More threads by Larry Linson

Larry Linson

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I posted previously this AM on this issue, in the wrong place, and I think with a poorly-posed question. So I apologize in advance to those that responded to this question - not trying to shop the issue, just think I did not adequately formulate the question.

The question is this: does Google "penalize" a GBP address, and/or an address in other citations, that is a Private Mailbox. - a "PMB"? I am not talking about a P.O. Box - I know Google does not like those. This address is a physical address but includes a PMB.

This is a co-sharing/virtual office type of arrangement. The office has asked me to complete a USPS Form 1583 that authorizes this office to be a Commercial Mail Receiving Agency (CMRA) for me. The address I would have on this form includes a "PMB" number to be assigned to me.

In reviewing the Google guidelines I did not find any specific mention of PMBs. I do note a couple of issues:

* Google requires adequate signage. It is not clear to me if they want ME to have a sign, in which case of course I don't. Does a "leader board" suffice?
* Google states that a person or their representative needs to be available at all hours of operation. I am a one man show and I do not intend to be in this office all the time. Rather, I intend to meet with client in this office space by appointment. Seems kind of silly: I could out of the office at any moment someone comes my without an appointment whether a own, lease or do the co-share.

I guess I am kind of surprised there is not more information about this issue out there. Maybe I have missed it. We have a whole new world of co-sharing and virtual offices. By my reading to do so risks one's placement in the 3-pack, which for me has been crucial to my business. But I will save a ton of money in using this co-share arrangement rather than signing a lease.

Is doing the SAB in GBP an answer?
 

Professor M

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Po Box, PMB, Mailbox, Virtual Office area no from Google perspective. Even coworking has specific rules.
Yes, you need to have signage.
Even using that address as a SAB you risk getting a suspension quite easily.
Why not a SAB and use your home as a verification address? or get a proper office?
 

keyserholiday

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I hav
I posted previously this AM on this issue, in the wrong place, and I think with a poorly-posed question. So I apologize in advance to those that responded to this question - not trying to shop the issue, just think I did not adequately formulate the question.

The question is this: does Google "penalize" a GBP address, and/or an address in other citations, that is a Private Mailbox. - a "PMB"? I am not talking about a P.O. Box - I know Google does not like those. This address is a physical address but includes a PMB.

This is a co-sharing/virtual office type of arrangement. The office has asked me to complete a USPS Form 1583 that authorizes this office to be a Commercial Mail Receiving Agency (CMRA) for me. The address I would have on this form includes a "PMB" number to be assigned to me.

In reviewing the Google guidelines I did not find any specific mention of PMBs. I do note a couple of issues:

* Google requires adequate signage. It is not clear to me if they want ME to have a sign, in which case of course I don't. Does a "leader board" suffice?
* Google states that a person or their representative needs to be available at all hours of operation. I am a one man show and I do not intend to be in this office all the time. Rather, I intend to meet with client in this office space by appointment. Seems kind of silly: I could out of the office at any moment someone comes my without an appointment whether a own, lease or do the co-share.

I guess I am kind of surprised there is not more information about this issue out there. Maybe I have missed it. We have a whole new world of co-sharing and virtual offices. By my reading to do so risks one's placement in the 3-pack, which for me has been crucial to my business. But I will save a ton of money in using this co-share arrangement rather than signing a lease.

Is doing the SAB in GBP an answer?
I ansse
I posted previously this AM on this issue, in the wrong place, and I think with a poorly-posed question. So I apologize in advance to those that responded to this question - not trying to shop the issue, just think I did not adequately formulate the question.

The question is this: does Google "penalize" a GBP address, and/or an address in other citations, that is a Private Mailbox. - a "PMB"? I am not talking about a P.O. Box - I know Google does not like those. This address is a physical address but includes a PMB.

This is a co-sharing/virtual office type of arrangement. The office has asked me to complete a USPS Form 1583 that authorizes this office to be a Commercial Mail Receiving Agency (CMRA) for me. The address I would have on this form includes a "PMB" number to be assigned to me.

