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if you run a business without a physical location and serve customers at the home should you display an address on your google my business listing or specify the service area where you operate instead if you want to know what works better for higher rankings on google maps stay tuned hi my name is luke if it’s your first time here today why don’t i publish a new one there are plenty of local businesses out there who don’t need to rely on a brick and mortar location in order to operate these are described as sab or service area businesses these type of businesses typically provide a service at the customer’s location and cover an area which usually

extends way beyond what a brick and mortar business would cover if you are one of these businesses and created a google listing profile for your business you may remember that during the setting up process you were asked if you wanted to add a location customers can visit like a store or office if you follow the google my business guidelines you mustn’t enter a location if you don’t serve customers at your business address therefore if you are a service area type of business the answer to this question should be no and instead you should specify the areas customers google will then display a map

on your listing which will show the service area you cover like in this example many of you however decide to ignore the google’s guidelines and instead use your residential address as when you choose to do this your listing will look very different it will display an image of the location you specified which is likely to be your house along with a pin marker on the map and your exact address if you don’t serve customers there google doesn’t really want you to do this because there is a risk people might turn up at your house

which may result in poor customer experience so if you want to play ball and stick to the google’s guidelines you should really remove your home address from your listing or should you i normally advise you to stick to the rules and i will do again today because i do believe it is the right path to a healthy business however service area businesses who choose to follow the guidelines and not display their address seem to be at a disadvantage let me tell you why if i search for pest control displayed with three listings two of these

businesses are hiding their address

as they should do while one of them isn’t the result the one business that is showing an address gets a direction icon added to its listing but most importantly it is the only business that gets a red pin highlighting where its location is on the map making the overall listing stand out a lot more than the other

two if i do another search directly on google maps this time and look for a dog walker in san diego for example and hover on each listing separately the ones who have listed an address not only have a pin on the map but the pin also has a hovering effect making it pop out and when you hover on the pin marker itself it provides information about the business in the form of a small window which displays

reviews and images related to that business the listing with no specific address have nothing to show for them on the map which business do you think customers are more likely to choose i believe they will trust the ones with a pin more often than those without as they can access more information without searching any further it is likely to speed up their decision making process since they will be

able to see at a glance if a business is located far from them or in the wrong part of town but there seems to be even more significant differences if you decide to show your address more specifically around rankings which is worrying being involved in a local seo game i try to stay on top of the most up-to-date changes by following specialized blogs and listening to various industry experts so i can share the information with you that also includes visiting local seo

forums to check what is being discussed and the problems people are facing regularly recently there seems to have been an increasing number of people reporting that once they had switched their listing to a service area business meaning they removed their address from an existing listing so they could comply with google’s guidelines their previous rankings collapsed and the phone stopped ringing

although these examples seem anecdotal i believe there is no smoke without fire especially when you start seeing many of the same conversations across multiple forums interestingly i don’t recall ever reading a case where a business switched from an sab model to a location based model and their rankings tanked that’s why even

some of the top local seo pros decide not to follow google’s guidelines and tell their clients they should include a physical address in their listing but the question still remains does having an address on your listing improve your rankings zactard from persuaded dot io conducted a small study to try and answer that question he checked the rankings of around 1300 listings for

plumbers across 10 different cities and compared the performance of the ones who had opted to display their address versus the ones who had chosen the service area option i’m not going to go through the entire article here and i’ve put a link to it in the description below if you want to read it but in a nutshell listings with an address perform better and the average position stood at 67 why the average ranking for businesses without an address stood at 74. moreover,

listings with an address seem to appear nine times

more often in the top three results than the ones without an address which is quite significant although this study is based on a small sample and for one vertical only it seems to confirm what people have been reporting in the various forum threads i read whatever google says there seem to be some clear benefits when displaying an address on your listing instead of choosing the service area option you get

better visibility overall with a marker pin users are likely to trust you more because of it and mostly it looks like you will get better rankings which will generate more traffic and more customers and that would explain why so many businesses choose to display their home address on their listings but of course there are some drawbacks the biggest one being it’s against google’s guidelines

which means not complying could result in your listing being suspended although if google suspended all businesses using a physical address when they shouldn’t half the businesses on google maps would be wiped out so it seems they are not policing this very tightly another drawback is if you use your home address as a physical location it will be displayed for everyone to see on your listing and also include a picture of your property some customers might end up turning up at your house unexpectedly would you

want that savvy competitors who have decided to follow the guidelines may report you and then the risk of being suspended will be greater if you encounter an issue with your listing and reach out to google support for some help they will simply not help you until you remove your address from your listing what will happen then the bottom line is if you follow the guidelines you may be at a disadvantage against some of your competitors if you don’t you might get exposed ultimately it’s just a question of measuring risks versus rewards and that decision can only be made by you but before you make that decision here is one last very important tip if you’ve initially set up your listing as an sab and decide to add an

address to your listing after watching this video because you think it might boost your rankings you must understand this might raise some flags with google firstly it will trigger a verification process and google will send you a verification code at the address you have specified secondly you might bring unwanted attention to your listing from google you may decide to suspend your listing so be careful.

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