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Local SEO Tactics

Will Hiding My Address on GBP While Showing On Citations Hurt My SEO? – 222

Address Visibility of Your Google Business Profile in Your SEO Strategy

Jesse is joined by Sue and TJ to provide insights and advice for business owners who are hesitant to show their address on their GBP. From making the storefront presentable to renting a cheap office space, they emphasize how a visible address can improve rankings, especially if competitors are storefront businesses. Learn the importance of citations and when Google will show the address on citations even if it is hidden on the GBP.

Key Takeaways:

  • Showing the address on a Google Business Profile (GBP) can improve rankings, especially if competitors are storefront businesses.
  • If the address is already out there, it’s worth considering showing it on the GBP to align with the convention of the industry.
  • If showing the address is not feasible, consider making the storefront presentable or renting a cheap office space to use as the public facing address.
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The Importance of Address Consistency

Business owners today must decide whether to display their address on their Google Business Profile (GBP). This choice is crucial for local SEO and affects how customers perceive their business online. For local SEO, consistency across online listings is key. A Google Business Profile requires a physical address for verification, which can be hidden from public view. However, if this address appears on other platforms but not on the GBP, it could confuse customers and negatively impact search engine algorithms that prioritize consistent data. Common citations where addresses typically appear include Yelp, Yellow Pages, and industry-specific directories like Angie’s List or Healthgrades.

Balancing Privacy and SEO

For businesses operating out of a home, privacy is a significant concern. However, showing your address can enhance your local search rankings, especially if customers typically visit your location. Here are some strategies to maintain privacy while leveraging the benefits of address visibility:

  • Signage and Designated Entrances: Use signage to direct clients to a specific entrance. This keeps your private areas separate from business operations.
  • Alternative Office Spaces: If using a home address is not ideal, consider temporary or shared office spaces. These can provide a professional address for public listings and Google verification without the commitment of a full-time office.

Real-World SEO Impact

Visibility generally improves local SEO. For example, a business that regularly welcomes customers will benefit from having its address publicly listed on its GBP and across other citations. This aligns with the expectation set during the GBP setup, where businesses must indicate whether customers visit their location.

Conversely, if privacy concerns outweigh the potential SEO benefits, businesses might choose to hide their address on the GBP while ensuring it remains on other citations. This approach can still support verification processes and lend some credibility, though it may not optimize local SEO as effectively as full visibility would.

Making an Informed Decision

Choosing whether to show your address on your Google Business Profile should balance personal privacy concerns with the competitive landscape of your industry. If competitors are displaying their addresses and drawing in physical traffic, mimicking this could improve your business’s visibility and authenticity.

Ultimately, the decision to display or hide your address should align with how your business operates and how you want to interact with your customers. Consistency across your online presence, from your GBP to other business listings, remains crucial for maintaining credibility and optimizing your local SEO.

Jesse Dolan: Will hiding your address on your GBP while you show it on your citations, hurt your SEO? Let’s break that down and talk about it.

Welcome back to local SEO tactics, where we bring you tips and tricks to get found online. I’m your host, Jesse Dolan. This episode joined by two great team members here at Intrycks, Sue Ginsburg, TJ Elder, how you two doing today?

Sue: Hi.

TJ Elder: Doing well.

Jesse Dolan: We’re going to be fielding a question that came in from one of you out there in the audience talking about GBP. Let’s get into it. We’ve got TJ on. We’re going to talk a little bit technical. Sue, why don’t you set us up with the question and the context before we get into it though.

Sue: Sounds great. Question we’ll be talking about today. Will hiding my address on my GBP while showing it on citations hurt my SEO? And thank you from our listener in Australia for submitting this question. Comes up all the time in discussions with clients and I know that this is a question that will help a lot of people. Quote of the day.

Knowledge is knowing a lot of facts and wisdom is knowing which facts matter. How great is that? It’s an old saying. I couldn’t find the source of it. Nevertheless, an oldie but goodie. Okay, setting us up. In this day and age of remote working and home offices, we regularly get into these discussions with our clients and business owners about whether hiding your address will negatively affect SEO on your Google business profile. Just last week, we talked to one of our clients who’s working with us to get more leads from St. Louis for his business. And we learned that he has a home office that’s closer to St. Louis than his warehouse is. His GBP is currently listed as the warehouse address. And we talked at length about changing his GBP address to the address which is closer to St. Louis, where the intensity of his customers and future customers are. It being his home and home office, he asked the smart question of whether he had to show his address. A lot of people, most people, don’t want to show their home address online. One aspect of the question that often enters into the discussion is, what does this mean to hide your address? We know that every GBP has to have a physical address for Google to even verify it. If you hide your address, it hides it from visitors, customers, prospects seeing it, but does it also hide it from Google? This listener’s question asks a little more specifically whether hiding the address on your GBP while showing it on citations will hurt your SEO, which is a great question. We get into this question a lot again, more and more people having a home office, just not having an official office and office address that they that they go to. So this comes up a lot. So let’s ask the experts, see what they have to say. We have TJ out here who fields this question a lot. And we all want to know how this works with citations, with addresses, hiding addresses, where does it hide them? And is the impact on SEO positive or negative? What can you teach us today?

