What is the Google Guaranteed Program?
Google is changing the way home service businesses advertise with them.
If you are a company that enters people’s homes, you and your employees will now need to go through a background check to advertise on Google through the Local Service Ads program.
After passing the background check, which is completely free, Google will award you with a Google Guaranteed Badge and allow you to advertise in the Google Local Services Ads platform.
Above is how your business will appear on Google once you are approved for the Google Guaranteed program.
As you will notice, reviews are very important factor when customers will choose you.
Why does Google need a background check for my business? What gives?
Google decided to crack down on a wide spread scam involving locksmiths advertising on Google AdWords.
Here is how the scam went. The perpetrator would advertise their locksmith services on Google Adwords. Someone would get locked out of their home, pull up their mobile device to contact a local locksmith on Google, and the call would be routed overseas to a call center where they would then dispatch someone local with a drill bit to bust the doorknob and charge outrageous fees leaving the home owner upset, to say the least!
Google wants a better web and want to protect their end-users through the Google Guaranteed Program.
If you, as a customer, are not satisfied with the quality of work received, Google may refund you up to the amount paid for jobs booked through Local Services ads, with a lifetime cap coverage of $2,000.00.
By implementing this advertising program, when you now search for local services, such as a plumber for example, you can rest assured the company entering you home is thoroughly background checked and the company is completely certified and insured to perform the work contracted, thanks to Google.
Reputable companies will reap the rewards with the Google Guaranteed Program.
Companies traditionally advertise through Google Adwords. What that means is you either need someone in-house to manage your ads or you will need to hire a PPC company to manage your advertising for you.
Adwords is a very difficult platform to manage and pretty much requires a PhD to operate successfully, where the Local Service Ads platform can be operated directly from your mobile device with only one hour of training by a friendly Google representative.
No longer are they days of paying per click and competing on outrageous amounts. You will now enter a new world of pay per qualified lead.
How much do Local Service Ads cost?
Local Services ads puts trustworthy local electricians, locksmiths, plumbers, and other professionals in front of people who are looking to find and book quickly.
You only pay per lead, for plumbers it is around $20.00 – 30.00 per lead. You end up potentially saving thousands of dollars, even for the smallest advertising campaigns compared to standard PPC methods!
It has the PPC Industry up in arms as more as more companies are becoming Google Guaranteed. But there is still need for standard PPC advertising services, not all search terms will trigger the Google Guaranteed Results such as very long-tail keywords.
Leads can run anywhere between $10.00 to $30.00 per lead. The cost per lead varies on the category and home service market you are in.
Do I need to become Google Guaranteed?
Google Local Service Ads is a relatively new pay-per-lead advertising platform that reached 30 US markets by the end of 2017. It focuses on five core service categories:
- HVAC contractors
- Garage door service contractors
Additional business categories are being added such as handyman contractors, house cleaning companies, house painters, auto glass repair companies and general contractors.
There are also signs of the program reaching UK, Ireland and Canada this year.
Becoming Google Guaranteed is completely free. The background check does not cost you a dime, only your time.
Even if you choose not to advertise through Local Service Ads, becoming Google Guaranteed can still get you found through Google Home.
Google Home is a brand of smart speakers developed by Google. Google Home speakers enable users to speak voice commands to interact with services through Google’s intelligent personal assistant called Google Assistant, Much like the Amazon Eco device.
In short, yes, get Google Guaranteed and do not think twice about it, especially for something that does not cost you a dime.
What information is required for the background check to become Google Guaranteed?
All businesses that want to become Google Guaranteed go through a strict screening process required by Google and performed by Pinkerton. This includes a background check for any employee entering a home to perform a service, company license and insurance check as well as a screening of your online reviews and ratings.
The entire process takes approximately two or three weeks to complete.
You will need to prepare documents in PDF format that you can upload through forms as you proceed the registration process. We are strong believers in being pro-active, here is a list of items to prepare before you begin the process.
- Insurance verification
- Professional license verification
- Employees Social Security #
- Federal or state identification numbers.
- Employees Valid ID
What gives? What are they looking for with the Google Local Service Ads background check?
- They will investigate any civil litigation history (checking for judgments and liens from federal or state courts)
- They will investigate criminal history (which is crosscheck against terrorist/sanctions and national sex offender registries)
This process might seem a little intense, but it really is not that bad of a process.
They will also look at current reviews on Google, BBB, and other places across the web. The biggest reason why online reviews are important, is that it ultimately it increases your business validity and will give Google/Pinkerton the information they need to make the decision or ask questions.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? We all look at reviews when making a decision online!
Once approved, you will have a conference call with a friendly Google Representative that will walk you through the Local Service Ads platform.
What does the Google Local Service Ads platform look like and how do I set it up?
You will get a one on one walk through with a Google representative once approved, but to show you how easy it is, here is the process to set up the account.
When we say it is easy, it is easy, you only need a cell phone to manage your ads.
1. You enter your billing info then set select your service areas:
2.You enter your business hours:
3. You set your budget:
4. You select your categories you want to advertise in
Then, you turn it on with a flip of a switch! That’s all!
It really does not get much easier than that. You can easily turn on or off your ads in a matter of seconds and you also have the option to dispute a lead if you feel it is not qualified.
How can I join Google Local Service Ads?
First of all, if you do not have a Google My Business account set up we can help, this will be required.
Google will require that you have a physical place of operations to enter the program and begin the registration process – a business address.
All you need to do is fill out the self-sign up form and await a response from Google: https://www.google.com/adwords/local-services-ads/
Remember to have your documents scanned and ready to upload.
Use your Gmail account you use on your mobile device as you will be managing the account once live.
Google Local Services team may try to reach out to you directly via a phone call or email.
It may be a little difficult to work with Pinkerton and you may need to keep on them, this may not be the case for everyone, but please be diligent and most importantly, patient as the process takes 2-3 weeks.
What can I do to help improve my Google Guaranteed Results?
Reviews are a positive ranking factor, not only on Google Local Service Ads, but also where your customers can find you in various places across the web such as Yelp, Facebook, Yellowbook, etc.
XM Digital can help you reach more customers through text and email. We provide you with an automated tool that allows you to effortlessly ask your customers bout their experience, learn from their responses and market your positive feedback and reviews across the web.
Here are some online reputation statistics that every business owner needs to know:
- 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business.
- 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
- 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more.
We help you look good online, connect with more people and win more business:
- Monitor your online reputation.
- Get instant notification of negative reviews
- Showcase reviews on your website
- Easily send review request via text or email to your customers
- Customer survey
- Gauge employee/company performance with the Net Promoter Score
- Keep your customer-base happy and keep them talking about you online!
How you are requesting reviews from your customers and managing your online reputation? We can help!