A reader recently sent in this question that’s relevant to service providers that work from home:
I know that for local businesses that do not have an office Google requires that the address be hidden on Google+ Local. In light of this, what is the correct way to list the business info on a website and citations – with the address or without the address?
I want to make sure that the NAP or NP is consistent across the web so that I’m not penalized.
These types of questions are always best answered by asking: What is best for your customer?
Google’s requirement that you hide your address if you are a “service area business” and do not accept customers at your location is very unique to them and their Maps interface. Their goal is to provide their users with a good mapping experience and not have them drive someplace that isn’t open or doesn’t accept visitors during their posted hours.
Google still needs to be able to “cluster” data about your business in their database. They need to be able to determine how prominent your business is in your market, understand which markets you best serve, attach reviews to it and allow people to call you. Thus they need your full address in their database and they are only hiding the address to improve their searchers’ experience.
Hiding your address at Google doesn’t change how you should handle your name, address & phone on your website or elsewhere on the internet.
Adding your complete address information to your website adds credibility. But you wouldn’t want folks driving up either if they were going to be disappointed. In that situation I would make it clear that you do all of your business at the client’s site and that there is no need for them to visit you.
So as far as Google goes, it still makes sense to submit your full name, address and phone (NAP) to every directory and primary list provider (Localeze, InfoUSA & Axciom) that you can.
Google won’t punish your for providing your address to the greater local ecosystem.
Google will however “punish” you by lowering your ranking if you don’t. And they will punish you if you don’t hide your address in your Places Dashboard. In the later situation your listing will be totally removed from their local index.
There are some folks out there that want hide their address across the whole of the local ecosystem because they are fearful of exposing their home business address. For those in that category, local search is not really a good marketing option.
Most primary data suppliers will list your business without address if they can verify but most of the sites that they provide data to will not accept the listing without full address information. Most IYP and local directories have similar requirements.
Thus for the most part unless you have very specific reasons, you would always want to show your full address both on your site and across the internet. And only hide it at Google.
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