Using Google Places is a great way for a small business to get online and listed in local search. You can provide information about your business — what you do, your location, a link to your website, contact information, hours of operation, photos, videos, and also promotions for your business. But what do you you do if you work from home? You probably don’t want your home address listed in a local search. Google doesn’t want you to use a PO Box location for your Places page either.
Google has a solution for work-at-home businesses though. When you create your Google Places listing, you enter your home address, but there is a check box to hide your actual street address in the search listings, and you can specify a service area instead. See the FAQ at Google Places for Business.
When you get to the section labeled “Service Areas and Location Settings, Does your business provide services, such as delivery or home repair, to locations in a certain area?”, you choose the radio button, “Yes, this business serves customers at their locations.” As soon as you check, “Do not show…,” another section drops down that will allow you to check, “Do not show my business address on my Maps listing.”
Then you can choose a service area for your business based on distance from your location or you can select areas of service, based on a city names and/or zip code areas.
Once you have completed your Places page, Google verifies that you own the business. For a business with an actual location, they will call the business phone number you provided and give you a PIN. When you use your home address and hide it in the search listing, they send a PIN in the mail addressed to your business with Attn: to your name, which takes up to two weeks. Once you receive the PIN, you can login to your Places account, and add the PIN to the “Needs Action” section in your Dashboard.
Also don’t worry about completing the entire listing at one time. You can login and edit it as often as you like. The most important information to start your page is your contact information, the Category of business, and the Service Areas and Location Settings.
Get started today with Google Places for your home-based business at Google Places for Business. More instructions are in the Google Places for Business User Guide.