How to build Citations and hide your address – 103 citation sites to use

Posted by & filed under CitationBurst, Citations, CitationTracker.

How to build Citations and hide your address
Key 'Takeaways' From This Post
  1. Unless it’s 100% necessary, always display your address
  2. Hiding your address reduces your ability to rank in local search
  3. There are plenty of citation sites that do allow you to hide your address
  4. Some aggregators allow you to hide address, but this limits extent of their syndication
  5. Ranking in organic search for local terms may prove easier

How can I build citations but keep my address private?

As more businesses turn their gaze towards local online marketing this is a question that is asked more & more. ‘Local’ represents an untapped opportunity for them and they’re keen to squeeze the benefits from it.

But some of these businesses don’t tick the box of being a physical, local business, and so when it comes to publishing their address to would-be-customers they hit a stumbling block.

Why does a business want to hide their address?

For a typical local business that has an office, store or physical location, they’re happy for customers to know where they’re based. Even if these businesses don’t serve customers at their location they’re happy to make their address public knowledge.

But this isn’t the case for all businesses. From my experiences there are 6 typical main reasons why a business doesn’t want their address publicized:

  1. They don’t serve customers at their location and they don’t want customers to come knocking on their door
  2. They work in a sensitive business field – e.g. Therapists & counsellors – and they don’t want unsolicited customers coming to them
  3. They work from home and don’t want customers to know this in case it appears unprofessional
  4. They’re based in 1 location but actually serve a totally different area and they want to rank for searches in that locale
  5. They’re not really a local business but want to get benefit of local search traffic/visibility
  6. Their local office is a virtual office and doesn’t have staff on location so they don’t want customers to drop by

I’m sure that there are more good reasons but these 6 cover the majority of cases. Please provide a comment if you’ve come across others and I’ll update the post accordingly.

Does hiding your address limit your local ranking?

Short answer – yes it does.

Long answer – yes it does but you can still rank as long as you optimize the bejesus out of other signals and don’t work in a super competitive market.

The reasoning for this is pretty obvious. Local search is all about local businesses offering services in a specific area. If you’re a search user and you search for Accountants Pasadena you expect to see listings for accountancy firms in Pasadena. You don’t want to see listings for accountants in Hollywood or Santa Monica.

You want genuine local results and Google wants you to be happy so you come back to them again & again.

To this end Google strives to serve up businesses which it thinks are high quality & that are local. If you hide your address you make it much harder for Google to determine if you are a genuine local business.

But can I still appear in Google Local/Maps results with no address?

Yes you can still rank in Local results in Google’s blended results, and also on maps.

Here are 2 screenshots showing a business with a hidden address ranking #2 in local & maps results:

Google Blended Results

Rank in google local results with hidden address

 

 

Google Maps Results

Rank in google maps with hidden address

Ranking 2nd in Google Maps with Address Hidden

 

 

 


 

 

Do you REALLY need to hide your address?

This is the big question that every good local search consultant or agency asks their clients. Another way of phrasing it is:

Which is more important to you, winning more customers or keeping your address a secret?

Given that hiding your address hampers your ability to rank in local search, then all business owners should think carefully about their answer.

So what if the final answer is No, and the business owner really doesn’t want their address displayed? What options do they have when it comes to citation building and should they even bother?

Don’t despair, there are some options and I consider these below.

Virtual Offices, PO boxes & other slippery fish

Well if you won’t show your actual address, then can you get an alternative address and display this publicly?

Yes you can but the tactic has its pitfalls and can do more harm than good if tackled badly.

Virtual Offices – Using a virtual office is quite common practice and has worked well in numerous cases. However Google is alert to the fact that many businesses do this and actively spots locations where virtual office space exists. So over time Google gets smarter & wiser, making the practice of using Virtual Offices less beneficial and eventually harmful to you because Google will reduce the trust it has in businesses listed at these locations.