Jesse Dolan: Hey, TJ, let me, let me start, let’s get technical. And, uh, that technical will start with the classic answer of it depends. And we’ll kind of parse that out. Um, but first I want to address something a little bit more directly to, you know, the business owners or the, the entrepreneurs that are using, you know, if you’re listening and you are using your home as the address, you’re like, yeah, that’s me, I’m hiding it. I don’t want people to show it up at my front door. Um, I just want to walk through a couple of things on here just to maybe challenge some of those ideas or as TJ gets into some of the more technical bits on the decision-making, maybe giving you some more confidence or some ideas on how to make it not as scary to show your address. So first things first for this example, we do wanna have the specific context of the address is out there. The question here is on my Google Business profile, if I don’t show my address, but it is shown in other citations, how does it impact what’s going on here?

And my first reaction for advice in this case is, you know, let’s not worry for right now if that impacts your SEO or not, but just if your address is already out there, let’s lean into it. Because all things being equal, you know, not to be too generalized here, but generally speaking, if you’re showing your address, you’re probably going to rank better. There’s going to be some clauses to that make that not true.

But if you can show your address, show your address. A lot of times we run into hesitation with business owners or solopreneurs, startup businesses where you don’t want people just showing up. So think about it, if you’re a business where people usually do show up, they’re gonna wanna show up. Google’s gonna wanna see people show up. You’re gonna wanna see that address being visible. So the first challenge for you is, maybe it’s not pretty, maybe you’re just starting out, but if the natural course of business, the natural convention is that people would show up to your office even sometimes, then you’re probably gonna wanna have your address shown to just fall into that convention. Now, a few things here how to make that less scary, have some signage, right? Like if you’re at your house and maybe you don’t want people coming out of the front door, cause you got young kids and you got the freaking playground in the front porch, right, everything else, this is not conducive to business.

Put a sign, get people around the side door, whatever it is. You find a way to make it better than whatever worst case scenario you’re thinking, right? If you’re just starting out and this isn’t gonna be for forever, well, this isn’t gonna be for forever, right? But also every client and every opportunity that you could get is gonna help advance this further. So that’s a lot to maybe straddle or kind of decide, but just really think about the obstacle here being my storefront, if you will, isn’t presentable enough.

How do we fix that? How do we get it presentable enough? Not the perfect ultimate version, but just enough. Let’s get some signage, some little customer service area. Another easy trick is like Wyze cams or ring cameras, not to be blase with money, but if you drop 30, 40, 50, maybe even a hundred bucks, can you get something with motion detector? So you know when somebody is pulling up and you can run out there and be ready, right? Throw the dirty diapers in the trash and get your butt to the front door. Like whatever it is you’re trying to you know, help put the mystique on, give yourself a little advance warning on that, right? Things like that. So lean into it, do the signage, you know, do wise cams, do anything else you can to be comfortable with that experience and have those patrons come to your front door. And the other part of it is, is if that’s just not in the cards for you, you know, think about what’s the you know, in the right spot in town, like geographic pinpoint makes a difference here, but could you rent something super cheap to get an address? And I’m not talking about a virtual office or a shared office or coworking space. We’ve talked about that in other episodes where that can be dangerous. Um, but can you go on Craigslist and find for 300 bucks a month somewhere, a broom closet you can rent out, right? That you can put a legitimate address on that again, maybe isn’t that much better, you know, than the scenario I just described, but it’s still going to be better and acceptable to you.

And you can use that then as your public facing address. So whatever your reasons are for your apprehension of showing your address, if you can clean up your existing storefront, make it conducive temporarily at least, or if you can find a budget solution that gives you an address that you’re more comfortable using, I would definitely encourage you to look at those if you’re in that scenario where, yeah, another patron or two, right? Another new client or two could really move the needle for you. Maybe this is a bridge to bigger and better things.

Jesse Dolan: All that being said, remember, in this example, your address is already out there, right? And if it’s already out there, Google’s seen it’s already out there, and then maybe there’s this question like, why is it not on their GDP? I think it’s worth the risk if you can do it the right way. Maybe this doesn’t apply to everybody, but think about that, be challenged by that. Let’s move into some more of the technical SEO parts here and talk with TJ a little bit on the do’s and the don’ts and the it depends nature, but keep that in the back of your mind that there is a way to do this even if it is scary and it’s not forever for you. So that being said, TJ, why don’t you help us real quick, kind of expand on the, yeah, why service area versus storefront and that convention of if Google expects you to be a storefront, right, you should be, things like that. Let’s riff on that and get into the other points here.

TJ Elder: Yeah, for sure. I mean, when you’re opening or when you’re setting up your Google business profile for the for the first time, Google is going to ask you straight up. Do you see customers at this location or not? And other citations are just going to have a field where your address goes and they’re going to show that no matter what. So when you’re setting up the Google profile, if it’s like a brand new one.