In reviewing the Google guidelines I did not find any specific mention of PMBs. I do note a couple of issues:

* Google requires adequate signage. It is not clear to me if they want ME to have a sign, in which case of course I don't. Does a "leader board" suffice?
* Google states that a person or their representative needs to be available at all hours of operation. I am a one man show and I do not intend to be in this office all the time. Rather, I intend to meet with client in this office space by appointment. Seems kind of silly: I could out of the office at any moment someone comes my without an appointment whether a own, lease or do the co-share.

I guess I am kind of surprised there is not more information about this issue out there. Maybe I have missed it. We have a whole new world of co-sharing and virtual offices. By my reading to do so risks one's placement in the 3-pack, which for me has been crucial to my business. But I will save a ton of money in using this co-share arrangement rather than signing a lease.

Is doing the SAB in GBP an answer?
I answered your original question and the answer is still the same. You can’t do it. What you are wanting to do violates the TOS for want is spelled out being an eligible business profile.
 

Tony Wang

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Bottom line: if staying in the 3 pack is critical for you, then it should be worthwhile to lease your own private office space. Or as Prof M said, use your home address and hide it.
 

Larry Linson

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This is concerning. I paid for an hour consult with a Google Small Business Advisor who said that converting to a SAB with the new address that has an PMB would not have negative effect on 3 pack ranking.
 

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This is concerning. I paid for an hour consult with a Google Small Business Advisor who said that converting to a SAB with the new address that has an PMB would not have negative effect on 3 pack ranking.

That is correct, it won't have a negative impact on map pack rankings. The issue is, it violates the TOS. You have to be psychically present at the address you are using. If you rent an office space for an address you must have an actual office with signage, regardless if you show or hide the address. If you use your home address you have to hide it, unless you have permanent signage.
 

keyserholiday

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So if it violates TOS but does not effect map pack rankings what is the downside to violating TOS?

You are building a straw house in an area that sees frequent hurricanes. It won't last and will get knocked down. That is if the city inspector grants you a permit to build the house in the first place.
 

Larry Linson

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I understand if one wants to go without an office you can use your home address to verifiy with GBP, and hide the home address. I would like to know what the implications of this are. What does that mean for citations and NAP? I do NOT want to clients to find my home address and get unwelcome dropins.
 

keyserholiday

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You would need to elect not to show your address on those citations. You won't be able to use all citations as Apple Maps doesn't allow for hidden addresses, SABs to use their platform.
 

Larry Linson

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This just seems really dangerous to have your home address out there even if you have carefully hidden it on citations. Can't see how you would keep it private.
 

keyserholiday

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I am not sure what to say here. I and others have provided you with options on how to successfully set up your GBP. It's up to you to decide how you will proceed. This is your 3rd thread on the same topic.
 

Larry Linson

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Thank you Keyser for your comments and time. I really appreciate it. Just trying to weight the impact of the options. Would you agree that mixing my home address with my business - even if I hide - creates the risk that my home address gets out there?
 

Larry Linson

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I have posted before around this issue, and I received several answers, particularly from keyserholiday, and I am most grateful for the time and attention. I don't think I structured my question well, so I am going to try again, and hope it is not construed as asking the same question, which I don't think it is.

My business sounds like it will be moving to "hybrid". I am going from a office lease to a co-sharing arrangement. In this arrangement I have "hot desk" priviledges from 9 to 5, and pay a set fee for X days of conference room and private office. Client apppointments will be in the private office/conference room. My address at this office will include a PMB. My business name will be on the office ""board".

Clearly by the comments I have received I would be a SAB. As my listing is now under "Location and areas" I have the office address I had for 15 years, and left 2 months ago. It is a closed building that will be razed and replaced with an office tower. So far, no construction has started.

In my GBP I have under "Service area" areas around me - cities of towns - where I take clients.

