The Internet has had a huge impact on the way businesses operate and sell their products and services. As a result, a growing number of businesses are focusing on local online marketing. So many people are curious as to how you may develop citations while keeping your address a secret as a result of this situation. If you’ve ever found yourself in a similar situation, you’ve come to the correct place as we will cover here how to build citations and keep your address hidden.
Can it be harmful to your local visibility to hide your address?
If you’re determined to never reveal your address, you’ll be restricting your citation prospects. As a result, you have fewer alternatives and can’t access the vast majority of the industry and city-specific citation sources. Then, you must decide whether concealing your address is more necessary than maximizing the potential of all of the citation opportunities that are out there.
Who can tell you if this is a good idea?
You might want to consult experts when deciding. Sometimes talking to the experts can be the best solution. Asking for advice is an important part of any business and maybe the professionals will know to answer you and take the dilemma out of the equation. When it comes to building citations we recommend you call AZ Citations. When it comes to your SEO it might be a smart move to talk to the SEO experts and see how they can be of help.
Here is a fun fact for you – building citations can also help your link building so make sure to do it sooner rather than later. Link building is a big part of every SEO strategy.
If your business is unstaffed during business hours, you must hide your address in accordance with the Google My Business criteria. If you don’t comply, you risk having your listing banned or removed. SABs and home-based enterprises must, however, disguise their addresses on all other websites except for Google. Google requires them to do so. Our recommendation here? Read carefully Google’s guidelines and beware – they change often. Most of the rules stay the same. Beware, sometimes Google changes the rules so keep reading the updates. While we are on the Google My Business topic, know how you can create easily a GMB audit and if you need assistance we can show you.
Why would a company hide its address in the first place?
When you run a business with a ‘physical’ address – an office, shop, or any other actual location – you can freely display your address to your customers. So, in this case, you have nothing to worry about. You can rely both on citations and links to promote your local online visibility.
However, many companies and businesses are no longer based in the ‘physical world’. Rather, reducing the costs of renting office space has sparked massive interest in exclusively online-based businesses. Some people prefer to operate their business from home. Some operate by relying on e-commerce without the need to organize a brick-and-mortar shop. At times, it happens that the owners of the business do not feel comfortable with disclosing the address of their premises or their home office.
The reasons to build citations and keep your address hidden
Let us take a look at all the reasons that might instigate you to build citations and keep your address hidden:
- You do not want to communicate with customers at a physical location
- The field you work in is of sensitive nature, such as mental health advisors and counselors
- You work from your home office and you do not want to sound unprofessional
- Your premises are located at a certain address but you actually operate in a different region
- Your business is not really local, but you want the benefits that come with local search visibility
- You have a virtual office, so you cannot actually meet with customers
Will the address stay hidden?
Even when you only list your company/website/business on sites that allow you to hide your business address, there is simply no guarantee that it will remain hidden online. A registered business address can be found on a number of listing sites because these sources acquire their data straight from government records, business registries, and the like. Even if you do everything you can to keep your address private, it will eventually appear online.
Local search optimization is important for firms with home offices, mainly because they don’t want customers knocking on their front door. We advise you to hide the address on those sites that allow it, but otherwise, you should continue to build citations. Google, Instagram, Bing, Facebook, Yelp, Yellow pages, and the like all allow you to hide your address from people who are actually looking for it. For the most part, your physical address will be obscured. It’s extremely unlikely that a potential customer will discover your company’s listing on a less-known website. But there is simply no guarantee. This can be a good time to consider citation clean-up and maybe even involve pros.
How does hiding your address impact your local ranking?
Hiding your address does influence your local ranking. However, you can still have a decent ranking. It is still possible for you to optimize other signals if your business operations are not part of a highly competitive sector or market. Basically, local online searches target local businesses in a particular service area.
