Linda Buquet - Your Expertise is needed! Or any other Google Local experts...

10 replies
So, I consider myself to be somewhat of an expert, but I don't have the inside connections that you have.

I have a client, a pretty big client that just signed on for some SEO. We're doing organic at first but going to add in local for each location in a few months. There are a couple issues though.

1.) This is a franchise in the service industry. Think along the lines of rotorooter.
2.) He is currently using some virtual offices, he used to have contractors in each city have their address, but since this is a franchise he doesn't want their addresses to be listed in case they don't follow the service agreements.

My question is... can they really use virtual offices? I know it is a grey area, and I have successfully had Google do manual verifications in the past, but he said they wouldn't do it. Now, maybe they couldn't do it, or maybe someone answered and didn't know they could do a manual review ( I have had that happen often with PO Boxes). I haven't dug that deep to see if it is really an issue, or maybe it was an issue with how he was set up. Perhaps he displayed the address or had the setting set for customers come to this location, I'm not sure.

What is your take on it?

Will the bulk upload be best to use? I remember in the past Google didn't have a strict verification process for bulk uploads but I remember it being a little different about 6 months ago.

So what would you do in a situation where you have a client that is a franchise but doesn't have physical offices?
#bouquet #expertise #experts #google #linda #local #needed
  • Profile picture of the author Saluki Guy
    Originally Posted by iAmNameLess View Post

    So, I consider myself to be somewhat of an expert, but I don't have the inside connections that you have.

    I have a client, a pretty big client that just signed on for some SEO. We're doing organic at first but going to add in local for each location in a few months. There are a couple issues though.

    1.) This is a franchise in the service industry. Think along the lines of rotorooter.
    2.) He is currently using some virtual offices, he used to have contractors in each city have their address, but since this is a franchise he doesn't want their addresses to be listed in case they don't follow the service agreements.

    My question is... can they really use virtual offices? I know it is a grey area, and I have successfully had Google do manual verifications in the past, but he said they wouldn't do it. Now, maybe they couldn't do it, or maybe someone answered and didn't know they could do a manual review ( I have had that happen often with PO Boxes). I haven't dug that deep to see if it is really an issue, or maybe it was an issue with how he was set up. Perhaps he displayed the address or had the setting set for customers come to this location, I'm not sure.

    What is your take on it?

    Will the bulk upload be best to use? I remember in the past Google didn't have a strict verification process for bulk uploads but I remember it being a little different about 6 months ago.

    So what would you do in a situation where you have a client that is a franchise but doesn't have physical offices?
    You'd probably do better posting on Linda's forum, she's on there all the time and there's a lot of other smart folks there too.
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    There is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; Omitted — all the voyage of their life Is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat, And we must take the current when it serves, Or lose our ventures. - Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
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    • Profile picture of the author SashaLee
      Originally Posted by Saluki Guy View Post

      You'd probably do better posting on Linda's forum, she's on there all the time and there's a lot of other smart folks there too.
      Local Search Forum
      Hi Saluki,

      Thanks for the pointer.

      All the best,

      Sasha.
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  • Profile picture of the author malia
    You can suppress the visibility of an address in Google places. IOW you can list the business, put in the address, then keep it out of the results.

    https://support.google.com/places/answer/107528?hl=en

    If you don't conduct face-to-face business at your location, you must select "Yes, this business serves customers at their locations" under the "Service Areas and Location Settings" section of your dashboard, and then select the "Do not show my business address on my Maps listing" option.
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    • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
      Originally Posted by malia View Post

      You can suppress the visibility of an address in Google places. IOW you can list the business, put in the address, then keep it out of the results.

      https://support.google.com/places/answer/107528?hl=en

      If you don't conduct face-to-face business at your location, you must select "Yes, this business serves customers at their locations" under the "Service Areas and Location Settings" section of your dashboard, and then select the "Do not show my business address on my Maps listing" option.
      That's not what I'm talking about... you still have to do the verification whether people see it or not.
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      • Originally Posted by iAmNameLess View Post

        2.) He is currently using some virtual offices, he used to have contractors in each city have their address, but since this is a franchise he doesn't want their addresses to be listed in case they don't follow the service agreements.

        My question is... can they really use virtual offices? I know it is a grey area, and I have successfully had Google do manual verifications in the past, but he said they wouldn't do it. Now, maybe they couldn't do it, or maybe someone answered and didn't know they could do a manual review ( I have had that happen often with PO Boxes).

        Will the bulk upload be best to use? I remember in the past Google didn't have a strict verification process for bulk uploads but I remember it being a little different about 6 months ago.
        Nope virtual offices won't fly. I mean there is always a chance one will slip through but if they find it they'll delete it and sometimes suspend the entire account.

        I would not risk it.

        Bulk is a no-go as you need more than 10 locations and they MUST have customer facing full-time staffed commercial offices - all legit. Can't have hidden address SABs and use bulk.

        The solution is only real locations and they must hide address if they are plumbers. That industry is under heavy scrutiny. I'd say only show address if they have a walk-in store for plumbing supplies (AND IT LOOKS LIKE THAT IF YOU LOOK ON MAPS.) Otherwise not worth the risk.

