Home-Based Advisors With A Google Places Listing: "Hide" Your Address In Your Listing Or Risk Delisting From Google Maps Hot

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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.

Andrew Shotland, an SEO consultant, appears to have been the first to report on a Google policy change that, as it stands today, penalizes business listings in Google local search rankings without forewarning.
Shotland posted on an incident in which he received a phone call from Google. He was on another line when the call can in, he reports:
"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."
When he realized his site had been delisted, Shotland used a Places Troubleshooter to try get restore the listing and he pinged Google Help to explain the problem. He received the following response from Google Help:
"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:
Once 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.”
In case you've never received a call from Google, you should be aware that the company does occasionally need to call businesses to verify business listings. If someone from Google calls and asks if you receive clients at your home-office, be truthful. If you don’t receive clients in your home-office, be sure to change your Places listing to hide your address. According to SEO experts, Google no longer penalizes companies for hiding their address.


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