Virtual Offices & Google Plus Local (Places)

17 replies
I looked around for posts on this topic, but the most recent I found was this thread, which was a few months ago, and a bit more vague than I was looking for. I'm interested to see what others who've worked with this method have experienced lately.

Goal: Getting a G+ Local profile for lead gen site.

Challenge: No physical address; Google's guidelines.

Known issues: If Google notices multiple businesses at a single location (especially if it's many many businesses like a Regus address), they may either diminish the value, disqualify the business, or run info together between listings (ie. reviews meant for another business might show up on yours). I would assume this could be resolved by the virtual office giving each virtual tenant a suite number, but I have yet to meet anyone who's been successful with this, NOR found a VO that offers suite numbers.

You may ask...

Q. Why not just use your house?
A. I run lead gen sites, many of them. If I only had 1, it might work. But it's just not a possibility.

Basically, I want to see what methods some of you have used successfully in the last 2 to 3 months (so I can get up to date info).

Whenever I think of potential future Google penalties, I think "If I were them, what would I do"... And I thought... If I wanted to discount virtual offices, I would create a database of known virtual office addresses and Post Offices (for those using PO boxes as Suite numbers), then basically disqualify any addresses that try to use those addresses. So... I wonder if any of you have a cleaver way around that possibility?
#google #google places #google plus #local #offices #places #virtual #virtual offices
  • Profile picture of the author mcfcok
    This should be fun........

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  • Profile picture of the author vndnbrgj
    Good luck cheating the system.
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    • Profile picture of the author kylemarvin
      Originally Posted by vndnbrgj View Post

      Good luck cheating the system.
      Also, just to clarify, I'm not talking about cheating the system, I am simply looking for more conversation on this topic, and methods/loopholes people have found to capitalize on a G+L profile. Just because you don't have a physical address doesn't mean you're not a physical business. See my reply to this thread.
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      • Profile picture of the author vndnbrgj
        Originally Posted by kylemarvin View Post

        Also, just to clarify, I'm not talking about cheating the system, I am simply looking for more conversation on this topic, and methods/loopholes people have found to capitalize on a G+L profile. Just because you don't have a physical address doesn't mean you're not a physical business. See my reply to this thread.
        Ok ok... Call it what you want to call it.
        I call it cheating the system.
        You are creating a false listing that will be violating Google's Terms of Service.
        Just keep in mind you will be shut down, there are people like Kung Fu and myself that report people like you. As well as Google starting to catch.
        That's why I said, "Good luck cheating the system."

        I disagree with you about the address thing.
        A real business has a real address.
        If you are a real business, you may service people at different locations... but your business will still reside somewhere. That somewhere is an address.
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      • Originally Posted by kylemarvin View Post

        Also, just to clarify, I'm not talking about cheating the system… Just because you don't have a physical address doesn't mean you're not a physical business.
        I agree with vndnbrgj. It's totally cheating and against the guidelines. It's Google's rules and who are we to argue, it's her sandbox.

        I work with people in the Google Business forum all day that lost their listings for breaking the rules and I also help businesses who have unfair spammy competitors or lead gen sites stealing their legitimate spot in the serps.

        Think of it this way - What if you had a brick and mortar business that had a REAL location, real staff and had served the local area for 20 years. You invest in having a real office, you invest in being a member of the local Chamber. You are a REAL member of that community. How do you feel if 20 competitors that aren't even located in your town set up fake Place pages saying they are located in your city when they really aren't?
        (Or lead gen sites with fake locations and fake Place pages.)

        If you put yourself in that guys shoes can you still say it's not cheating the system?
        Of course it is!


        Google is getting much better at catching all kinds of spam, scams, fake locations and fake Place pages. And there are a lot more people around that will gladly turn people in for breaking the rules including tons of MapMaker reviewers and volunteers that do spam hunting for a hobby.
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        • Profile picture of the author kylemarvin
          Originally Posted by Catalyst eMarketing View Post

          I agree with vndnbrgj. It's totally cheating and against the guidelines. It's Google's rules and who are we to argue, it's her sandbox.
          I never argued what Google's guidelines are. So if you're 100% white hat and do nothing against Google's guidelines, I assume you've never built a backlink other than a manually moderated directory link?