The new co-share office is asking me to sign a usps form 1583, entitled "Application for Delivery of Mail Through Agent". This form states that I at the end of this agency agreement no one will file a change of address order with the postal service - something I find odd and a bit disconcerting.

It seems my address choices are as follows:

1. Change nothing mail wise and simply rely on the existing change of address order for the next year. In other words, go to the co-sharing office and simply not take advantage of this mail address. I realize this is a bad solution long term, as I essentially have an incorrect address on GBP. It would mainly be to test this co-sharing arrangment out. I may find out I prefer a dedicated office arrangement.

2. Change my GBP address to my home address, and then hide it, again ignoring the mail service at the co-share office. My concern there: what happens with citations? Do I have to change them al to the home address and then hide them? Seems to be a big, big risk of home address "leaking out" - which I definitely do not want.

3. Change GBP and all addresses to the new address at the co-share. Does this then automatically change me to a SAB? I don't see I way on the profile edit to make that change. Does deleting existing address do that? So does that mean being an SAB mean you don't show your address? I do want that - after all, I am going to be meeting with clients there.

4. Get another lease. From what I can see in other comments, that's is what many are saying - that it is just not worth it to do the hybrid thing. But the money saving is significant. I have found through the pandemic shut down that no clients complained about the lack of face time. It feels very odd and intrusive that Google wants to dicate what they think is good customer service.

Other concerns:

If I try this out will it have a negative impact beyond the google 3 pack? If it doesn't work out, and I return to a physical office in the next years or so, does it hurt me?

Thanks in advance for any help.
 

JeffClevelandTN

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Hi @Larry Linson, I thought I'd take a stab at this.

I've been reading your posts and I think this is the third post regarding essentially the same subject. I haven't contributed to the threads because as you've mentioned in this specific post, you've been getting very good advice from experienced forum members, including GBP experts like @keyserholiday.

I believe you've previously explained your situation pretty well and that the respondents have likewise understood your challenges. However, you are essentially trying to force a square peg into a round hole...

While a co-working/virtual space may work very well for you, the disadvantage is that Google typically frowns upon them for GBPs. Everyone who has replied to your previous posts have said this.

It feels very odd and intrusive that Google wants to dicate what they think is good customer service.

That is just it, Google can and does dictate what they think is most appropriate, it is their product and unfortunately you are not going to change their policy.

It is the world we live in: a few bad people make life harder for the rest of us. People took advantage of co-working and virtual spaces and before that UPS Mailboxes, to fake having a physical presence in cities that they actually didn't do "real" business. Google figured this out and the end result is that they require additional requirements for everybody.

The new co-share office is asking me to sign a usps form 1583, entitled "Application for Delivery of Mail Through Agent". This form states that I at the end of this agency agreement no one will file a change of address order with the postal service - something I find odd and a bit disconcerting.

The reason for this, is because the space you are using is not your individual space, it is a single business address in the eyes of the postal service and also Google. The PMB is literally no different than a piece of mail addressed with "C/O Larry Linson", it just makes it easier for the office space to sort mail to the individual businesses there. Think about it as being the same as mail being sent to a private residence, with several people living there: same address for everyone. The co-share office doesn't want anybody else doing a change of address, because it can impact the mail delivery for everybody using the office, because again, it is just one big office not separate offices or individual suites. If this was truly a multi-tenant office building with separate mailing addresses, USPS would install and maintain a set of individual mailboxes that you have to physically go to the post office and register to get your key in order to receive mail there. That way when a business moves or relocates, only that business' mail is affected with the Change Of Address because it is seen as a unique address by the USPS.

I'm unsure if anybody linked to this article, but it is probably the best summary of what everybody has been sharing: Are Coworking Spaces Against the Google My Business Guidelines? - Sterling Sky Inc

So, the bottom line is pretty much this: If you want to have all the same Google privileges of having a true leased office space while operating at a co-shared office, then you'll have to take the risk of changing your GBP address to the co-shared address (and keeping it visible) then possibly (very likely) get suspended or filtered by Google.

