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SEOmoz posted an interesting take on Google Places yesterday. The gist of the article tells how some local businesses have had their Google Places listing disappear because they don’t actually service customers at their location. That’s a slap in the face to many home-based businesses. It could happen to you.

Thankfully the article tells how to avoid that fate. Dare I let the cat out of the bag?

OK, you talked me into it. The key is to hide your local address. Yes, hide it. As in, make it invisible.

That could very well diminish your local search results, but if your Google Places listing is de-activated, then that will happen anyway.

Casting aside any temptation to make Google look like a bad guy, I’d like to instead ask you a question. Do you really need a Google Places listing? If you do any business locally, then I’d say you should have one. But is it the end of the world if your address isn’t visible? Do you really think it will make or break your local business?

With all the marketing channels available to small businesses today, I wouldn’t fret over one channel. You have to figure out how many of your local prospects would actually visit your Google Places listing. If your business is rural, it may not be that many. On the other hand, if you operate in a large metropolitan area, it could be much higher.

Like any marketing channel, you must ask yourself how important it is to your business. Then, act accordingly.

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