Um, you’re going to have to put your address in whether or not you’re eventually going to show it. Um, and having your address on those citations can help give confidence to, to Google that. You know, this place is legit. It could make it a little easier to get that, uh, profile verified in the first place, um, which would be kind of a positive thing about having your address in citations and not showing it on the GBP. Um, so that’s one thing. And so you know, the next thing that I would always advise people to think about is, um, you know, what are your competitors doing? Uh, if you’re going up against a bunch of physical location businesses, and if you’re searching your target keyword and the map pack pops up and it’s all places that people can go visit with the address showing and it’s not really showing any service area businesses with the addresses hidden. Then I would advise people to kind of do those things that you were talking about, Jesse, like how can you make this at least appear as though you’re, you know, able to see people at your own location, even if it’s in real life, not going to happen that frequently.

Jesse Dolan: Yeah, Google is, like I always say, Google’s hiding in plain sight. It’s favorable results, right? And to your point, TJ, if the competitors that are showing for various keywords and searches are all physical storefront location businesses, we’re not saying it’s impossible that you can’t rank without showing your address, but it’s gonna be a tough road. I mean, you’re gonna need a million reviews. You’re gonna need a ton of other signals, you know, a lot of keyword matching like if your competitors are storefronts and that’s the normal convention of this business, you are setting yourself, self up for a heck of a fight to try to break through without following that model. Right. So I think that’s just the A1 piece of advice from this entire episode is you may not like that. It may not be conducive to what you’ve thought, but we’re trying to rank in Google, right. And we gotta play by whatever, you know, rules and whatever game board is set out in front of us on that. And if that’s what you see in, that’s what you’re seeing.

TJ Elder: Sure. I think another, you know, just going back to the original question of, you know, is it a problem to have your address on citations versus not on Google? One thing to keep in mind is that people are going to see your Google business profile a lot more than they’re probably going to see all these random citations. So we always advise people that it’s helpful to have those

TJ Elder: to Google that your business is legitimate and there’s references of your business in different places where it would expect to find them. But as far as how people are finding your information and getting in touch with you, they’re probably gonna be doing that through Google or through your website a lot more frequently. So if you are concerned about people showing up at your doorstep, I would worry a little bit less about the address being on those citations. So.

Jesse Dolan: Good point to parse out too, right? If it’s kind of two questions or one is the ranking impact and the other is the, yeah, is there any harm there? Not just in the ranking world, so good point. Any other technical points you wanna bring up TJ on service area business, hiding your address, things like that for everybody to listen?

TJ Elder: Not that I can think of. I think that this one is, you know, pretty straightforward. I think the overall answer I would give is no. It’s not really harmful to just have the address hidden in itself. It’s these other things that we’re talking about are more important.

Jesse Dolan: question behind the question a little bit here, right? If we could phrase it like that. So, okay, yeah, I think again, if you’re a solopreneur owner startup or well-established, if any of this pertains to you, hopefully there’s some things in here that we’ve been able to challenge some ideas with and yeah, address it straight up for you as well. At the end of the day, this really is one of these classic, it depends for SEO, which route you should go if you’re kind of following our forked off question there. So Sue, any final commentary and rap from you.

Sue: I think that this is, you make some really good points and mentioning that even if you hide your address for your GBP, it still will be showing for your other citations because you don’t have the choice of do you want this to show or not? It’s out there. It may not be as obvious because that’s not the first thing that’s popping up when people are searching, but it is out there. Thank you both for your good, good input. If you remember one thing and one thing only remember this. Yes. If Google is showing results who have their address showing, then you will do better showing your own address along with your competition, having your address and citations to answer that part of the question is not harmful if you do hide your address on your GBP.

At least from an SEO perspective. So really it’s Google we’re talking about. You can run, but you can’t know. You can hide. What’s that saying?

TJ Elder: You can hide and you can still run.

Sue: Yeah. You can hide, but you can’t run. Whatever. Anyway, quote of the day again, knowledge is knowing a lot of facts and wisdom is knowing which facts matter. Great saying.

Jesse Dolan: Thank you, Sue. Perfect. Thank you, TJ, for your technical insights. Everybody listening, hopefully we are able to help you out with maybe some questions you had. See what you think about implementing any of these strategies for your own business. If you have more questions on this topic, or if you have just questions in general, we’d love to hear about them. Go on out to local, scroll to the bottom, click the button to submit a question. You can type it in and we’ll use it on the show. Or if you’d rather, there’s a phone number, you can call it in and leave a voicemail and we’ll use your recording on the show. Either way, we’ve got some swag for you if you participate and we’ll use your question, put it on the show, answer it for you and for everybody else who may be thinking the same thing and looking for some help. So we always appreciate those and love doing these episodes., reach out to us if you want your question on the show. Thanks again, TJ. Thanks again, Sue. Everybody listening, thanks for checking out this episode and we’ll catch you on the next one. Take care.

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