If you’re aware of Google’s guidelines, you probably know that Google has a guideline for home-based businesses. It states, “Important: If you don’t serve customers at your business address, do not enter an address under the ‘Info’ tab in Business Profile Manager. Leave the ‘business location’ field blank.” This comes into play a lot with service area businesses like a plumber who drives to their customer instead of their customer coming to them. When you hide your address on Google it makes it so your listing doesn’t have an address listed, a map pin, or a driving directions button on your listing.
We wanted to test to see if hiding your address impacted how the business listing ranked on Google.
So we had a client who is in the home services space who currently had their address displaying. This is what their rankings looked like for one of their top keywords:
We went in and removed the address from the listing. What happened next blew our minds.
We saw a massive decline in rankings after we hid the address. Here is 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 for the month where we had the address removed.
When we added the address back to the listing a month later, the rankings came back.
This is the full picture of what happened:
Was This a Fluke?
We needed to make sure this wasn’t just some crazy anomaly so we found another listing of theirs with the address hidden and added the address back. We saw the same bump in rankings.
Search Results Change:
Now the craziest thing we witnessed during this was the fact that hiding the address literally caused the local pack to disappear for one of the main keywords. As you can see here, Google showed a local pack when the address was showing. Then, when we hid the address, the local pack went away and the entire SERP was organic. When we added the address back, the local pack appeared again.
- Hiding your address on your Google Business Profile appears to cause a decline and rankings in calls.
- We do not condone going against Google’s guidelines, BUT this is something Google really needs to fix if they want people to follow their rules.