Google Place Pages are a fantastic way to help local consumers find your local business. But what if you don’t have a brick-and-mortar store for customers to visit? For businesses that provide a service to a geographic area or are home-based, here are some things to know about Google Place Pages and your business address.
Not All Businesses are Eligible to Claim a Google Place Page
Who can have a Google Place Page? Not all businesses are eligible. One of the most important things to keep in mind is that Google states: “Only businesses that make in-person contact with customers qualify for a Google Places listing.” Other business models that aren’t eligible include: those not yet open to the public; rental or sale properties; stores you don’t own but supply products to; and meetings, classes, or services at a location you don’t own or have the authority to represent. Make sure to check Google’s guidelines for Place Pages for more details.
All Place Pages Must Cite a Mailing Address
All Google Place Pages must cite a mailing address associated with the account. Even businesses that operate out of a home or mobile businesses that service customers on their site rather than at the business’s location – like home cleaning, air conditioning, or landscaping businesses – must comply with this requirement.
P.O Boxes Don’t Count as an Address
Google’s guidelines say that P.O. boxes aren’t considered “accurate physical locations.” You cannot create a listing for a location where a business doesn’t physically exist. So, home-based businesses need to list their actual address of operation. But, according to Google’s guidelines for Place Pages: “If you work from home or you are a mobile business you can specify a ‘service area’ in the sign up process and choose to hide your physical address.” This will allow you to avoid displaying your home address publicly on your Google Place Page.
Some Business Types Should Hide the Address on Their Listings
Google recently made an update to their policy on businesses that operate by going to a client’s location to provide services, such as plumbers, carpet cleaners, handymen, and the like. In the past, these types of businesses could list their location of operation on their Place Page. But now, even if these businesses have a physical location where they operate, if they don’t actually interact with customers at the business location, they should hide their business address on their listing and define a service area – the area the business is willing to serve. According to Google: “If you don’t conduct face-to-face business at your location, you must select the ‘Do not show my business address on my Maps listing’ option within your dashboard.” In fact, Google has begun to remove businesses of this type that don’t comply with this change. Keep in mind if you have a business model where customers do business with you in person at your location and you have a service area you send people out to, you can list your physical address of operation as well as a service location.
If you’ve already claimed a Google Place Page for your business, check to make sure you’re complying with these guidelines. Since Google frequently conducts spot checks of Place Pages, it’s important to make sure you’re following their guidelines to preserve all the time and effort you’ve invested in creating and optimizing your Places Page.
Do you have a home-based business or one that operates under a service area? Have you claimed and optimized your Google Place Page? Share your thoughts or questions in a comment!