As a photographer, you run your business in one of three ways.
1. Your business is a brick and mortar studio where all of your clients come to your studio for your photography. Everything from photography to sales is completed at your location.
2. Your business is home based and serves some customers at your home and some on the road.
3. Your business is home based and does not serve any customers at your location.
All are an acceptable way to run your business. But if you’ve ever inputted your information into Google Places and you don’t have it set up correctly according to your business model, you could be at risk for having your account deleted.
On March 22nd the official Google Places Quality Guidelines were updated to include the following:
If you don’t receive customers at your location, you must select the “Do not show my business address on my Maps listing” option within your dashboard. If you don’t hide your address, your listing may be removed from Google Maps.
Google has decided to do this to make the content side of Google Places more accurate. Several years ago when Google Places was just starting to grow, people experimented with placing their businesses into the Places feature, no matter what type of business it was. And it worked. If you checked the “hide address” feature back then, it was like checking the box that said “hide my business” as well. So word quickly spread that in order to receive the benefits from Google Places, it was better to include your location no matter what type of business you had.
As Google keeps changing, they now want to provide the best results possible. Which means if you have a brick and mortar business, your address is of benefit. If you don’t, it’s a hindrance. By adding this new policy change, it is believed that the “hide address” feature will no longer negatively impact your local focused rankings.
While this policy change isn’t widely known, it can impact you if you don’t comply immediately. Many businesses suddenly find themselves “gone” from rankings simply because they aren’t following the new policy. If you’ve ever created your Google Places profile, head back and check to make sure you comply.