More threads by Medicareexpert

Joined
Jun 29, 2023
Messages
14
Reaction score
4
Local Competitors Violating GBP Guidelines? Here's What You Can Do

I'm a health insurance agent and have a home office that clients sometimes visit. I also meet with them online and in their homes. Since I don't have permanent signage, Google told me I didn't qualify to use my home address in local search. Instead, Google told me to create a Service business profile. Now, my business does not show up on local search. My competitors use their home address and show up in local search. This is very upsetting since they are breaking the rules and getting away with it.

Sheri Bonelli, a Google My Business Gold Product Expert, wrote the above article, suggesting businesses fill out Suggest an Edit on Google Maps, Not Open to the Public. for competitors who are breaking the rules and running a Service business out of their home. It's eary to tell they are working out of their homes by searching for their address on Google Maps and Zooming in. I could see their home in a residential neighborhood. I followed her suggestions and submitted several edits, and in each case, Google denied my Edits. I'm wondering if I fill out the Business Redressal Form she recommends, will my information show up? Has anyone successfully tried this?
 
Solution
@Medicareexpert, to your earlier question / point about the guidelines, there are two separate issues: whether to use a home address, and (if you do) whether you hide it and instead set a service area on the GBP page.

In my experience, Google doesn't care whether you use your home address for an SAB, especially that's the only address you've got. Most of the time you won't run into issues if you create a GBP page that uses a home address, and neither will your competitors. (Proof of that is apparent every time you report a competitor's home-based SAB and Google ignores your request and keeps it on the map.

Now, if you splatter the map with GBP pages that use employees' or others' home addresses, just as a way to get more pins...
As pointed out by @Phil Rozek recently, you don't absolutely need the signage to be permanent, it just has to look permanent on the video. These are not quite the same thing!

Hi: I did my "Service Area" Google verification in my home over the phone with a Google Rep using Google Meet. He looked at my home office, business license, LLC paperwork from the State of Florida, computer program for enrollment and enrollment books. Then he requested I go into the garage, get in my car and tell him how many miles the car has. He also requested to look at my license plate and he tookd a picture. He then told me to wait 2-3 mintues and put me on hold. When he came back on the phone he told me I was verified, but only as a Service Area business. This doesn't work for me, all my competitors use their home address the business maps shows and my business does not come up in local search. Do you recommend I add my home address to my profile? f I do, I will be required to reverify. I can go outside the house and show my # on my mailbox but what type of "permanent signage" do I need to add?

Thank you.
 
A small wall plaque (like, the size of sheet of printer paper) on the outside of the building would be sufficient, long as it looks permanent. You can always remove it after if you don't want to do that sort of advertising or there's an HOA issue. A trophy shop can make you one fairly cheap, especially if you don't intend for it to stay in place.

Sadly I don't have a good example right at hand, though I've seen them in the past (those I can find on home offices at a quick search are far more ostentatious than what I mean...)

I see people using small-scale standing signage too (though putting something like on a temporary basis seems like a lot of work):
1691011838977.jpg


1691011909481.jpg
 
@Medicareexpert, to your earlier question / point about the guidelines, there are two separate issues: whether to use a home address, and (if you do) whether you hide it and instead set a service area on the GBP page.

In my experience, Google doesn't care whether you use your home address for an SAB, especially that's the only address you've got. Most of the time you won't run into issues if you create a GBP page that uses a home address, and neither will your competitors. (Proof of that is apparent every time you report a competitor's home-based SAB and Google ignores your request and keeps it on the map.

Now, if you splatter the map with GBP pages that use employees' or others' home addresses, just as a way to get more pins on the map, then you'll probably run into problems. (And if your competitors do it then their pages will be much more susceptible to your "suggest an edit" edits.)

You'll also probably run into trouble if you have a physical address, like an office or a shop, and you choose to use the home address instead. That looks odd to Google - as though you're cherry-picking the address based on what you think will rank better. If you've got both a commercial and a home address, generally you should use the commercial address.

The separate, semi-related question is whether you should or must hide the address on GBP if you use a home address. Google's enforcement of that is so spotty that I can only conclude it doesn't matter much or at all. I've been on each end of the stick, with clients and their competitors. If you show your home address and nobody reports you, Google is unlikely to notice or care. If someone does rat on you, usually the worst that will happen is Google will remove your address and set a service area. On the off-chance you get soft-suspended, make sure that your website and more-important citations show the address, and try to re-verify. If the GBP rep gives you a hard time, you can say you DO sometimes conduct business by appointment at your home address.

What Google reps say often differs from the policies, and the policies often differ from what Google actually enforces. It's mostly a big "we know it when we see it" system of quality-control. So my two cents is to use your home address in the absence of a commercial address, and to err on the side of showing the address. The rankings usually will be better, and you can grind through most problems you run into with Google by explaining things to the rep(s_ and being a polite pest.
 
Solution
Are you a service area business? Having your address hidden doesn't matter. Google will still use the hidden address to rank you with people that have their address displayed. There's no benefit to showing your address vs not showing your address.

There is a "glitch", where if you verify your GBP at address 1, change the display address to address 2, then hide your address, it will rank you back at address 1.
 
As to another point you were concerned about: If you submit the Redressal form, no, you name will not show up for competitors to see that you reported them. The Redressal form may or may not work, but it doesn't hurt to try.

Also, having your address show up is not necessarily going to make you suddenly show up in local search. There are many other factors that go into rankings to make your competitors more visible.
 

Login / Register

Already a member?   LOG IN
Not a member yet?   REGISTER

LocalU Event

LocalU - Local SEO Penalties for Links

  Promoted Posts

New advertising option: A review of your product or service posted by a Sterling Sky employee. This will also be shared on the Sterling Sky & LSF Twitter accounts, our Facebook group, LinkedIn, and both newsletters. More...
Top Bottom