Google Places and Google Maps have a simple goal: to help customers find what they are looking for. As the services have developed, Google has refined Places in the same way it has refined all other services, and now your business model matters.
The old model: local is everything
Previously, Google Places and Google Maps focused entirely on the local availability of products and services. Local search results and local listings meant that businesses that did not have a local location were at a disadvantage. This meant many businesses created multiple local listings in an effort to show up in local search results, even when addresses did not necessarily actually serve customers.
The problem with the old model
This model that focused entirely on local ended up causing consequences that Google engineers did not like. Many local pages ended up duplicating content because the address or city names were the only differences. This old model was also sending customers to locations that did not necessarily offer the products and services they were looking for.
The new Maps: turn off your address
In the new Google Maps, there is a feature that allows businesses to turn off the display of their local address. Google encourages businesses to use this option if the customer is not supposed to actually go to the business. Not turning off your address listing could even harm your listing. According to the Google Places Help Files:
What are my options when defining a service area?
Don’t receive customers at your location? Serve customers at their location? Select the “Do not show my business address on my Maps listing” option within your dashboard — if you don’t hide your address, your listing may be removed from Google Maps.
Addresses do still mean something
Though Google is cutting local addresses out of some listings, that does not mean you can run a business entirely without an address. As an affiliate or a business that does not have a physical location, there are a multitude of ways to utilize location-based services to help build your businesses. In the end, you need a blend of styles and a variety of search engine optimization efforts. You should make sure you have location-based information for your business, but you should not focus solely on businesses addresses.