To counter fake reviews and questionable service firms, Google created a new customer protection feature called Google Guaranteed. The goal was to help professional service firms build a positive reputation for their business. The program places a badge – a white checkmark in green background – underneath the names of the firms that have passed the Google Guaranteed screening process.
What Is Google Guaranteed?
Google Guaranteed is available to companies that pass the Google screening through Local Service Ads (LSA) or its partners. It allows dissatisfied customers who get to your business through local service ads to claim reimbursement from Google up to the amount they paid for the initial service, but subject to a lifetime limit and Google’s absolute and sole discretion. In the United States, the reimbursement is up to $2,000.
The screening process is strict but covers many aspects of what customers, and a particular industry, consider to be characteristics of a trusted professional firm.
The screening requirements will vary from industry to industry, but most require:
- Background check – Depending on the structure of the firm, this includes a business check, owner check, and/or service professional check.
- Insurance check – This is usually liability insurance coverage, but can include malpractice if the search is for a law firm.
- License check – All applicable licenses include business licenses and owner licenses on the state level or state bar licenses if a law firm, and other relevant licenses.
The Google Guaranteed screening can become stricter than the requirements listed above, depending on specific industries:
- Each member of certain firms must pass the screening requirements. This can include real estate agencies, tax specialists, and law firms.
- Some industries require advanced verification, as they fall under the urgent/duress category responding to a time-sensitive, urgent need. Think of a locksmith or plumber whose customer has an event-driven need that requires immediate service.
Why Every Qualified Business Should Apply
There are a couple of reasons why your business should engage in Google Guaranteed. Let’s go over these now, and you’ll see why being a Google Guaranteed Plumber, Google Guaranteed Fencing Company, or any other applicable service is beneficial.
- Your competition is doing it. Go onto Google and search for your service. First appearing is a list of local service firms in the LSA that are Google Guaranteed. After reading the screening requirements above, you might think companies decide it’s not worth it. However, with a little research, you’ll see plenty of service firms in your area are Google Guaranteed.
- Customers do a quick search. Not all customers understand Google Guaranteed, but the green checkmark stands out. Research has shown that you have less than five seconds to catch your potential target’s eye. So being at the top with a green checkmark is undoubtedly going to make your business stand out.
- Instant verification of what the customer wants. Many customers want a licensed repair firm over a handyman. Sometimes their insurance, HOA, or other jurisdictions require a service firm to be licensed and insured. The Google Guarantee automatically confirms a service firm adheres to these requirements.
- It’s very cost-effective. Google charges $50 a month, or $600 a year, for the Google Guaranteed program. Leads will cost around $25, but that will depend on the industry. Businesses can also dispute leads that are not legitimate, for example, when the lead is outside the local area or when there is incomplete customer contact information, disabling you to do a follow-up.
- Your customer gets more information. Once a customer clicks on your local ad with the green checkmark, they’ll go to a page with more information about your company. The more information you have here, the more comfortable a customer will be. While even companies that don’t have the Google Guarantee have access to this page, your business will appear higher in this list and draw the customer’s attention during the time dedicated to their search.
What Industries Are Eligible for Google Guaranteed in the U.S.?
In the U.S., the following industries can apply for Google Guaranteed:
- Appliance repair
- Auto glass
- Auto repair
- Carpet and upholstery cleaning
- Event planning
- Financial planning
- Garage door installation
- Home cleaning
- HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning)
- Junk removal
- Lawn care
- Locksmith services
- Pest control
- Pet grooming
- Tree services
- Water damage restoration
- Window cleaning
- Window repair
Why Reviews Matter
In short, reviews are how a service firm appears on the LSA listing for any search, along with Google Guaranteed. The LSA listing order is based on a combination of positive reviews and proximately to the searcher. Therefore, the more service firms in an area, the more you’ll need positive reviews to appear higher in the search. Of course, you’ll need your Google My Business account to link the reviews to your LSA.
How Can a Small Business Do All of This?
It’s a lot to do, we’ll admit it. You need to make sure your Google My Business account is up to date, monitor reviews, verify leads, ensure quick response (this is a biggie for customer satisfaction), hours, pictures, and more. Also, you’ll need to ensure your LSA fits within your goals of lead generation, budget, postings, and more.
Look, you have a business to run, and you need a partner to help you present your business’s best interests and bring the leads to you. The Light Digital is a full-service digital marketing agency to handle all your online needs, from search results to conversions. Contact us to make the most of your Google LSA and start the process of becoming Google Guaranteed.