Those who are familiar with the Google Business Profile (GBP) guidelines would know that the search engine giant has some special suggestions for Service Area Businesses (SAB). Google recommends that since these businesses do not serve customers at their business address, they hide the address under the “Info” tab in Business Profile Manager.
The Idea Does Seem Plausible
Hiding the address or even leaving the Business Location field blank makes sense for small businesses like plumbers, electricians, gardeners, and more. where they are required to visit the job site rather than have their customers show up at their business address. And going by Google’s guidelines, it looks like they completely understand this.
But All is Not as It Seems!
A study that was recently conducted by a local search expert revealed that following Google’s guidelines can cause one’s ranking in the search engine result pages to take a serious hit. In fact, the drop in the rankings caused by hiding the address in the SAB listing also results in reduced number of calls for services.
Here’s a look at what happens when the Business Location field is left blank in an SAB listing:
In the images above, green tags indicate ranking 1-3, the yellow tags indicate ranking 4-7 and the red ones indicate rankings at position 8 or lower. While the image to the left shows the ranking before removing the address, the middle one shows the effect of removing the address on the ranking, while the last one shows the recovery of rankings on adding an address.
Although the above mentioned study may be too small to actually count as one, it is better to be aware of what hiding the address can do to your local search rankings.