Google is experimenting with City Pages. If it takes off, this could be important for small business local SEO. And it’s very mobile-device-friendly. It will be quite reliant on your Google Places listing. So that got me looking at my own listing….
Since I work from home and don’t meet clients at home, I’ve always been reluctant to allow my address to appear online. After all, now that we have ” Street Cam”, Google’s will show a picture of my home to all the world – not exactly my idea of privacy.
But the powers that be seem to penalize you for not listing your address all over the place. The “street address” field is required when you activate or update your Google Places listing. They really really really want to list your address – presumable to verify that you’re legit.
All of which makes sense if you are a brick and mortar business, but not if you’re a home office.
So I tried listing the address of a nearby strip mall. Let them show an image of the local Krogers instead of my house! I know – it’s a bit dishonest, but I figure at least I’m indicating what neighborhood I live in and the region I serve. Like I said, I just don’t want to have my street address on the internet.
To be fair, Google now has a box that says “don’t show my business address” – but they still want my address. Today when I visited my Places listing, I checked that box, and removed the shopping center address. So, we’ll see if I get rewarded for this update.
Why am I wondering about getting rewarded? Well truth to tell, I suspect I’m being penalized. You see, I couldn’t find my Places listing no matter what I searched for. Google just doesn’t seem to know it’s there. Here.
In sum (and without sarcasm), I think maybe I was penalized for listing an incorrect address on Google Places, and so I wouldn’t recommend this strategy. But I still don’t advise giving out your home address on the internet. So, this poses a problem for home office businesses that want to have a good listing on Google Places (for local SEO purposes). Now that Google has the “don’t show my address” button, this situation seems to be rectified. Or is it? I guess it depends on how Google weights those with street addresses in their listings over those of us who work from home.