          Originally Posted by Catalyst eMarketing View Post

          Think of it this way - What if you had a brick and mortar business that had a REAL location, real staff and had served the local area for 20 years. You invest in having a real office, you invest in being a member of the local Chamber. You are a REAL member of that community. How do you feel if 20 competitors that aren't even located in your town set up fake Place pages saying they are located in your city when they really aren't?
          (Or lead gen sites with fake locations and fake Place pages.)
          Of course it would piss me off if there were a bunch of FAKE listings that didn't represent real businesses. I'm not talking about that here. I think what we have here is a failure to communicate, lol. So, let me explain how lead gen is structured (at least the way I'm discussing)... I'm talking about taking one of those local legitimate businesses that has a physical location, is a member of the community, and sells services locally, and using a proxy address and phone number in their G+ listing, so my efforts get rewarded and my commissions can get tracked. The business IS local, in town etc. We're just sqeezing in a method to track things.

          I think the one component that is of debate is whether or not to use their address, and I can see that argument somewhat, as far as logistically, but not ethically.

          Originally Posted by Catalyst eMarketing View Post

          Google is getting much better at catching all kinds of spam, scams, fake locations and fake Place pages. And there are a lot more people around that will gladly turn people in for breaking the rules including tons of MapMaker reviewers and volunteers that do spam hunting for a hobby.
          I'm well aware of those people who are hypocrites and surf the web to take down their competition rather than do better than their competition. Flagging ads, and G+L listings, while at the same time do 3 tier linking and blog commenting spam and call it white hat. Don't get me wrong, if I saw a spammy looking evidently fake thing that is interfering with my business, I would flag it as well, but that's not what I'm talking about here.
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  • I would recommend doing lead gen websites first and then upsell an actual G+ Local listing that they can own when you're done. It's a whole lot less work, too. This is how I did my first G+ Local client and he's thrilled with how well I took care of him.

    If your concern is controlling the asset, build a new website and control that. G+ Local ranking depends a lot on the website behind it, so you will have leverage here.

    So you sell an actual G+ Local listing package but offer the website at no charge. Making sure they understand that if they don't like paying you, you can change the website and offer it to a competitor.

    The client COULD be happy because they save big bucks on getting a website developed AND they get their G+ Local listing. You can be happy because you control the real engine driving that listing.

    They are happy because they only pay you IF leads are coming in as promised and if they leave, they're not stuff with a worthless site, but they still have an optimized G+ Local listing they can build their own site for (you won't tell them HOW, though).

    You could even get creative and link these sites to a large directory site(s) you control and interlink everything. There was a fantastic write up on at somewhere in the forum...

    found it here: http://www.warriorforum.com/offline-...on-empire.html

    Imagine controlling dozens of properties giving this company valuable citations. Suddenly you own a powerful site that's pushing their listing to the top AND you own some very valuable citations.

    You could even team up with a PPC expert and offer to manage that while the G+ Local listing is being ranked. That way they don't have to wait for the leads.

    Once you get your empire built, it will be easy to show the value of what you're doing.

    Voila! Now you have a legit business model that offers tremendous value AND you've build yourself a small empire that will be cake to sell to future prospects.
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    • Profile picture of the author kylemarvin
      Originally Posted by Kung Fu Backlinks View Post

      I would recommend doing lead gen websites first and then upsell an actual G+ Local listing that they can own when you're done. It's a whole lot less work, too. This is how I did my first G+ Local client and he's thrilled with how well I took care of him.

      If your concern is controlling the asset, build a new website and control that. G+ Local ranking depends a lot on the website behind it, so you will have leverage here.

      So you sell an actual G+ Local listing package but offer the website at no charge. Making sure they understand that if they don't like paying you, you can change the website and offer it to a competitor.

      The client COULD be happy because they save big bucks on getting a website developed AND they get their G+ Local listing. You can be happy because you control the real engine driving that listing.

      They are happy because they only pay you IF leads are coming in as promised and if they leave, they're not stuff with a worthless site, but they still have an optimized G+ Local listing they can build their own site for (you won't tell them HOW, though).

      You could even get creative and link these sites to a large directory site(s) you control and interlink everything. There was a fantastic write up on at somewhere in the forum...

      found it here: http://www.warriorforum.com/offline-...on-empire.html

      Imagine controlling dozens of properties giving this company valuable citations. Suddenly you own a powerful site that's pushing their listing to the top AND you own some very valuable citations.

      You could even team up with a PPC expert and offer to manage that while the G+ Local listing is being ranked. That way they don't have to wait for the leads.

      Once you get your empire built, it will be easy to show the value of what you're doing.

      Voila! Now you have a legit business model that offers tremendous value AND you've build yourself a small empire that will be cake to sell to future prospects.
      I wish I saw that thread you started a few days ago before starting this one, I could have brought my questions and comments there. Thanks for taking the time to reply here.

