Gordon.Ligon

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I had a chat with Ben Fisher last week about one of my Clients who runs a home services business. Their GMB is currently a SAB and based out of their home address in North north north north Houston. Ben and I discussed the possibility of getting the client to rent an office in the city proper, move the GMB, and display the address. I've seen it suggested (and Ben confirmed), that displaying the address has a significant ranking benefit.

My client has already invested in infrastructure at their home address. They have equipment, trucks, and a building on the property with full time office staff. They will not be interested in moving those operations deeper into the city where real estate is much more expensive and far less useful.

I want to push this option for my client, because I believe that we'll see positive ROI, but I'd like to know exactly "how much" office we need to qualify. Instead of bugging Ben about it again, I thought this might be a good opportunity to ask the question on LSF for more clear guidance so everyone can benefit.

So, put simply - How do we achieve Minimum Viable Office so that a SAB can most cost effectively obtain a listed address?

Our goals:
  • Be as compliant with Google's requirements for listing an address as possible
  • Minimize financial bloodletting associated with maintaining an otherwise useless office space
Here's what we know (and Google states) is not acceptable:
  • Virtual Offices (Regis, Shared desks, etc)
  • P.O. Boxes, UPS Stores, etc
Here's what Google says is required:
  • Clear Signage (ideally permanent)
  • The office must be staffed during business hours (Ouch!)
One of our competitors operates a listed address out of a business park that is not open to the public. That is to say, it is not a retail space, and people have to be "buzzed in" to get to the office. Is such a set up acceptable?

Please share your thoughts and experiences!

Thank you!
 

Phil Rozek

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@Gordon.Ligon, great question. My answer would be: it depends on the bar you're trying to clear. Several different standards come to mind:

1. Squeaky-clean: 100% in-line with Google's written and unwritten policies, and with no chance of ever being pulled from the map unless someone at Google presses the wrong button.

2. Pretty solid: not a spammy address, and one that's not likely to raise competitors' hackles and prompt them to submit Maps edits (the main concern here), but one that would take a little explaining if you had to describe it to a GMB support person.

3. Glass house: an address that's in a gray area, such that Google itself would probably not take issue with it, but that would raise competitors' hackles and probably compel them to submit edits. You're confident some competitors will drop a dime on you, but you're also betting that their edits wouldn't stick.
 

JoyHawkins

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One of our competitors operates a listed address out of a business park that is not open to the public. That is to say, it is not a retail space, and people have to be "buzzed in" to get to the office. Is such a set up acceptable?

If there was proper signage at the location, this would likely be okay. If you want to have the address visible on the listing then technically it wouldn't be allowed since can't can't pop in. I would just suggest going with a small space that allows you to work there but doesn't share an address with other businesses. Your take on the guidelines is spot on.
 

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