Why do you need to keep it visible? Because you can't have an SAB with a virtual office. Last sentence from that article: Virtual offices are still not allowed to be used for all business types including service area businesses.

Please don't take this the wrong way, but you're trying to have your cake and eat it too.
  • You want to save money by using a virtual/co-share space, but want the same "google" privileges as a true leased office.
  • You're concerned about the Change Of Address if you decide to move later, but that is because you are at a virtual/co-shared space.
  • You're concerned about citation quality and the resulting local/SERP impact if you were to switch to an SAB using your home address (because you are at a virtual/co-shared space) but don't want the risk of people finding your home address.
In regards to your last question: If I try this out will it have a negative impact beyond the google 3 pack? If it doesn't work out, and I return to a physical office in the next years or so, does it hurt me?

I don't think anybody can answer this quantitatively, but here is another great article Sterling Sky article that essentially says "maybe": Does Moving Your Business Impact Rankings? [2 Case Studies] - Sterling Sky Inc

And if you do decide to move, one more article: Best Practices When Moving Your Business Location in GMB
 

Larry Linson

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Hi @Larry Linson, I thought I'd take a stab at this.

I've been reading your posts and I think this is the third post regarding essentially the same subject. I haven't contributed to the threads because as you've mentioned in this specific post, you've been getting very good advice from experienced forum members, including GBP experts like @keyserholiday.

I believe you've previously explained your situation pretty well and that the respondents have likewise understood your challenges. However, you are essentially trying to force a square peg into a round hole...

While a co-working/virtual space may work very well for you, the disadvantage is that Google typically frowns upon them for GBPs. Everyone who has replied to your previous posts have said this.



That is just it, Google can and does dictate what they think is most appropriate, it is their product and unfortunately you are not going to change their policy.

It is the world we live in: a few bad people make life harder for the rest of us. People took advantage of co-working and virtual spaces and before that UPS Mailboxes, to fake having a physical presence in cities that they actually didn't do "real" business. Google figured this out and the end result is that they require additional requirements for everybody.



The reason for this, is because the space you are using is not your individual space, it is a single business address in the eyes of the postal service and also Google. The PMB is literally no different than a piece of mail addressed with "C/O Larry Linson", it just makes it easier for the office space to sort mail to the individual businesses there. Think about it as being the same as mail being sent to a private residence, with several people living there: same address for everyone. The co-share office doesn't want anybody else doing a change of address, because it can impact the mail delivery for everybody using the office, because again, it is just one big office not separate offices or individual suites. If this was truly a multi-tenant office building with separate mailing addresses, USPS would install and maintain a set of individual mailboxes that you have to physically go to the post office and register to get your key in order to receive mail there. That way when a business moves or relocates, only that business' mail is affected with the Change Of Address because it is seen as a unique address by the USPS.

I'm unsure if anybody linked to this article, but it is probably the best summary of what everybody has been sharing: Are Coworking Spaces Against the Google My Business Guidelines? - Sterling Sky Inc

So, the bottom line is pretty much this: If you want to have all the same Google privileges of having a true leased office space while operating at a co-shared office, then you'll have to take the risk of changing your GBP address to the co-shared address (and keeping it visible) then possibly (very likely) get suspended or filtered by Google.

Why do you need to keep it visible? Because you can't have an SAB with a virtual office. Last sentence from that article: Virtual offices are still not allowed to be used for all business types including service area businesses.

Please don't take this the wrong way, but you're trying to have your cake and eat it too.
  • You want to save money by using a virtual/co-share space, but want the same "google" privileges as a true leased office.
  • You're concerned about the Change Of Address if you decide to move later, but that is because you are at a virtual/co-shared space.
  • You're concerned about citation quality and the resulting local/SERP impact if you were to switch to an SAB using your home address (because you are at a virtual/co-shared space) but don't want the risk of people finding your home address.
In regards to your last question: If I try this out will it have a negative impact beyond the google 3 pack? If it doesn't work out, and I return to a physical office in the next years or so, does it hurt me?

