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I thought ALL service based businesses had to automatically hide their address. I did a search for "Minneapolis plumbers" and every plumber in the 7 pack has their full addresses showing. How does that work? My understanding of this rule was that if you serve customers at their home, you have to hide the address - period. What am I missing?

Travis Van Slooten
 

Colan Nielsen

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Hey Travis,

The key word here is "supposed" to hide the address.

It's still clearly stated in the quality guidelines, although I don't think Google is as vigilante with deleting listings that don't abide by the rules as they were last year. Rather, I have heard of a few cases where Google is simply automatically hiding addresses if they think it should be hidden.

Businesses that operate in a service area should create one listing for the central office or location and designate service areas. If you wish to display your complete business address while setting your service area(s), your business location should be staffed and able to receive customers during its stated hours. Google will determine how best to display your business address based on your inputs as well as inputs from other sources
 
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Thanks Colan. I'm still confused. In 2012 we were told that if you are a service-based business you must hide your address or your listing will get penalized. I remember Mike, Linda, Miriam and others writing about it last year.

It appears that penalty is no longer an issue. According to Google's guidelines, it sounds like Google will decide for you:confused:

I just ran that same search for "minneapolis plumbers" and there were only 2 listings out of 40 that had a hidden address. Now you know most plumbers work out of their home so there is no way there are 38 plumbers who have offices that are staffed with people. After seeing this, it makes me believe you don't have to hide your address.

What do you do when working with plumbers and the like? Do you automatically hide their address like I do, or do you sometimes display the address?

Travis Van Slooten
 

Colan Nielsen

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Thanks Colan. I'm still confused. In 2012 we were told that if you are a service-based business you must hide your address or your listing will get penalized. I remember Mike, Linda, Miriam and others writing about it last year.

It appears that penalty is no longer an issue. According to Google's guidelines, it sounds like Google will decide for you:confused:

I just ran that same search for "minneapolis plumbers" and there were only 2 listings out of 40 that had a hidden address. Now you know most plumbers work out of their home so there is no way there are 38 plumbers who have offices that are staffed with people. After seeing this, it makes me believe you don't have to hide your address.

What do you do when working with plumbers and the like? Do you automatically hide their address like I do, or do you sometimes display the address?

Travis Van Slooten

Yes, the guideline still stands. Same as last year, nothing has changed. Although Google has re-worded the guideline, they will still penalize pages for not abiding by them.

The guideline should still always be followed. However, whereas before, even if you did have a storefront, but you are an SAB, you would still hide your address just to be on the safeside. My opinion now, is that it is safer than it used to be to not hide your address if you are an SAB who has a storefront where you meet face-to-face with customers.

However, if going down that route, I would make it VERY clear that your business does indeed have a store front where customers can come to you. Include photos on the G+ Local page and your website that make this clear to potential reviewers from Google and the like.
 

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Travis, it' still a guideline and it's still important and you should still hide address.

I think the problem you are seeing is that 98% of businesses don't even know about that rule and don't read the guidelines. Google never notified any businesses and only a tiny % of them read the G forum, so most simply don't know. So that's why you see so many plumbers with address showing.
 
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Linda:

Ya that makes sense too. I was just under the impression that Google was hardcore about the rule and that if you violated it, you would be penalized (i.e. your listing wouldn't show up). Obviously that is not the case.

Travis Van Slooten
 

Linda Buquet

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They WERE deleting listings and tons of listings were down for months.

That was not fair since they NEVER notified business owners of the guideline. Never gave a warning, just deleted.

So after months of complaining, they finally stopped deleting listings. But it's still a violation and I think some map maker volunteers are still deleting listings possibly. So there is still risk.
 
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O.K. cool. So I haven't lost my mind. I knew Google was going ballistic on these at one time so when I saw all these full addresses I thought maybe my memory was clouded:confused: Good to hear Google hasn't changed their ways. Sounds like they continue to change their minds on a monthly basis!

Travis Van Slooten
 
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Travis:

Man I wish I knew what Google was thinking. Nothing bothers me more than when I see a site ranking above my client and it breaks every Google rule there is. And then you tell this to your client and they are like "Well why are they doing it" you're left feeling stupid.

We hid an address from a client and they dropped off the map, we then put it back and they showed back in spot A. It's frustrating as all hell.

Another instance that just happend, we took a client with a new domain, worked it hard for 4 months, did everything right in a very competitive market. He was rising slowly but not page 1. He cancelled for a company that guaranteed him page one. They delivered. Page 1 Number 1 in like a week. We looked at the link profile and they sent several 1000 links to his site from BS sites, blog rolls and over seas junk. When we searched the sites, he was not on any of them, it's like they added the link and then took him off. But he's locked at 1. It's everything Google says it bad but it worked. WHY!!!!!!

Dean
 

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It's very frustrating, and there is absolutely no recourse. All we can do as White Hat SEO's is follow the rules and try to win in other ways. What I think is the most infuriating part is that the folks following the rules don't ever seem to get a boost in ranking or an "atta boy" from Google. But those who don't follow the rules just plow ahead with no clue they are even violating guidelines.
 
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