Google Places Search: Hiding Address No Longer Buries Listing

Update: While the Hide Address feature does not impact Blended results it STILL impacts Maps and 7-Pack results from showing so use with caution.

The new Google Places Search has its winners and losers. For one group though, it is turning out to be an incredible plus – those home based and service businesses that don’t want to show their address.

In March of this year when the feature was first released, the hide address/show service area feature hid more than your address. It hid your listing by burying it so deeply that it would take a back hoe to find it. It would only show for direct name searches and never return for a category search, even if well optimized.

Now if you choose to hide your address in your Google Places Dashboard you can still show front and center in the blended organo-local results. For example if you search for Baton Rouge Signs and look for for the company Greater Baton Rouge Signs, long missing from the Local results because of a hidden address, you will find them once again on the first page of the main page results:

Google Places Hide Address Baton Rouge Sign Company

Obviously, this result is subject to all of the caveats of the new blended Places Searches. The most obvious and critical requirement being the existence of a strong locally optimized website to compliment your Places listing. To some extent it demonstrates the relative weighting power of organic vs local strength in the new ranking algo as this listing was consistently on the third and fourth pages of Map results under the 7-Pack algo and now shows at A & B.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Places Search: Hiding Address No Longer Buries Listing by

13 thoughts on “Google Places Search: Hiding Address No Longer Buries Listing”

  1. Mike,

    This is great news for a few of our clients. We’ve been seeing similar results in instances where the organic listing was super strong and they’re just not in the right “town”.

    Goes to show the value of a well-optimized site may trump a well optimized places page.

    Will

  2. I wonder if this will allow p.o. boxes to actually rank and be used. I have seen a few more in top positions since the update, but it is still a no no in the guidelines. hmmm.

  3. @Will

    When you say: We’ve been seeing similar results in instances where the organic listing was super strong and they’re just not in the right “town”.

    Do you mean that those in the “wrong” towns are now showing for the main town?

    @Mike
    Aren’t PO boxes slowly being rejected in the Dashboard?

  4. @Mike,

    Yes, what I mean is that in at least one instance we’re seeing poinpoint map style listings for “Atlanta” searches with an “Alpharetta” business.

    We’re also seeing a directory client take top of page for some local search phrases above the pinpoint loco-organic.

    Will

  5. Hmm….I have to add our own exp here with not listing your city address….and being “out in the boonies” which for us didn’t ever happen!

    For quite awhile now, a small co we own that does web hosting (www.flamborocanadasytems.com) located here in our smal town of Waterdown has been very high in the Places index….ie a search for “Waterdown web hosting” in Google.ca brings us up in the top mounted 3-Pack at the B listing — and that’s been the same in this new Google BLEND PlaceSearch as well as in plain old Places now for over a year…

    Note, we’ve never listed our city address either, only the Phone # contact info..and still we rank up top in the old Places index and now the Google BLEND too…

    :-)

    Jim

  6. Mike,
    I’m trying to discern what this means in the workaday life of a Local SEO. In the past, if clients weren’t willing to show their address, I didn’t bother to list them in Maps, knowing the ‘hide address’ would bury them. Now, this is not so. Now, we can proceed with these clients as we would for others, and sort of hope for the best if their website is well optimized?

    What do you think about the competition factor? Do you think it’s mainly the website of the example you’ve given that accounts for this business outranking competitors who are listing addresses? What else could it be? It’s really an amazing example.

    Just wanted to point out, when I searched for ‘greater baton rouge signs’ as indicated above, I wasn’t getting any local results at all (i.e. no 7 pack of Place Search results), but when I searched for ‘baton rouge signs’, which I see in the search box in your screen shot, I see what you are seeing. You might want to fix that reference to ‘greater’ in this post.

  7. @Jim

    It appears, from this and previous conversations, that the rules in Canada as to how Google treated businesses with hidden addresses are different. Not sure why but they were. I think under Place Search they are more likely to be the same.

    @Miriam
    I have been seeing “hidden address” results not in frequently. This search for plumber syracuse shows one.

    It is still early in the Places Search game with lots of details to work about but it appears that if a client wants to hide their address on Google and are willing to work on the organic side of their site then you should b able to to take them on as clients. I do think that the website, always ranking #1 for the search, was the main reason they were able to over come the penalty of the hidden address.

    I have corrected the body copy to (hopefully) make it more clear. Thanks!

  8. Thank you for clarifying that Will, and Mike, too!

    What a big change this is. We are getting closer and closer to a solution for go-to-client type businesses.

  9. This is good to know because I have a service business that does not rely on our physical address, I’d rather not have the office address showing in the google listing, so long as I’m not penalized for withholding it.

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