Google always keeps the world on their toes by developing new products, making news headlines while being featured on 60 Minutes, and constantly innovating in the mass media advertising world. In the past two years, they have also started to revolutionize the local business ad space with Local Services by Google.
Three years ago, Google launched Home Service Ads, a selective ad program for home service providers that moved from a cost-per-click model to a pay-per-lead model. Fast forward to today, and that same program is now called Local Services by Google, servicing not only home service providers, but also dipping into industries like pet grooming and auto repair shops, among others.
What makes Local Services by Google unique?
Aside from not having to pay for merely ‘clicks’ to your website like with Google AdWords, Local Services by Google places selected providers at the top of Google searches and only charges these businesses for phone calls made from mobile devices or as they call ‘leads’. Clicks to a company’s profile on this new ad unit are completely free and do not cost like the old cost-per-click model.
Not only does this take the many AdWords pain points out of the hands of business owners, Local Services by Google also was designed to only display high quality businesses that earn the Google Guaranteed status.
What makes a business Google Guaranteed?
You may be asking, how does my business become Google Guaranteed? Well, Local Services by Google is only open to licensed and insured businesses in their respective service areas. For example, only locksmiths with an LCO license in California and general liability insurance are allowed to participate in the program. These businesses must also have their employees and business owner pass background checks.
These requirements are relevant for all categories of service providers, including plumbing, HVAC services, and auto repair. By requiring these items, this helps Google avoid fraudulent providers from spamming their AdWords content and enables small businesses to compete for local ad space.
Unlike AdWords, Local Services by Google does not favor bigger ad budgets for higher spots on Google Search. It considers reviews, the location of the search, and the job type being searched. This aims to not only protect the provider’s brand, but also helps build trust from customers.
Why you should only work with businesses with a Google Guarantee badge
Google aims to build trust in providers by featuring “Google Guarantee” badges on businesses in the Local Services program. Because businesses on this platform meet a certain criteria (licensed, insured, etc.), Google actually backs these businesses. This means if a customer faces an unfortunate event with one of these Google Guaranteed providers, Google will refund up to the amount paid for jobs booked through Local Services ads, “with a lifetime cap for coverage of $2,000”.
Where is Local Services by Google available?
While categories and regions for this program are constantly changing and shifting, this program is not available everywhere. Local Services by Google was once only available to businesses in the Bay Area, as a free service, but has recently expanded internationally. It is currently available in select countries and states, and categories and lead prices may differ by location.
If you’re looking to gain exposure online, without having to pay for clicks to your website, this might be a great solution for you and your business. This is another instance in which Google is aiming to provide better options for their clients’, especially the small to medium businesses. Now Joe’s Plumber doesn’t have to spend $10,000 a month to compete with Home Depot plumbing. He can simply put as much money towards leads as he wants, manage it through the app, and have his marketing experts continue to consult him on the ROI.