PO Boxes are a non-starter, so if you’re considering using a PO Box don’t do it for search reasons but for other, genuine businesses needs.

Alternative, genuine office – If you want a solid, long term option then business owners should seriously consider getting an alternative office that carries your name, has a phone line and even a desk which is manned part or full time. This will cost you more of course but it does give you a genuine, real location to promote.

The returns from improved search ranking > customers > revenue may well be worth it in the medium to long term.

How to build citations and keep your address private

If you or your client categorically want to keep the address private then where does this leave you when it comes to citations?

Well it does limit the opportunity, because the vast majority of citation sites do force you to display your address. But there are a decent number of sites, many with medium-high authority, that allow you to hide certain parts of your address.

Before we look at these sites, lets do a quick review of the citation building techniques and which of these will work for you.

Aggregators

2 of the 4 main aggregators (see below) do enable you to hide your address. You do need to provide them with your address but you can then specify that you are a Home Business or that you explicitly want to hide your address.

However in doing this you will limit the effectiveness of using an aggregator. Many of the sites they syndicate to will not take your listing without an address. Therefore you pay the full amount but only get partial distribution.

  • Localeze – YES you can hide address
  • Axciom – YES you can hide address
  • InfoUSA – NO you can’t hide address
  • Factual – NO you can’t hide address

Yext

Yext requires you to provide your address because some of its distribution partners require it. I took this passage from their T&Cs:

“Currently, Yext PowerListings is available only for businesses that have a physical street address (which cannot be a post office box). Some partners in the Yext Network do not accept listings without a street address, and so we are unable to process listings without them“

MozLocal

Yes you can use MozLocal however the process is a little unclear.

Before Moz will upload your listing to it’s aggregator & directory partners they need to check (‘Validate’) your listing against Google+ or Facebook Places to check the data is correct.

So you need to provide your address for them to do this. If you want your address to remain hidden you must state that your business is a ‘Home Business’ on the CSV file you upload to Moz.

Doing this will keep your address hidden when pushed out via aggregators, but again the distribution will be restricted only to sites which accept listings with no/hidden addresses.

See this thread from their forum – http://moz.com/community/q/how-does-moz-local-work-with-business-that-don-t-have-a-physical-location-e-g-handyman-locksmith-etc

UBL

Yes UBL can be used but again their offering is limited by the lack of address. They submit to certain sites directly – many of which do allow addresses to be hidden – but they aggregator distribution is to InfoUSA & Factual, both of which don’t accept listings without an address.

Direct-to-Site Submissions

This approach offers you the most flexibility. You can hand pick the specific sites that you want to submit to. You can select the sites that DO allow you to hide your address and avoid those that don’t.

We have curated the following list of sites (103 in total) which allow you to hide your full address or just part of your address. This list focuses on directories, review sites etc…if doesn’t list Google+ or aggregator but if you’ve read the rest of the blog above you’ll know the score on these!