I don't think anybody can answer this quantitatively, but here is another great article Sterling Sky article that essentially says "maybe": Does Moving Your Business Impact Rankings? [2 Case Studies] - Sterling Sky Inc

And if you do decide to move, one more article: Best Practices When Moving Your Business Location in GMB
 

keyserholiday

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I have posted before around this issue, and I received several answers, particularly from keyserholiday, and I am most grateful for the time and attention. I don't think I structured my question well, so I am going to try again, and hope it is not construed as asking the same question, which I don't think it is.

My business sounds like it will be moving to "hybrid". I am going from a office lease to a co-sharing arrangement. In this arrangement I have "hot desk" priviledges from 9 to 5, and pay a set fee for X days of conference room and private office. Client apppointments will be in the private office/conference room. My address at this office will include a PMB. My business name will be on the office ""board".

Clearly by the comments I have received I would be a SAB. As my listing is now under "Location and areas" I have the office address I had for 15 years, and left 2 months ago. It is a closed building that will be razed and replaced with an office tower. So far, no construction has started.

In my GBP I have under "Service area" areas around me - cities of towns - where I take clients.

The new co-share office is asking me to sign a usps form 1583, entitled "Application for Delivery of Mail Through Agent". This form states that I at the end of this agency agreement no one will file a change of address order with the postal service - something I find odd and a bit disconcerting.

It seems my address choices are as follows:

1. Change nothing mail wise and simply rely on the existing change of address order for the next year. In other words, go to the co-sharing office and simply not take advantage of this mail address. I realize this is a bad solution long term, as I essentially have an incorrect address on GBP. It would mainly be to test this co-sharing arrangment out. I may find out I prefer a dedicated office arrangement.

2. Change my GBP address to my home address, and then hide it, again ignoring the mail service at the co-share office. My concern there: what happens with citations? Do I have to change them al to the home address and then hide them? Seems to be a big, big risk of home address "leaking out" - which I definitely do not want.

3. Change GBP and all addresses to the new address at the co-share. Does this then automatically change me to a SAB? I don't see I way on the profile edit to make that change. Does deleting existing address do that? So does that mean being an SAB mean you don't show your address? I do want that - after all, I am going to be meeting with clients there.

4. Get another lease. From what I can see in other comments, that's is what many are saying - that it is just not worth it to do the hybrid thing. But the money saving is significant. I have found through the pandemic shut down that no clients complained about the lack of face time. It feels very odd and intrusive that Google wants to dicate what they think is good customer service.

Other concerns:

If I try this out will it have a negative impact beyond the google 3 pack? If it doesn't work out, and I return to a physical office in the next years or so, does it hurt me?

Thanks in advance for any help.

It doesn't matter if you feel that you have asked the question properly. I am able to read between the lines to fully understand the majority of the situations and questions being asked. What you keep proposing is in direct violation of Google's TOS. You need to have a physical office with signage to use a coworking space. You can not use a desk or a conference room. You can't use this address or location for your GBP. You will get suspended with the proposed set up and your business profile won't be able to be reinstated. You do not need your address to be shown to rank in the map pack. If your home is in the area that you want to rank in, then use it and hide the address. if it is not, then get a real office where you can put up permanent signage on the door or next to it.
 

keyserholiday

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So it is possible as a SAB that I could rank better in the 3 pack? For areas listed or based upon the hidden address?

Service areas have zero impact on rankings. Rankings are based on where your business is located. Since I don't know your business information or market, it's impossible for me to advise you properly. If you have a well-executed SEO strategy in place, you should have zero issues ranking. Update your address in GBP and get citations and/or SEO services from @whitespark as you will need a professional company to assist you.
 

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