Scott Barnett

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I was speaking with some local business owners tonight and mentioned that they should use a physical street address for Google My Business. Of course, a few of the home based businesses brought up privacy/security concerns with this and would prefer to use another address. We went through the usual suspects (UPS Store, Regus Shared Office, etc), and one of the people worked for a local Chamber of Commerce and asked if *their* address could be used. My gut instinct is that Google will treat them the same as a UPS Store or a Regus that you are paying for but don't ever use - but I didn't have hard data to support that gut feeling.

Does anybody have definitive info on using (if they are a member) the address of their Chamber of Commerce as their business address for GMB? Thanks in advance.
 

Phil Rozek

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Scott, your suspicions are correct: that's totally not acceptable. Google wants businesses to use addresses that they control (own or rent).

Those Chamber members should simply hide their addresses on the zillion sites that allow them to do so. If they're still not comfortable with that then they should skip local listings altogether and focus on organic visibility.
 
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Ashwin

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I second Phil. The actual intent behind Google wanting you to add addresses is for driving directions - so, unless you have a physical storefront or office in an address, Google will treat it the same way it does a UPS store or PO Box.
 

Scott Barnett

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Thanks Phil. I said pretty much the same thing you did (nearly word for word!) - you are a great influence ;-)

The only issue is not every listing allows you to "hide" your home address from public view, it's nearly impossible from preventing it from coming public. But at the same time, you don't hear too much about negative implications of home-based businesses exposing their home address. At the end of the day it's not perfect (I do understand the privacy concerns, and we are so much more of a service-based and freelance economy than ever so the concept of an "office" is become quaint), but it's the best we got.

@Ashwin - I certainly understand the intent (I actually think the increase of "near me" searches is a bigger reason than driving directions). And I do think (for the most part) it makes sense. But if I own a business and don't see customers at my house, why do I need to expose that information publicly? This is where a "standard" would make sense - if a business owner could know for sure they are sharing the information but it would never be made public, that would help.
 

Phil Rozek

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@Scott

Yeah, I agree. Not only have I never heard of a home-based business owner running into problems with people showing up at the door, but I also think that absolute privacy for any business owner is a wild goose chase. Someone who's determined to find your address will find it regardless of what you do with your local listings.
 
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