Say Hello to Google Local Services!

Say Hello to Google Local Services!

I’m sorry that I have to break it to you but…  AdWords is dying. Well, I’m not that sorry. I’m eager to tell you because Google Local Service Ads are a better option for local businesses than AdWords ever was.

Why? Because AdWords was an advertising tool that could be adapted for local businesses - with the right local keywords, it’s been possible to get to the top of Google’s SERP. 

But it was never intended specifically for a local service-based business.

That’s not the case with Google Local Service Ads. It’s designed especially for local businesses. Let’s talk about it – and about the Google Guarantee Badge.

Why is Local Search a Must?
Simply put, 75% of all local searches result in an in-store visit within 24 hours. This one statistic demonstrates the importance of local SEO. If you can attract a lead through a search, the odds are in your favor that the searcher will come to your business.

As Google focuses more on local SEO and searches, it’s natural that they’ve decided to offer searchers a way to verify local businesses. And that’s where Google Local Services comes in.

Google Local Services got its start as Google Home Services in 2015. It was originally a pilot program in the San Francisco market. It offered consumers some detailed and useful information about local businesses, including:
  • Confirmation that the business is properly licensed 
  • Confirmation that the business is properly insured
  • Confirmation that all employees have passed a criminal background check
That last requirement was part of the screening process for any company that made in-home visits. The intent was to provide customers with some peace of mind before they contracted with a business.

Once a business has passed Google’s screening, they’ll get a badge with a green checkmark next to it, and the words “Google Guaranteed.” That’s a signal to potential leads that your business is trustworthy.

What Does Google Guarantee Offer Consumers?
The Google Guarantee offers two things to consumers: peace of mind and financial protection. Here’s how it breaks down.

The first thing is that, as I mentioned before, the Google Guarantee tells potential leads that your business is licensed and insured and that your employees have passed a criminal background check. That’s essential in the home services industry.

The second thing the Google Guarantee offers is financial protection. Google will reimburse the money paid for a job when the consumer is dissatisfied. There’s a lifetime cap of $2,000 and the service must be:
  • Booked through Google Local Services
  • Unsatisfactory in quality
  • Submitted within 30 days of the work being completed
Per Google, “Add-on or future projects, damages to property, dissatisfaction with price or provider responsiveness, and cancellations aren’t covered.”

If one of your customers files a claim, Google will contact you to let you know. You’ll have a chance to work things out with your customer first. If that fails, Google will reach a verdict about how to handle the claim.

Where Do Google Local Services Ads Appear?
If you haven’t taken part in Google Local Service listings yet, you might be wondering “Why do I need to jump through hoops to complete Google’s screening process?
Well, there’s a couple of really good reasons. Let’s discuss this.

First, if you’re properly licensed and insured, the only other thing you need to do is get background checks for your employees. And frankly, if you’re sending your employees into people’s homes, that’s a good idea for every business.

Second, it’s all about the ad placement. Businesses that pass Google’s screening process get preferred placement on the SERP on both desktop and mobile devices.

On a desktop, business with the Google Guarantee Badge appears in a box above both the traditional Google 3-pack and the regular organic search results. The display will list:
  • Your company’s name
  • Your rating (from one to five stars)
  • Your Google Guarantee Badge
  • Your city and state
  • Your telephone number
  • Your business hours
Typically, the three companies with the highest ratings for the search term will appear at the top of the SERP. There’ll also be a link underneath the top three businesses that consumers can click to see more businesses.

On mobile devices, the Google Local Services ads appear above the SERP, too. Typically, the top two results will appear along with the name, badge, rating, and a call button that mobile users can click to contact you directly.

How Does Google Local Service Ads Benefit You?
Most people who perform a Google search never get past the first page of search results. In other words, it’s incredibly important for local business to rank for search if they want to capture leads and grow their businesses.

Google Local Service Ads and the Google Guarantee Badge can help you do both. If you have good reviews, then your business will be front and center when people search for your top local keywords.

Potential leads will know that your business has been guaranteed by Google. They can access reviews easily and be confident that you’re someone they can trust with whatever work they need.

Remember, in any sale process there’s a need to overcome buyer objections. One of the biggest objections, when people are looking for home services, is safety. They want to know that you’re reliable and that your employees can be trusted. The Google Guarantee Badge provides some peace of mind and takes the guesswork out of hiring you.

But here’s the best thing - While traditional ads operate on a pay-per-click basis, Local Service ads run on a pay-per-lead basis. That means you’re only charged for the leads you receive through your Local Service ad

And, compared to regular search ads, Local Service ads have a pretty simple setup. No keywords, research, or creative to manage.

Are There Any Downsides to Google Local Services?

I can’t say that there are any real negatives to qualifying for the Google Guarantee Badge, but FYI not every business can take part in this program.  Google’s Local Service Ads cater to local service-based businesses in specific industries, such as locksmiths, plumbers, garage door professionals, electricians, and HVAC services. To find out if you can connect to your customers with Local Service Ads, first confirm your business type and location here.

So if you’ll jump through some hoops – Google’s Local Service Ads can give your business a big leg up on your competitors and drive more high quality leads to your business.

Google AdWords is dying whether you’re ready or not. This is the perfect time to embrace Google Local Services, go through the screening process, and get that coveted green checkmark next to your name – so if you own a local service-based business - what are you waiting for? 

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