Home-based advisors who do not receive customers at home need to “hide” their address in their Google Places listing or risk being delisted in Google Maps and penalized in search rankings.
Businesses with Google Places listing for years are suddenly delisted by the popular search engine because Google tweaked its policy without letting you know. That’s why the policy change is being criticized by some search engine optimization (SEO) consultants.
If your Google Places listing suddenly disappeared, this could be the reason why.
"The caller-ID said 'Google, Inc.' I was intrigued.The voice on the other line asked if I 'serviced clients at this address.' I was busy servicing a client with the other hand (on the phone – get your mind out of the gutter) so I said that my clients were all over the world, which they are, including within a 5-mile radius of my location.Then I asked the voice who she was and why she was calling. She said she was with Google Maps and they were just doing some quality checks. I had to go – see client servicing action above – and hung up.Next thing you know I no longer have a listing in Google Maps."
"If your business travels to its customers and doesn’t have a consistent customer-facing location, you should apply a service area or service areas to your listing. You should also check the box to hide your business address if customers cannot make face-to-face interaction with your business at the address listed. To learn more about service areas, check out this article:
http://www.google.com/support/places/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=177103You can find the guidelines at http://www.google.com/support/places/bin/answer.py?answer=107528Once your listing adheres to the quality guidelines, you can respond to this email, and we’ll evaluate for reinclusion on Google Maps.Thank you for your understanding.”