If you’re thinking about setting up a business on Google Maps using a P.O. Box, think again. Google is no longer allowing business owners to create a business listing using a P.O. Box.
“Do not create listings at locations where the business does not physically exist. P.O. Boxes are not considered accurate physical locations. Listings submitted with P.O. Box addresses will be removed.”
It seems however, that there are still businesses on Google Maps with a P.O. Box as their business location. Word on the street is that they’ve been grandfathered in … which may or may not be true. If it is true, one must ask … How long will this last?
What Do I Do?
If your listing is currently showing up on Google Maps and you’re using a P.O. Box for your address, you have two options.
- Do nothing and continue to watch your listing.
- Change your P.O. Box address to a physical address and abide by Google’s new rules.
This can be a tough decision for a business owner with a P.O. Box address who is sitting high in the map results. Our experience shows that business owners using a P.O Box who change anything on their Place Page, (even something as innocuous as adding a photo) will have their listing placed on hold until they change their P.O. Box to a physical address.
Word of warning: If you are using a P.O. Box and you do not currently have a physical address … do not make any changes to your Google Place page … at least not yet.
On the other hand, if you’re serious about generating business from Google Maps, it is well worth your time to rent an office space or use your home address as your place of business. In my humble opinion, it won’t be long before Google eliminates all the businesses with a P.O. Box as their business address.
Can I use a Mailboxes Etc. or a UPS Store address for my business?
Google is smart enough to know where every Mailboxes Etc. and UPS Store is located. If they aren’t removing businesses who are using these addresses today, they will remove them in the very near future.
I would not take this chance. If you do, you will only have to change your address once again in the future after Google removes your listing. No doubt, this is a black hat technique.
What Are My Options?
There are a few things you can do to get a physical address.
- Use your home address.
- Rent an office space in the community you want to serve.
- Ask a friend if you can use his/her office address in the community you want to serve.
- Ask a friend if you can use his/her home address for your business listing. (not highly recommended)
Google is not trying to make life difficult for you. On the contrary, they are trying to provide searchers with the very best, most reliable results possible. My advice: follow the rules and get a physical address for you business. It will pay for itself quickly.