The only thing certain in local search marketing is uncertainty. Recommendations change. Rules change. Best practices become worst practices. Businesses need to be on their toes at all times, or else they need to hire a company that stays on their toes.
On March 22nd, Google updated their Google Places Quality Guidelines. For the most part, most things did not change. But there was part that did change, and it is one that affects local businesses and it is related to a selection you have to choose regarding your address and service area. Here is what it says:
Don’t receive customers at your location? Serve customers at their location? Select the “Do not show my business address on my Maps listing” option within your dashboard — if you don’t hide your address, your listing may be removed from Google Maps.
In the past, selecting to not show your business address on your maps listing was the kiss of death, negatively impacting your rankings within your niche. Over the past several months, we have noticed that it has not adversely affected our clients. This new update verified that Google might no longer be penalizing businesses who were not showing their addresses.
There has been significant discussions about this over the past 2 years as many “experts” have discussed best strategies. It has been thought that selecting the first option (“No, all customers come to the business location”) was the best way to help get your Google Places listing ranked, even if you were clearly a business that went to your customers’ locations (ex: plumbers, painters, garage door repair, etc).
At Poobah Marketing, here is our philosophy on how to select the best choice: ALWAYS BE HONEST AND ANSWER TRUTHFULLY!
We are constantly shocked at the number of people (including some of our colleagues) who cut corners and try all kinds of tricks and stunts in order to “game” the search engines. In our 19 years of online marketing, we have yet to see a situation where this was appropriate or necessary.
The best strategy has been and will always be to create high quality, accurate, and honest content that people will find interesting, valuable, and shareable. Never try to deceive visitors or the search engines. When you live by these rules, you will survive every search engine update.
Having said that, it is perfectly fine to add your business information on various authority sites around the web. That is just good marketing. Just be honest and accurate with the information you publish.
Tim Berry is the Grand Poobah of Marketing at Poobah Marketing in Denver and has been marketing online since 1993. He has helped businesses around the world grow their revenues by building their digital real estate.