every page in footer and on Contact us but just omit street address. Name, Phone, City, State (and maybe even Zip.)
 
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Thanks so much for the really thoughtful replies, Nick and Linda. Linda I think your theory would be worth testing. Next time I have a client in this situation, I will try it. Don't know when that will be. They could at least have some local info that way, if not all. Interesting suggestion.

Nick- your scenario of the yoga teacher is a perfect one, especially in that her classes are all over the place.

Hoop jumping to please the Google god a happy local business owner does not make :)
 
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