Your business address is a foundational element to your local SEO efforts. Google uses your address in combination with your business name and phone number (also known as NAP) to determine which cities to rank you in.
This is also the information displayed on your Google business page better known as your Google My Business profile.
46% of all searches on Google are local. This means that customers using Google to find local services in their area are searching for similar keywords like “near me” or “in [city]”.
72% of customers who performed a local search visited the store’s location within 5 miles. The other 28% either went to a store further away or didn’t travel to the business’s location.
But how are they able to find the location?
An accurate business address for the store on a search engine.
If your business is listed on Google in searches, your address is listed too. Nowadays, we are so reliant on using GPS applications on our phones to find a local store rather than looking around for it ourselves.
But even if we didn’t use a GPS app like Google Maps, and we did it the old-fashioned way of looking at street signs, where are we going to find the business’s address in the first place?
If you guessed Google, you’re right!
On a Google search, your business’s address will show in 1 of 2 places.
The local 3-pack (also known as the map-pack) via Google Maps.
Or in a business knowledge panel on Google search results.
Both of these addresses are connected to Google My Business (GMB).
Both affect your local SEO efforts to rank on Google and stand out from your competition in your area.
If your business address isn’t showing at all or is inaccurate, then you’ve lost customers. Not everyone wants to call you for the address.
How Do I Change My Address on Google?
The only way to change your business address on Google is through Google My Business (previously Google Places).
While it’s simple to acquire a Google My Business listing for your business (it’s free), it can become an obstacle course to add or change your business listing.
First thing’s first, claim your business using GMB. Your business may already be on Google without you having created and claimed your GMB listing.
The process for claiming your GMB listing on Google is simple either way.
Add your business to GMB:
- Create a Google email account
- Head over to Google My Business
- Claim your business by following the steps with accurate information
- Verify your account through 1 of the 4 methods of verification (the recommended and oldest method is via sending a postcard through snail mail to your location because that is the most genuine and credible process for Google and will save you a massive headache)
Claim your business that’s already on Google:
- Create a Google email account
- Click on “own this business” in the business knowledge panel
- Finish the steps outlined above for the regular verification methods
Now that you’ve claimed and verified that you are the proper owner of the business’s location, there are 2 ways to change your business’s location. Start by logging into your GMB account and click on your business’s location that has the address you’d like to change.
Edit the Address
To directly change the address, you can simply go to the Info section on the GMB dashboard then click on your address to make the necessary changes.
After you make the changes, click Apply to finalize your edits. Edits need to be reviewed by the Google Support team (most likely just one of the many algorithms of Google will review it) and can “take up to 3 days to be published” on Google searches and maps.
Edit the Pin Marker
Let’s say that the address is accurate on Google searches and maps, but the pin marker is wrong!
Can this even happen?!
Yes, this can occur and it’s quite strange.
The pin marker and the address must both be accurate. Essentially, the pin marker is in charge of GPS directions. If the marker is on the other side of the street or pointing to a ditch in the forest, your customer is going to be quite confused.
Changing your pin marker is just as easy as editing your address and follows the same steps. Go to the Info section on your GMB’s location dashboard and click on the address.
Next, grab and drag the pin marker to the appropriate location on the map to reposition. You can change the look of the map by selecting Satellite for a realistic view if that helps you.
The best rule of thumb for repositioning the pin marker is to put it at the front door of the building since that’s where you want customers to walk through. Otherwise, you could be leading them to the dirty alley in the back. Yuck.
|EDITOR’S NOTE: If you move the pin marker, triple-check that the address on your dashboard didn’t change. If it was accurate before the marker repositioning, it might be inaccurate now or vice versa.|
Do NOT Make Edits to Your Listing During Address Changes
I can’t stress enough how no-touchy-anything should be your first instinct after changing something as important as your business address or pin marker.
Google considers address changes to be one of the most important edits to your listing aside from your business name.
If you make an edit to your GMB listing of this magnitude, Google may not accept the changes. In fact, they could ask for you to re-verify your listing, which could remove your listing completely off of search results and maps.
Worst case scenario: Your account becomes suspended and is removed from Google and you can’t touch it in your GMB dashboard. This is when you have to contact GMB support directly to get reinstated.
During the review process of your new address or pin marker position, making even minor edits to your GMB listing could lead to Google rejecting your address change. So, DO NOT TOUCH THE LISTING… for your own sanity.
Honestly, Google is typically super quick to accept a new change to your business information. It may be as quick as 30 seconds.
If You Have a Service Area Business
All of the information above is great if you have a physical office or storefront for customers to walk into, like a retail store. But what if you are a business without a storefront?
To claim a business, you must have a business address. That’s just standard with GMB accounts.
However, this business address doesn’t have to show on Google searches or maps. In many cases, it really shouldn’t.
Home addresses can be displayed on Google as a business address and this works for some businesses like a hair salon.
If you are a locksmith who never meets up with customers at your home, do not display your address – Google might suspend your account.
If your business address is your home, do you really want people to come to your home? Probably not, and neither does Google.
Not displaying your address is as simple as requesting Google to not display it during your claiming process. When you are claiming your business listing, Google will ask if you want to add an address that customers can visit. Just select No and Google won’t display it.
What will display instead?
Typically the area (city) in which you service.
If you finally acquire a physical address where customers can meet with you, you can always add the address by following the same steps aforementioned.
How Else Can My Business Address Be Changed on Google?
You’re not the only one who can change your business’s address. While it may take time and a lot of work, your competitors and customers could say that you aren’t at the address that’s displayed on Google.
On any business listing, Google offers the option for the community to make edits to a listing. This goes through a review process as well, so it’s not as simple for someone without permissions to the GMB listing’s dashboard to make edits.
How can they do this?
Just select the business listing on Google and click “Suggest an edit”.
A customer can make a variety of changes to the business’s information section. If you’ve already verified your listing at your accurate address, the chances of Google changing the address based on “customer” edits are 1 in 1,000,000.
Customers and competitors aren’t the only ones who may change your business’s address – Google might change it!
Google gathers data from a variety of websites on the world wide web for the most accurate information. Data sources for addresses include local directories like Yelp or the Better Business Bureau. The main data source is your website (if you have one).
Your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) should stay consistent across all pages hosting your business information for the general public.
If Google crawls even 1 page that has an inaccurate address, they could change your address. By the way, you won’t get notified of this change unless you go to your dashboard to look for any updates.
Honestly, sometimes working with Google can be one of the most stressful and complicated situations you’ll run across. They aren’t very open to communication and they tend to rely on their algorithm to have all of the answers.
If you want to change your business address, just claim and verify your GMB listing, make the edit, and cross your fingers that Google doesn’t mess anything up.
Google My Business accounts have started to become a new form of a social media platform, but they’re found in search results. If you treat GMB as a living, breathing system, you’ll better understand how to work around things and troubleshoot.
Guest article from Joseph Jones, Director of SEO at Beyond Blue Media.