Citation sites that allow you to hide your address

Site / (Authority)
Hide Add Line 1?
Hide Full Add?
Hide Zip?
Country
brownbook.net (63/100)Yes
Yes
Yes
AUS/CAN/UK/USA
where2go.com (58/100)
Yes
No
No
AUS/CAN/UK/USA
poidirectory.com (41/100)
Yes
No
Yes
AUS/CAN/UK/USA
supportlocal.com (36/100)
Yes
No
No
AUS/CAN/UK/USA
bing.com (98/100)
Yes
YesYes
AUS/CAN/UK/USA
yelloyello.com (38/100)
Yes
No
Yes
AUS/CAN/UK/USA
callupcontact.com (31/100)
Yes
Yes
Yes
AUS/CAN/UK/USA
list-company.com (39/100)
YesYesYesAUS/CAN/UK/USA
dentistryinworld.com (32/100)
YesYes
Yes
AUS/CAN/UK/USA
2findlocal.com (67/100)
YesNo
YesAUS/CAN/UK/USA
foursquare.com (93/100)
YesNo
No
AUS/CAN/UK/USA
yelp.com (94/100)
YesNo
Yes
AUS/CAN/UK/USA
hotfrog.com (72/100)
YesNo
No
AUS/CAN/UK/USA
us.enrollbusiness.com (40/100)
YesNo
No
AUS/CAN/UK/USA
wand.com (51/100)
YesNo
No
AUS/CAN/UK/USA
mysheriff.au.com (27/100)
YesNo
No
AUS
mysheriff.ca (31/100)
YesNo
No
CAN
pinbud.com (42/100)
YesNo
Yes
CAN/UK/USA
business-listings.com (43/100)
YesNo
No
CAN/UK/USA
angieslist.com (89/100)
YesNo
No
CAN/USA
expobusiness.com (41/100)
YesYes
Yes
CAN/USA
mysheriff.co.uk (39/100)
YesNo
No
UK
localstore.co.uk (37/100)
YesNo
No
UK
internetbusinessdirectory.co.uk (29/100)
YesNo
No
UK
linkbyme.com (46/100)
YesYes
Yes
UK/USA
fixr.com (55/100)
YesNo
No
USA
local.botw.org (78/100)
YesYes
Yes
USA
mineeds.com (41/100)
YesNo
No
USA
wherezit.com (32/100)
YesNo
No
USA
local.com (79/100)
YesYes
Yes
USA
nc.newbernsj.com (64/100)
YesYes
Yes
USA
pro-bids.com (22/100)
YesYes
Yes
USA
local.informallearning.org (41/100)
YesYes
Yes
USA
couponfield.com (29/100)
YesNo
No
USA
manta.com (87/100)
YesYes
Yes
USA
mysheriff.net (29/100)
YesNo
No
USA
elocal.com (63/100)
YesNo
No
USA
freebusinessdirectory.com (26/100)
YesNo
No
USA
ussmallbizdirectory.com (20/100)
YesYes
Yes
USA
checkmyreviews.com (21/100)
YesNo
No
USA
homestars.com (60/100)
YesNo
No
USA
xplorlocal.com (19/100)
YesYes
Yes
USA
bizlistdirectory.com (20/100)
YesYes
Yes
USA
ezlocal.com (60/100)
YesNo
No
USA
mojopages.com (78/100)
YesNo
No
USA
superpages.com (88/100)
YesNo
No
USA
directory.wfaa.com (77/100)
YesNo
No
USA
inktown.whas11.com (65/100)
YesNo
No
USA
yellowpages.ny1.com (81/100)
YesNo
No
USA
localpages.com (55/100)
YesNo
No
USA
localndex.com (30/100)
YesNo
No
USA
lawguru.com (71/100)
YesYes
Yes
USA
merchantcircle.com (88/100)
YesNo
No
USA
yahoo.com (100/100)
YesYes
Yes
USA
ibegin.com (67/100)
YesNo
No
USA
us.justdial.com (57/100)
YesNoNo
USA/CAN
biztha.com (24/100)
YesNo
Yes
AUS/CAN/UK/USA
idirectory.com (42/100)
YesNoYes
AUS/CAN/UK/USA
pubcrawler.com (48/100)
YesNoNo
AUS/CAN/UK/USA
agfg.com.au (46/100)
YesNoNo
AUS
aubiz.org (43/100)
YesNoNo
AUS
australia.pinbud.com (42/100)
YesNoNo
AUS
australiabusinesslive.com (17/100)
YesYes
Yes
AUS
australianguide.net (32/100)
YesYes
Yes
AUS
australianplanet.com (40/100)
YesNo
Yes
AUS
australiaonlineadvertising.com.au (36/100)
YesYes
Yes
AUS
bestlocaloffers.com.au (11/100)
YesNo
No
AUS
brisbane-australia.com (37/100)
YesNo
No
AUS
bubhub.com.au (52/100)
YesNo
Yes
AUS
byronbaydirectory.com.au (25/100)
YesYes
No
AUS
cairns-australia.com (35/100)
YesNo
No
AUS
companylist.com.au (31/100)
YesNo
No
AUS
dynamicsearch.com.au (29/100)
YesNo
Yes
AUS
enterprisesearch.com.au (48/100)
YesYes
Yes
AUS
ferret.com.au (44/100)
YesYes
No
AUS
freeadlists.com (36/100)
YesNo
Yes
AUS
habeshalink.com (19/100)
YesNo
Yes
AUS
handyshippingguide.com (36/100)
YesYes
No
AUS
hotfrog.com.au (61/100)
YesNo
Yes
AUS
ineedto.com.au (22/100)
YesYes
Yes
AUS
infolink.com.au (44/100)
YesYes
No
AUS
kidspot.com.au (63/100)
YesNo
No
AUS
livepages.com.au (24/100)
YesNo
Yes
AUS
local.com.au (34/100)
YesYes
No
AUS
localbd.com.au (38/100)
YesNo
No
AUS
localbusinessguide.com.au (35/100)
YesNo
Yes
AUS
localbusinesssearch.com.au (29/100)
YesYes
No
AUS
localharvest.org.au (34/100)
YesNo
Yes
AUS
ourguides.com.au (35/100)
YesYes
Yes
AUS
ozescape.com.au (22/100)
YesNo
No
AUS
portdouglas-australia.com (20/100)
YesNo
Yes
AUS
premiumdirectoryscript.com (24/100)
YesYes
No
AUS
seeklocal.biz (19/100)
YesNo
No
AUS
startlocal.com.au (54/100)
YesNo
No
AUS
sunshinecoast-australia.com (34/100)
YesNo
Yes
AUS
superpages.com.au (33/100)
YesNo
No
AUS
thelocalweb.net (42/100)
YesYes
No
AUS
whitepages.com.au (80/100)
YesYes
No
AUS
whitsundays-australia.com (36/100)
YesNo
No
AUS
womenwise.com.au (24/100)
YesNo
No
AUS
yelp.com.au (59/100)
YesNo
Yes
AUS
zpages.com.au (47/100)
YesYesYesAUS

