If you’re familiar with Google’s policies, you probably know that Google has a policy for privately-resident companies. It states: “Important: If you are not serving customers at your business address, do not enter an address in Business Profile Manager on the About tab. Leave the Business Location field blank.” This is common for businesses in catchment areas, such as when a plumber drives to their customer’s place of business rather than having them come to their home. Hiding your address on Google means your listing doesn’t have an address, map pin, or turn-by-turn directions button on your listing.
We wanted to test whether hiding your address would affect your business listing’s ranking on Google.
So we had a client who is in the home services business and whose address is currently showing. Here’s what their ranking for one of their top keywords looked like:
We went in and removed the address from the listing. What happened next blew us away.
After hiding the address, we experienced a massive drop in ranking. Here’s what happened to the rankings for the same keyword shown above:
What was even more concerning was the massive drop in calls from the listing in the month we removed the address.
When we added the address back to the list a month later, the rankings came back.
This is the full picture of what happened:
Was that a coincidence?
We needed to make sure it wasn’t just some crazy anomaly, so we found another entry of them with a hidden address and added the address back. We’ve seen the same rise in the rankings.
Change in search results:
The craziest thing we observed was the fact that hiding the address literally caused the local package for one of the main keywords to disappear. As you can see here, Google showed a local package when the address was displayed. Then when we hid the address, the local package disappeared and the entire SERP was organic. When we added the address back, the local package reappeared.
- Hiding your address on your Google business profile seems to result in a drop and a drop in calls in ranking.
- We don’t condone breaking Google’s policies BUT this is something Google really needs to fix if they want people to follow their rules.