The ever-evolving Google Places is changing once again. Often, the changes made by Google to its local business listings section are readily noticeable. Sometimes these changes are rolled out universally, while at other times Google experiments with new formats in local formats. In either case, it’s possible that from time-to-time, the listing you saw for your business yesterday may look different today, and quite frankly, you have no say in how your listing will appear.
Google’s latest change is a policy change, however. From now on, Google will no longer display the addresses of what might be best described as “go-to” businesses, or businesses that serve their customers in their homes or at their places of business. So if yours is a service-related business – think plumber, electrician, carpet cleaning company, roofer, interior designer, home remodeler, exterminator, junk removal service, painter, etc. – you must go immediately to your Google Places account and click the radio button that says, “Hide My Address.” Failure to do so may result in your being de-listed from Google Places, and if that happens, the phone calls you generally receive from your listing in Google Places may vanish overnight.
This policy change does not affect brick and mortar businesses that customers must visit. This includes doctors, lawyers, retailers, beauty salons, tanning salons, day spas, restaurants, and many more. Such businesses need make no change to their business profiles.
For consumers seeking a service provider that’s closest to their homes (for reasons like wishing to avoid distance or mileage charges), this policy change will require that one visit the actual website of the business that’s listed in Google Places to determine the business’s actual location. Of course there’s the distinct possibility that even a visit to one’s website won’t list that business’s location, so it won’t hurt to ask the business you call just where their business is located and whether they charge mileage fees.
Are their exceptions to this new policy? The answer is yes. With businesses such as real estate brokers, financial planners, consultants, accountants, personal trainers, where some office visits may be required and some not, you need not check the “Hide My Business” radio button.
In the past, we found that businesses that voluntary hid their business addresses from public view in their Places profiles often suffered in the position of their business listings on Google’s search engine results page. According to Google, this will no longer be the case. So if you must now hide your business address, it is unlikely that the position of your business on Google will not be adversely affected. Let’s at least hope so.
Now it may be true that your business is presently listed in Google Places without your knowledge. It may be wise for you to go right now to see if your business is listed and there is one important reason to do so: The information on your business listing may indeed be wrong. Your business may be miscategorized, or worse, your address and phone number may be wrong. We’ve often found that Google often publishes fax numbers instead of phone numbers, and you must make sure to correct such mistakes and keep you business listing correct or current.
It is equally important that your business information is correct, up-to-date and consistent across other search engines, review sites, online directories and Internet Yellow Pages, not just for the potential business these listings may send your way, but because Google wants to see across-the-board consistency of listings across many sites across the Internet. So if you’ve moved or changed phone numbers during the last couple of years, be sure to change those listings to reflect your present status.
Finally, years after Google began prominently listing local businesses prominently featuring local businesses on the first page of results, millions of businesses have failed to claim their business profiles and listings. Without claiming or establishing a business listing with Google, there is a strong likelihood that your business listing – correct or not – may be delisted from Google’s search results. You absolutely do not want this to happened.
If you have yet to claim your businesses on Google Places and in other online directories and websites that Google uses to validate your business, it’s time you do. Please feel free to contact your Find My Local Biz representative today, as we can ensure that you have a solid and descriptive online presence on hundreds of online sites, the most important of which is Google.
Please call or write Find My Local business today for more information and a free analysis of your business’s total online presence. You may otherwise be missing a ton of qualified from leads from people whose need for your services is immediate.
http://www.FindMyLocalBiz.com , (732) 535-6527; firstname.lastname@example.org