Physical address on website – should you do it?
The short, easy, and absolute answer is YES. You may not want to for personal reasons, but for SEO reasons we say absolutely. In this article. We’ll explain why.
The quick summary is this… if customers can’t figure out where your business is physically located, neither can Google. And if Google can’t figure out where your business is physically located, they’re unlikely to show your website in search results for people that are searching for your services nearby. They’re also just more likely to not just not list your business in search results at are with all things considered. Speaking of that, let’s consider a couple things with what we know about Google’s search algorithm.
Location, location, location
It’s the age old phrase and it still matters. In fact, it matters now more than ever. Google’s search algorithm has changed over the years and now it changes almost daily. One big factor however that it consistently takes into account as of late is physical location. When people search for services, they’re often looking for a local service provider – think plumbers, electricians, contractors, lawyers, restaurants, churches, etc. Someone who’s searching in Los Angeles for a service doesn’t want to get search results for providers in New York. After all, people would stop using Google as their primary search engine if it provided useless results. (How is a plumber in New York supposed to fix your overflowing toilet in LA – every second counts at this point).
Competition is killer
Here’s another thing to consider and it’s the biggest one – Google only has one 1st page and there’s only 10 spots available for search result listings. They have to be picky and only provide the best, most accurate, most legitimate companies and website’s in those results. If they can show you results that provide the closest, most trust, legitimate and best service providers, you’re likely going to use Google again. If all things are equal between you and a competitor (similar website size and history, similar online ratings, equivalent backlinks, etc) but your competitor lists a physical address on their website while you only list service areas, the competitor is going to win out in the ranking contest.
Physical address shows legitimacy
Think about cleaning services for a moment. It’s safe to say there’s more than 10 of them in Los Angeles, but there’s only 10 spots on the page. With hundreds (if not thousands) of cleaning companies, janitorial services, and housekeepers in Los Angeles, don’t you think Google will favor the cleaning companies who have a commercial street address as opposed to a home address or even worse, no address at all? If your answer was “Yes,” than you’re correct.
Consider the element of legitimacy for a moment. When you’re hiring a cleaning company for your office, do you want to hire a professional service that has a commercial location with company vans, industrial equipment, and therefore proper certifications, licensing, etc? Or would you rather hire some guy who took the broom out of his kitchen, put in his truck, popped up a website on Wix, and declares he’s a cleaning company too? While the example is a little harsh it’s what Google is taking into consideration among the other thousand factors their search engine looks at. They don’t want fly-by-night companies on the first page, brand new websites with no history in their search results, or unverified jokers winning out over serious companies. The bottom line is a commercial business location will always win favor with Google over home addresses, PO boxes, UPS store address, or no address at all.
Tips to consider
If you can’t get a commercial street address anytime soon, your home address is better than a PO Box or nothing at all. You also may want to consider sharing a physical commercial address with a friend who already has a business. If your friend’s business is a Pizza restaurant, that’s probably not a good look for your cleaning company as it might cause confusion. But if your friend has a generic looking store or office front, or they currently lease a generic industrial or commercial space, ask if you can get a “Suite number” at their building.
Virtual offices and co-working spaces are another possible solution. While some virtual offices only offer mail forwarding, others offer shared / co-working spaces. A co-working space typically rents communal work areas, conference rooms, and other professional physical amenities to people by the hour or even by the month. If they offer mail forwarding as well then you now have your physical location problem solved. It’s also nice to have a professional atmosphere that you can use to meet with client in person when necessary. These are just a couple ideas to consider.
Get your physical address on your website and everywhere else
The short answer is this: If people can’t figured out where you’re physically located by visiting your website then neither can Google. And Google is not going to list your location-less business / website when have plenty of options with physical addresses to fill their top 10 spots. In addition to adding the physical location of your business on the website, make sure you also have a Google My Business page that shows your physical location. When local searches for local business are done, the Google Map results often appear even before the regular search results. If you want to appear on this map, then you need to create and verify a Google My Business page. And you can’t get yourself on the map without having a physical location.
Adding a physical address to your website won’t rocket you to the top of Google’s first page overnight and there’s no guarantee that you’ll ever get there. However, listing a physical address for your business online puts you ahead of all your competition who doesn’t do it. Anything you can do to check a Google box will only help.