 

Extra Resources & Reading

  • Phil Rozek on LocalVisibilitySystem -

http://www.localvisibilitysystem.com/2013/04/22/private-local-citations-where-can-you-list-your-business-but-hide-your-address/

  • Mike Blumenthal post on LocalU.org – Feb 2013

http://localu.org/blog/should-i-hide-my-address-at-just-google-or-everywhere/

Myles Anderson Myles Anderson

About the Author

In my capacity as CEO, i get involved in all areas of the business but my 2 biggest passions are our 'Tools' and our 'Customers'. It's my job to ensure that we continue to extend and improve our tool-set to meet our customers ever-changing needs. But it's just as important that we deliver excellent customer service to match our tools - one without the other just doesn't cut it!

16 Responses to “How to build Citations and hide your address – 103 citation sites to use”

  1. Linda Buquet

    Hi Myles, great post!

    “I’m sure that there are more good reasons but these 6 cover the majority of cases. Please provide a comment if you’ve come across others and I’ll update the post accordingly.”

    The BIGGEST reason for hidden addresses is that it’s a Google My Business violation to have the address visible if:

    1) You are a service area business and serve customers that the customer location

    2) If it’s a home based business

    3) If your location is not staffed during business hours. Note: If it’s by appointment only, technically I don’t think you are allowed a listing at all.

    Also note #5 won’t really benefit from local citations anyway if it’s not a local business, they can’t have a G+ Local page. They could try to rank in organic, but you don’t really need citations for organic.

    #6 Virtual offices don’t qualify to have a Google Local page, so if Google Local is part of your local strategy, that one is not advisable (even if address is hidden).