This means that in cases when you need, for example, an accountant that is located in your area, your Google search will focus on accounting services in your particular area. So, if you are located in Tampa, FL, you are not interested in accountants that are based in Miami or Boyton Beach. On the other hand, if you are looking for a great citation service, you can retrieve them from AZ Citations services anywhere in the world. So, you can access these kinds of websites regardless of the location where you instigate your search.
Google search parameters are optimized to give precedence to local businesses if the service you are looking for is of the brick-and-mortar type. So, Google algorithms then prefer high-quality, local businesses. In light of this, hiding your address is not beneficial – but there are ways to work around this problem.
How to build citations and keep your address hidden easily?
As a result, it is possible to achieve a high ranking in Google’s blended search. It is even feasible to show up on Google Maps if your website is well-optimized. Is hiding your address on Google more effective at attracting new customers? It’s possible that hiding your address will make it harder for customers to find you. The following methods for creating a ‘virtual address’ may thus be of interest to you.
One solution to this dilemma is to set up a virtual office. Google, on the other hand, is constantly improving its algorithms, making this strategy less successful. Alternatively, you could really rent a business location so that you can list a real address. This, of course, can be a more expensive option in the beginning. In the long run, though, this strategy may increase the number of clients your company ends up attracting. Citations are an option if you insist on keeping your home address private for whatever reason. In order to develop citations and keep your personal information out of the public eye, there are a number of options available.
Hide your address on websites when this is possible
So, you can hide your address on websites that require you to provide it. However, you should simultaneously work on providing your address within citations on other websites. These websites should be websites in which the customers are highly unlikely to see your address, such as unpopular sites that appear in Google searches. Also, most people prefer to use Google as their search engine. By hiding your address on popular search engines, but keeping it on those that are used less often, you are able to improve your local SEO ranking while avoiding Google’s caveat according to which you need to list the address.
Other ways to build citations and keep your address hidden
Aggregators allow you to provide an address but mark your location as a home company in order to keep the address private. Our suggestion is to use the direct-to-site submission strategy as it is the most flexible way to build citations and keep your address hidden. You can opt for particular websites in which your address is supplied, and ban other websites from displaying your address. Most of these websites are directories, online review websites, etc.
In the event that you are unable to put your business address online, you may want to look into a new location. There are numerous alternatives accessible nowadays but are they all good for you?
Using them as your company’s mailing address is an antiquated method. If you do use a Google My Business listing, you must remove it immediately. As a result, you won’t be able to show up in Google’s search results and maps. Even if there were no other options, we believe that the P.O. Box technique is a big no-go given the level of competition and the difficulty of ranking well when using them.
In the past, home-based businesses, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMBs), and startups all use virtual offices. They are pretty practical if you think about it. You must still hide the location on GMB if your virtual office is not staffed during business hours. Even if you pay for it. Having a virtual office, on the other hand, allows you to freely display your address on all citation sites. That is the good thing obviously. Using a virtual office address and not showing up to meet people at the location can be a problem with virtual offices. This can be an issue because of the negative reputation they’ve built over the years. Then there is the possibility that Google would suspend your company listing if you use a virtual office for your firm.
Because of the ease of access to many business amenities (like meeting rooms for example) that come with co-working space memberships, companies can now operate their whole operations from an affordable shared workspace. This can be an excellent alternative to the ones above. There is a small problem with this even though it’s better than the two options above – you run the danger of your GMB listing being merged or, even worse, being deleted.
Finding really cheap office space
With the right place, you may be able to obtain an inexpensive office space without trying to hide your location. If you’re determined to keep your address off the internet, this is your best bet. Just a little reminder for you – this new office location needs to be occupied during your stated business hours for it to appear on Google and be in compliance with Google’s standards. Of course, if you are in a place like NYC finding a super cheap office is pretty much an impossible option. This is why this is our last suggestion.
Hopefully, now you know how to build citations and keep your address hidden. We also showed you the alternatives, who can help you out, and many other things that can be of help. Most importantly we showed you where you can continue your research because that is extremely important for your business.