Some recent changes to Google Maps is going to make many business owners unhappy. It has been common practice for business owners to rent a UPS Store mailbox near a city they want to rank well in, despite being located somewhere else. Google Maps has initiated a lockdown that is telling business owners they can no longer use this popular SEO hack and PO boxes cannot be used as addresses in Google Maps.
Your UPS Store Address Will Disappear from Google Maps
This protocol will roll out to larger cities first and then eventually will hit all geo-located search results. Search results in mid-sized cities are already being affected as a result of this new enforcement. According to the Google guidelines, business owners must be able to make in-person contacts with their customer base during business hours, which means a PO box address will no longer work. Video rental kiosks and ATMs are the only exceptions to this.
In addition to this, co-working spaces that you do not lease will also be removed. Any place where ongoing service or meeting at any place where you do not own space or have the authority to represent will also be removed. An exception to this is doctors or lawyers that conduct business out of an office because they can be contacted in person at the address provided during business hours. Virtual offices and those using the local UPS store as their location are to be eliminated and the changes have already begun. The drive behind this fix is to address the fact that multiple businesses are being rewarded with better search results because of a fake address. The results being generated are not accurate, and Google wants to fix this so as to provide better SEO search engines.
If you run an online business or home-based office there are still ways you can appear on Google Maps. Instead of using a mailbox service for a business address, consider switching to a brand page on Google instead. You can then choose to designate a service area (known as a Service-Area Business) and can be qualified by Google Maps. No matter what you list as your office hours, be prepared for Google to check on this. Ongoing verification is the next step in continuing to ensure the legitimacy of the businesses listed on Google Maps.