  2. Chris Sanfilippo

    Myles, thanks for putting this research together. Do you see that the floating icons and hidden address are only present in low competition locations and niches? I’ve been seeing less and less of them.

  3. Phil Rozek

    Great research, Myles. As you know from my posts, the trend over the last couple of years has been that more and more sites let you hide your address. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the big sites that currently don’t let you hide the address – like ExpressUpdate.com – flip over as well.

  4. Myles Anderson Myles Anderson

    Thanks Phil. It’s certainly encouraging for home businesses/service area businesses – hope we’ll more sites become flexible on this.

  5. Myles Anderson Myles Anderson

    Hi Chris, actually I see that many of the larger directories allow businesses to hide their location. These sites and more sophisticated and more aware of the legitimate needs of certain businesses to keep their address private.

    I’m not sure what you mean by ‘floating icons’ – ?

  6. Myles Anderson Myles Anderson

    Hi Bob. Yes we are. We curated this list from the database of sites that we regular submit to, so we are able to submit to these and hide the address.

  7. Mark Arciaga

    Hi Myles,

    Amazing, i’ll bookmark this one….it really help me a lot on how/why they need to hide their address, i like the question & answer section of your blog.

    thanks and god bless

  8. Myles Anderson Myles Anderson

    Hi Linda – thanks for adding some great insight here. I didn’t include the Google Violation piece for 2 reasons –

    1. The piece is more focused on other citations, rather than G+
    2. Most SMBs have other, more real-world reasons for not displaying their address

    But i will add a paragraph to the post which mentions this – so thank you.

    About your other comments –

    #5 – this doesn’t stop non-local businesses from trying – every week we get 1 or 2 enquiries from pure-play online businesses asking about how they can play at local search – they’re desperate to gain an advantage & extra traffic where they can. Most do give up when their grasp the significance of displaying their address.

    #6 – i agree that Virtual Offices are not advisable but people do use them and don’t let on to Google that the address is Virtual. Yes this breaks Google guidelines and Google is rapidly becoming more knowledgable about virtual office locations, but many people are making this approach work for them right now.

    Hope your re-working of your course materials is coming on nicely – just hope that big G doesn’t change the damn brand name again!

  9. Paul Thompson

    Since you asked for additional reasons for hiding addresses…

    I’ve had a number of Local clients who have legitimately licensed home-based offices – but they’re businesswomen who live alone and are very reluctant to list their addresses for that reason.

    All the choices you list apply to them so they have to decide their priorities/comfort level, but just thought you might want to list another reason why some would prefer not to.

    Paul

  10. Angela

    In regards to the virtual office, what happens if it’s a coworking space so there are dozens – if not more – who have that address as their actual address?

  11. Angela Wright

    Brilliant work Myles. Especially appreciate the inclusion of Aus, NZ and UK citations.

    My focus is enabling your customers to become your sales and marketing team through my unique Reputation Optimisation strategy and I study carefully your, Linda and especially Phil’s recommendations in support of this :)

  12. Myles Anderson Myles Anderson

    @Paul – thanks for the comment and for adding a fresh reason to why businesses might want to hide their address. You’re correct that this does fall into 1 of the existing reasons but I hadn’t consider the ‘safety’ aspect for female business owners – only for Therapists/Counsellors. I won’t add this as a specific extra reason but it’s great to mention this in the comments in case SEOs do encounter this reason/issue with new clients.

  13. Myles Anderson Myles Anderson

    @Angela – the co-working set-up is different to virtual offices as the person/business is actually located there. The big draw back of this set-up is the fact that each business has an identical address and even phone number (in the case of many co-working spaces). This is confusing for Google and can lead them to do silly things such as remove listing or merge listings between 2 businesses that are entirely separate.

    But if you’re able to get a distinct address – i.e. a Suite number – & a unique phone number then this should resolve many of these conflicts

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