It may seem obvious that failing to specify a physical address will impact your business listings, but Google itself has misled users with its policies. Google’s own guidelines state: “Important: If you don’t serve customers at your business address, do not enter an address under the “Info” tab in Business Profile Manager. Leave the “business location” field blank.”
Service area businesses, such as plumbers or waste removal providers, do not accommodate customer interactions at their offices. As such, they are meant only to state which geographies they serve and to leave their addresses blank. This is especially useful for businesses that do not operate out of a specific building. However, even for genuinely fully mobile businesses, it is now apparent that not listing an address will be detrimental to your Google rankings.
How do we know? An experiment in removing a service area business’s address saw an immediate drop from the local 3-pack to well below the fold. A month of fewer calls and other reduced KPIs followed. When the address was reinstated, that drop and loss of leads was immediately rectified.
While one should never do anything to violate Google’s terms of service, these guidelines are actively harmful to follow. As stating a general address does not incentivize any negative behavior or create a non-genuine experience, all businesses should state the address of the cities where they operate. Google may suggest otherwise but this is an unintuitive part of their algorithm. Good actors will always lose out to black hats trying to optimize and even neutral parties who simply don’t know this esoteric restriction. Businesses should always show their addresses in the primary locations in which they operate, even if no actual office serves customers there.
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