If you’ve ever watched David Copperfield—one of the highest ranked and wealthiest magicians of this era—perform his tricks, it’s no joke. You’ve been utterly mystified. Copperfield can escape from a locked cell on Alcatraz. He’s made it through the Great Wall of China. Flying on stage isn’t uncommon, either. Adding your virtual address to your Google My Business page is sort of like commonplace card tricks. You have to at least know how to make things appear the way you want them, and ultimately, you don’t want to lose the game. Here’s what we mean.
Google My Business Guidelines
Google has specific guidelines for how to create a legitimate Google business listing. But, for a business that has a virtual address, that’s murky water. For example, what if you are an independent massage therapist and specialize in offering care on-site, in customers’ homes? You could own a top-rated IT Company with four employees and each works from a home office space. Or (our personal dream), you may have finally started that food truck idea based off of your grandma’s special meatball recipe—but the serving location rotates between downtown and uptown every other week.
We live in an age when virtual offices are becoming less bizarre and more accepted. However, Google also needs to ensure that business listings are viable, typo-free, not over-generalized, accurate, and that they’re real, a.k.a. not spam. For your virtual address for GMB, here’s what’s directed:
- You need to make sure that your address is accurate (only “real-world” locations are allowed, Google says. Don’t say you’re from Pluto, folks.)
- Be precise. You can’t write a general location, like San Diego or Austin, or 8th and Broadway.
- P.O. Boxes are not permitted.
- Mailboxes that are located at remote locations are not acceptable, either.
- If you need to specify a mailbox or suite number, add it to Address Line 2, after the physical address. (Ah, that’s not so hard. Just like addressing a…what’s that called again? An envelope.)
- If your business rents a temporary “virtual” office at an address that differs from that of the primary business, don’t create a page for that location (unless your staff works there during normal business hours.)
- Do not create more than one page for each location of your business, in either a single account or in multiple accounts. (Yes: Individual practitioners and departments are allowed to have separate pages.)
Virtual Address – Potential Pitfalls
Where do we see the hiccups? The first thing you need to know is while you may provide services directly to customers in various locations—from Bangkok to Miami—or you may sit at coffee shops around town to provide virtual services via your laptop, Google needs one physical business address. Think of this as your legal, registered address for your LLC, which most likely, is your home address.
Secondly, don’t create multiple location listings. That’s a red flag for Google and stirs the pot. Also, be sure that your ‘”virtual” address on Google local matches on your website, Google+, and other business listings, or else you could get pinged.
Lastly, you can opt into hiding your address, if your clients do not come directly to your business location for services. Okay, you virtual avant-garde, best of luck with the hat-tricks, and hopefully Google will address the issue of the virtual work force, soon.
Need help on a larger scale? Connectivity can help. Contact us today.
Morgan Tilton is a contributor to the Connectivity blog.