      The issue is not exclusively owning the assets, but there are a few other reasons too: The way lead gen is structured makes the company I'm selling leads to not a client, but more of me being their sales rep. They leave it up to me to basically get them new customers (and are happy to pay me a commission).

      Another issue, though understandably a gray area, is to have multiple lead gen sites for one specific contractor... For example, say the contractor does roofing and also does concrete work. I can build 2 separate sites designed to convert those specific niches and rank their particular keywords, but both drive a phone call to the same contractor. Not really sure how this would tie in with G+ Local.

      Also, if one of the contractors I'm working with screws up or goes out of business, my work wont' be in vein, so I could drop them, and forward my phone number to the new contractor. If I used their physical address, it would be starting over again. I can see using my 'tracking' phone number in a G+ profile owned by someone else though, as a second least worst option.

      Anyways, I'll check out that link you posted. The big concern is if you cannot show up in G+L and it's local search terms, you're not going to get hardly any calls.
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  • Using a proxy address is creating a fake listing. The business isn't actually at that address, and you mustn't be using the name of the actual business receiving the leads (otherwise you may as well create a listing they own), so it is therefore a "fake" listing. The information in the listing is not representative of the actual business receiving the leads.

    It really is that simple.

    If you then argue that the lead gen business is itself a business, then you have to admit that you'd be misrepresenting yourself. If you were listed as a lead gen business, that would be accurate and acceptable. If you were listed as a plumber, for the purposes of funneling leads to another plumber, you are misrepresenting yourself and putting a client at risk.

    Listen... we have the experience to know this is the case with people that develop these listings. Call them fake or something else... it doesn't matter how you label them. The practice has proven time and again to cause major problems for both clients and consultants. It shouldn't continue.

    I think I've provided a very attractive alternative, and I personally know consultants that do extremely well for themselves providing just such a service. Wouldn't it be nice to have a business model that was a little more stable than the type we're discussing now?

    I'll never understand why so many insist on doing things the hard way.
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  • Profile picture of the author gti7
    This idea actually works. While I have not tried it with virtual offices I have had great success promoting auto transportation and pool service businesses by creating several places pages under many different office addresses (all friends and colleagues so it was free).

    It's also important to set the title as a generic category of whatever you are promoting, basically setting your "business name" as a keyword.
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  • Geez... I'm super busy, but the above is the absolute WORST advice ever. I can only assume you're a troll and are trying to start something. *shakes head*
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    • Profile picture of the author gti7
      Originally Posted by Kung Fu Backlinks View Post

      Geez... I'm super busy, but the above is the absolute WORST advice ever. I can only assume you're a troll and are trying to start something. *shakes head*
      Why is it the worst advice? Just sharing my personal experience. If you have better advice or can point out the flaws in mine please share so we can all benefit from it.
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  • I'm sorry man. I shouldn't have assumed you had done so on purpose.

    Unfortunately, the tactics you're describing are not in line with G+ Local quality guidelines and it would only be a matter of time before the listing is deleted. In fact, I would be extremely shocked if you were even able to verify such a listing.

    I have no doubt it works, but it's just all kinds of wrong, and it can be very damaging.

    Rather than repeat anything, here you go LOL

    http://www.warriorforum.com/offline-...-warriors.html
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    G+ LOCAL SETUP ___and____ Custom WordPress - Genesis Child Themes (see portfolio here)

    SCHEMA.ORG + GEOTAGGING + KML + PUBLISHERSHIP + so much more...
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  • Profile picture of the author gti7
    Thanks for the info.
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  • Profile picture of the author WinmanRoss
    Banned
    Hmm... thanks for the info, and good luck.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
    If your concern is controlling the asset, build a new website and control that. G+ Local ranking depends a lot on the website behind it, so you will have leverage here.
    emphases added.

    Jeez I've said that I don't know HOW many times on here and in various FB groups. Why people ignore that is beyond me!

    I've told several people, if you want to promote a lead gen site you can rank above local plus results, it IS entirely possible and the site would still get more traffic then the plus results.

    There is nothing against ANY rule for creating a site and ranking it organically. Organic search results are open territory in that regard. So create a kick ass lead generation site, rank it #1 and cut a lead deal with a local business.

    There really is no need to create fake listings at all, you are making yourself jump through hoops that aren't even necessary! You are breaking rules by using another companies service outside of the terms you AGREED to when you used that service.
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