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I have a client that is a service-based business so his business location is his house (he's a painter). He doesn't want to use his home address anywhere for privacy reasons. Right now on his website we just have the city, state and zip of his home address listed to try to have some consistency in the NAP (we have some citations with his home address but the address is hidden).

He now INSISTS on having his mailing address, which is a mailing address from UPS that he's had for years, on his website (in the footer and the contact page).

What would the potential issue be if I used the UPS mailing address on his website and all citations and just used his home address (with the address hidden) on Google? I know every local SEO person under the sun would scream, "You can't do that. The NAP isn't consistent, etc." but here is my thought...

He has about 20 citations already and they all have his UPS mailing address. His website has had his UPS mailing address on it as well for years. If we only use his home address for his GMB page and hide it, I don't think it will matter. At the end of the day I have to believe that Google uses the address in their system above any "signals" out there including consistent NAP issues. I don't think Google cares what you have on your website or on citation sources. Google is going to use what you give Google period in terms of when and where you'll rank for local search terms. Am I way off base on this???

If I am, how do I resolve this as the client and I are butting heads on this issue. I keep harping "NAP consistency issues" and he keeps saying it can't be that big of a deal - put my mailing address as my business address on my website!

Travis
 

Colan Nielsen

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Hey Travis,

It's hard to say how big of an impact this will have from a NAP consistency/ranking perspective. If every citation lists a different address compared to the GMB verification address I imagine it will have some lowering of trust signals but not to the same degree that it would five years ago.

What I see as a more modern issue here is that GMB support will often compare the NAP info in your GMB to the website and if they see inconsistencies they tend to not help with things like reinstatements if you were to get suspended, for instance.
 
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@Colan - Good points to consider. If this was your client, how would you handle it? He insists on having his "official business/mailing address" on his website, which is the UPS mailing address. I'm just not sure how to proceed with this.

On a broader point, I still can't believe Google hasn't figured out a way to serve SAB's better. They have got to understand that most of these businesses operate out of their home and they don't use their home address. They use P.O. Boxes, UPS mailing addresses, virtual offices, etc. primarily for privacy concerns. A billion dollar company can't figure out how to make this work? It's ridiculous. If a SAB uses a UPS mailing address as their business address what business is it of Google's? I swear Google drives me insane. Rant over.
 

Colan Nielsen

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Good points to consider. If this was your client, how would you handle it? He insists on having his "official business/mailing address" on his website, which is the UPS mailing address. I'm just not sure how to proceed with this.

I would just explain the risks, let it be, and move on.
 

JoshuaMackens

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I think the citations and website are two different things.

Google may not expect to see the address for an SAB on the website necessarily. So you may be able to get away with it since Google may not be looking for it in the first place. But you may not. That's the tricky part.

The citations though, I think are a different story. They are looking for the address there more than likely. Or more accurately, maybe they aren't for an SAB but then when you do provide one, they try to match the address then at that point.

Is he opposed to having citations that don't show the address? If not, I would do that and just let him keep the address on the website if he wants it that bad.

I would also tell him that if there is a drop in ranking, that would be my first diagnosis: remove the website. I would tell him I'm fine with it, here are the risks, and if something happens, I'll remind you that I said not to do this. Say it nicer of course but typically, that's when they start to remember, "Oh yeah, this dude is the expert, what am I doing?" And the ambiguity of not knowing if the ranking will drop or not puts a lot of uncertainty in there for them as well.

From the information you've given us I think it's silly he's not trusting the expert he hired.

Good luck!
 

chadkimball

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Curious what you ended up doing, and if you saw any ranking impact. I have a client who has a postcard verified GMB at one address, and ALL citations consistently pointing to a different address.
 

JoshuaMackens

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Yes, you could make the address an image I imagine. Creative route!
 
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For now I have added the UPS mailing address as an image. Thanks for the reminder, @Brian. I did that for a client a long time ago and completely forgot about it.

Fortunately, the client was o.k. just having the "image address" on the contact page. He didn't insist we put it in the footer or anything...which wouldn't have been a big deal if he did since I would have just added it as an image there as well.

I still wonder, however, what would happen if you used a UPS mailing address on your website and all citations sources EXCEPT Google (on Google using your home address and hiding it) for those SAB's that insist on hiding their home address across the internet but want to maximize their citation exposure.

Travis
 

JoshuaMackens

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For now I have added the UPS mailing address as an image. Thanks for the reminder, @Brian. I did that for a client a long time ago and completely forgot about it.

Fortunately, the client was o.k. just having the "image address" on the contact page. He didn't insist we put it in the footer or anything...which wouldn't have been a big deal if he did since I would have just added it as an image there as well.

I still wonder, however, what would happen if you used a UPS mailing address on your website and all citations sources EXCEPT Google (on Google using your home address and hiding it) for those SAB's that insist on hiding their home address across the internet but want to maximize their citation exposure.

Travis

My guess is it would cause a ranking issue. Guess is emphasized.
 
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