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I'm setting up a GMB for a Realtor and was going to use the office location, however I have been reading that it's better to set it up as a SAB and use their home address and hide it because too many realtors at the location will water down the results. Is this still the case? I'm a little conflicted about having them do a SAB because most realtors are showing an address in their listing.

Also, I am planning to put just the agent's name. I'm assuming that including Realtor after it is against the guidelines, even though they are licensed by the state, is this correct?

Thank you!
 

Phil Rozek

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@TriciaClements, based on what you describe, I'd use the office address. One reason is people expect to see that info, at least for a realtor. Also, to the extent some GMB pages get filtered by being in gen pop, Google still will know what the verification address was/is and will take it into account. So hiding the address won't prevent filtering.

You'd probably get away with sticking "Realtor" in the name, even if that's not part of the agent's other online and offline marketing. In terms of penalties, the worst that would happen is Google just removes it after a competitor does a "suggest an edit." For better or for worse. Of course, if that designation is consistent with the agent's other marketing or his/her official business name or both, then it's even more likely to stick and for good reason.
 

JoyHawkins

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This is going to be one of those super rare times that I actually disagree with Phil (sorry Phil!:cool:)

It's extremely hard to get realtor listings verified these days using the office address because they automatically get flagged and put into a pending status due to how many listings already exist at the address and category. If you bypass that hurdle, you are extremely likely to get filtered.

You'd probably get away with sticking "Realtor" in the name, even if that's not part of the agent's other online and offline marketing. In terms of penalties, the worst that would happen is Google just removes it after a competitor does a "suggest an edit." For better or for worse. Of course, if that designation is consistent with the agent's other marketing or his/her official business name or both, then it's even more likely to stick and for good reason.
Yep - agree 100% :)
 
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Interesting. Thanks Joy and Phil, I appreciate your insight on this.

I think I'm going to recommend she go with the SAB. She had someone previously try to get her listing live and they were unsuccessful, but that was primarily because they weren't doing it right. Sounds like doing it as a SAB will help get her live on the map faster which she will be happy with.
 

Phil Rozek

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@TriciaClements, that's great advice from @JoyHawkins, and the SAB will probably work out well for your client. A few other sidebar points I'd add - other parts of the trade-off to keep in mind:

1. The location of the home address may still have some influence on where your client ranks. If the office address is in the thick of things, and the home address is in the distant suburbs, that will probably influence what part of town (or which communities) you rank in. Even though the address is hidden.

2. Even if you're not filtered, you're still susceptible to Google's auto-updates (i.e. showing your address) and to competitors' "suggest an edit" edits. The "This place isn't open to the public" edit comes to mind.

3. Depending on how many other realtors are nearby, you may end up needing to do the same kind of difficult, long-term work that you'd need to do if you got filtered - like building up your reviews and links and general prominence.

So the SAB may be the least-bad option, but drags along certain risks and follow-up tasks - as is always the case.
 
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Thanks @Phil Rozek ! The SAB address isn't far from her office, so I think that will work out ok.

One question after reading this is your Google Auto-update note. I know that Google will occasionally make these, but the one that really concerns me is the "showing your address". This means that if you have a home address hidden that Google can go in and update it to reflect the address?

I've never heard this and it really concerns me. The owner is female and specifically does NOT want her address shown. When I went through the setup, I checked that clients are not seen at the address and to hide it.

I'm now concerned about this listing and others that have reasons they don't want their home address reflected on the Google Map - safety being at the top. For example, I know someone can find my home address, but I certainly don't want to make it that easy for them by having Google show it on the map.

Have you ever seen this happen @Phil Rozek @JoyHawkins ?
 
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Thanks @Phil Rozek Very interesting. I'm mostly concerned about Google showing a home address that was hidden by the business. Sounds like a privacy concern if they do that when you've specifically noted that you don't see customers there.
 
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I've had a whole other issue come up for this realtor. She got her code in - mailed to her home address as I recommended, but now she doesn't want me to input it to verify because of the problem on SABs showing street view of peoples homes on the Google Map (Creepy: Google Maps Street View Images For Service Area Home Businesses)

It's been over 10 days and Google hasn't rectified the issue. Which can be a real problem for some with privacy and personal safety. I know Google often isn't fast to make changes, but with the nature of this issue, I thought they would be more on the ball.

She's very concerned about privacy and security and now her code is expiring in a few days. Ugh!

Any recommendations other than wait for a fix and request a new code @JoyHawkins or @Phil Rozek ?

Thank you!
 

Phil Rozek

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@TriciaClements, my suggestion from up here in the cheap seats is: don't wait. Just get that page verified, and let Google sort out the Street View issue later (soon, we hope).

It's just enough of an issue Google may get more than one Dilbert on it.

In the meantime, the chances that there is (a) some privacy-related snafu caused by (b) the Street View bug are pretty small. It's not like people couldn't figure out where your client is anyway. Much more likely are more verification-related headaches and the lament of, "Why didn't we just take care of it when the code still worked?"
 
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I agree and it's what I would do if it were my choice, but after explaining how no one would probably see it and there may be a chance of it not showing on her listing - it's not happening across the board - she said 1000% - NO.

I can't go against her wishes, I can only inform her. I was hoping when I last spoke to her that I could convince her to let me verify it, but it was a no go.

Google was notified of the issue on 3/12 and it's still happening, so it's hard to tell them that it's such a security & privacy concern that Google will get resolved quickly.

on another note, I have another local non-profit that I was going to setup a GMB for too and when I asked for her home address and told her that there was the street view issue now, but no one would probably notice it, she put the breaks on it and said she didn't want a GMB.

Both of these business owners are single females living alone.

Thanks for your help @JoyHawkins and @Phil Rozek
 
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@JoyHawkins Extremely interesting from you:

"It's extremely hard to get realtor listings verified these days using the office address because they automatically get flagged and put into a pending status due to how many listings already exist at the address and category. If you bypass that hurdle, you are extremely likely to get filtered."

Do you consider this a temporary or longstanding/permanent issue with how Google is treating multi-practitioner listings? I would generally consider it very iffy to use a string of employees' homes for multi-practitioner listings, but with what you've described regarding Google flagging multi-practitioners at a single office, I'm wondering about best practices for this very common model now. Would love to hear more of your 2021-era thoughts on this.
 
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