        Let him know too, if he's thinking of using their home address and he's worried about any of them being long term players it's a bad idea to set them up. Really hard to close/move listings.

        FYI I do consulting for consultants on complicated cases like this. Might let him know it's easier to pay up front for expert advice then pay over and over in lost leads and wasted time by breaking the rules, potentially losing everything and having to start over from scratch. (Just a thought.)

        Originally Posted by Saluki Guy View Post

        You'd probably do better posting on Linda's forum, she's on there all the time and there's a lot of other smart folks there too.
        Local Search Forum
        Thanks so much Saluki Guy! Yep we are lucky to have some really smart folks there. And you're right I live there and seldom get over here any more unfortunately. Russ gave me heads up on this thread or I would not have seen it.
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        Linda Buquet :: Google+ Local Specialist and Google Top Contributor
        ADVANCED Google+ Local Training :: Also offering White Label Local SEO
        Latest Google Local News, Tips & Tricks

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        • Profile picture of the author richie311
          What if we use a virtual office that also has executive suites/real offices at their address? Does that mean executive suites wont fly either or? I know there are tons of lawyers/accountants/service people that use executive offices and actually work there seems kind of ridiculous for a legitimate business to not be able to get on Google places because of what office building their in. What do you guys think or anyone done this?


          Originally Posted by Catalyst eMarketing View Post

          Nope virtual offices won't fly. I mean there is always a chance one will slip through but if they find it they'll delete it and sometimes suspend the entire account.

          I would not risk it.

          Bulk is a no-go as you need more than 10 locations and they MUST have customer facing full-time staffed commercial offices - all legit. Can't have hidden address SABs and use bulk.

          The solution is only real locations and they must hide address if they are plumbers. That industry is under heavy scrutiny. I'd say only show address if they have a walk-in store for plumbing supplies (AND IT LOOKS LIKE THAT IF YOU LOOK ON MAPS.) Otherwise not worth the risk.

          Let him know too, if he's thinking of using their home address and he's worried about any of them being long term players it's a bad idea to set them up. Really hard to close/move listings.

          FYI I do consulting for consultants on complicated cases like this. Might let him know it's easier to pay up front for expert advice then pay over and over in lost leads and wasted time by breaking the rules, potentially losing everything and having to start over from scratch. (Just a thought.)



          Thanks so much Saluki Guy! Yep we are lucky to have some really smart folks there. And you're right I live there and seldom get over here any more unfortunately. Russ gave me heads up on this thread or I would not have seen it.
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          • Answer - it depends...

            Yes executive suites are valid in the real world and lots of small businesses use them.

            HOWEVER lots of attys that use them are being busted by Google because they are not really full-time staffed offices - just sort of fake locations so they can say they have an office in that city but really all their business is done at the main office. (I've helped lots of attys that have either had listings closed or entire account suspended for doing this and can point to threads at the Google forum where it's happened a lot too.)

            There are some radical vigilante mappers that will sometimes do a sweep of a Regus office and wipe out most or all of the listings in that building - if there are a lot that look like they are just there to game the system.

            So my advice - if a client is already there and it's a REAL full-time office -then that's the real office and nothing you can do. They will likely be fine.

            But if you have a client that wants to set up a new office in that type of location, just to rank in the next city over and they aren't really there - don't risk it.
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            Linda Buquet :: Google+ Local Specialist and Google Top Contributor
            ADVANCED Google+ Local Training :: Also offering White Label Local SEO
            Latest Google Local News, Tips & Tricks

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            • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
              Originally Posted by Catalyst eMarketing View Post

              Answer - it depends...

              Yes executive suites are valid in the real world and lots of small businesses use them.

              HOWEVER lots of attys that use them are being busted by Google because they are not really full-time staffed offices - just sort of fake locations so they can say they have an office in that city but really all their business is done at the main office. (I've helped lots of attys that have either had listings closed or entire account suspended for doing this and can point to threads at the Google forum where it's happened a lot too.)

              There are some radical vigilante mappers that will sometimes do a sweep of a Regus office and wipe out most or all of the listings in that building - if there are a lot that look like they are just there to game the system.

              So my advice - if a client is already there and it's a REAL full-time office -then that's the real office and nothing you can do. They will likely be fine.

              But if you have a client that wants to set up a new office in that type of location, just to rank in the next city over and they aren't really there - don't risk it.
              What about when Google will manually review and approve it? Still a high risk of being shut down?
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  • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
    I don't see why you just can't create a optimized page on the corporate site for each city, make sure match the Google categories in the header of the page and do some optimized videos for keyword + city and link back to the respective pages.

    I've done this before for clients that have addresses in suburbs but need to really rank for the major city name and not the suburb their office is located in and Google ranked the listing for the main keyword for the city even though the actual address was 20 miles away.
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  • Profile picture of the author NateOlsen
    Virtual offices our a no, UPS boxes no, PO Boxes no there is ways around it but it is completely black hat
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