Google has finally launched its subscription-based model aimed at monetizing Google My Business (GMB) without aid from outside sources. In the pipeline since at least April 2019, Google Guaranteed certification offers small and local businesses a guaranteed profile marker that works to instill consumer confidence.
The Roots of Google’s Subscription-based Service
In the spring of last year, Google probed small business owners and digital agencies about the prospect of paid Google My Business services and profile boosts. The survey distributed asked about price points for a string of upgraded services that Google could roll out, including Google Guaranteed certification and verified profiles. If you’re familiar with social media platforms, for instance Twitter, think verified along those lines.
Google Guaranteed didn’t really take the SEO world by surprise. Most in SEO circles were more worried about Google retroactively charging for staple services that were already grounded in everyday work. On the contrary, Google Guaranteed has links to Google Local Service Ads, which aims to buoy confidence in consumers. This being said, Google Guaranteed seems to have outgrown its role as one part of Google Local Services, forging an identity of its own: a local business certification process. It’s now known to be involved in Google Home and Assistant search results.
Mirroring Market Trends: Google Joins the Fold
As the saying goes, if you can’t beat ’em: join ’em. Not that Google is really getting beat by anyone. In Google Guaranteed, Google joins others, like Yelp, in adopting more direct lines of revenue. Yelp had already primed small and local businesses for subscription-based services, offering a host of paid profile enhancements that totaled more than $1,000 per year. Taking Yelp’s lead, Google looked to tap untold shares of a rather sizable customer base: local and small businesses.
In Google’s eyes, large swaths of local and small businesses seemed either uninterested or immune to the Google Local Services charm. Or they tried it, didn’t see the results they were looking for, and opted out after a while. Google Guaranteed actively seeks to remedy the shortfalls of Google Local Services.
While no one outside Google can pin down exactly how much information Google has on businesses, we can rather safely assume it’s a lot: probably more than any other company. The United States Department of Commerce reports that there are approximately 30 million small-to-medium sized businesses in the U.S. You could estimate that Google populates somewhere in the millions of that number in their database. In fact, a recent report boasting almost a million company listings cited that nearly 50 percent of those listings were actively claimed by a business. That’s a market that Google’s looking to expand. And it’s not really hard to see why. That’s possibly north of one billion in additional yearly revenue, alone.
Some Historical Reference to Google Guaranteed
Historically, Google Guaranteed has been tied to home services. This includes things like locksmiths, plumbers, contractors, and home cleaning services. It might become apparent why in just a minute.
For a while now, Google has been actively trying to crack down on fraudulent services that pop up on their SERPs (search engine results pages). Sketchy trade skill workers and/or companies don’t do Google any favors, especially if their Local Pack spotlights their services right there on the SERP.
As we’ve mentioned, Google houses a dizzying amount of small-to-medium sized businesses in their database—and hosts an even greater number of content on their SERPs. And some of those businesses in question are not legitimate. Google regularly gets spammed with phony profiles interested in making a quick buck off an unsuspecting searcher. In that effect, Google Guaranteed acts as a sort of screening process too. As you’ll see, they’ve worked to bake their screening process in with the Google Guarantee.
What Google Guaranteed Does
We’ve talked at length about what Google Guaranteed does and is for Google, but what about for everyone else? What exactly is Google Guaranteed and why is it important to know about? Well, let’s get into that a bit, shall we?
Not included as part of the general Google Service Ads package, Google Guaranteed exists somewhat outside it—and as a guarantee badge to boost your business’ profile. The badge also extends to Google’s Local Pack, which can be beneficial in standing out from your competitors. And that’s part of the point. At least to an extent. While data on click through rate is not available, we can expect that there will be some affect. Maybe quite a lot.
What we do know is this: the guarantee badge draws attention, much like a verified stamp on Twitter or YouTube would do. What’s up to speculation. at least at this point, is how much influence Google Guaranteed may or may not command. Other subscription services Google has floated, such as CallJoy, ground to a halt. But Google Guaranteed shows promise, from both an SEO and ROI standpoint.
In addition to being a brand boost, Google Guaranteed stays true to its name: it’s a guarantee Google gives to consumers. Once your company is enrolled in the Google Guaranteed program, customers that access your business through Google have a sort of safety net. Google covers up to $2,000 in claims of the amount paid for customers who are not satisfied with services provided. The catch? To get this coverage from Google, customers have to book your services through Local Services.
Google Guaranteed does double duty: it ensures a (hopefully) better consumer experience and thwarts potentially deceitful practices from bad actors. In fact, Google Guaranteed has significant ties to Google’s screening process, with screening and qualification measures serving as prerequisites to earning that shiny, new Google Guarantee badge.
How do I get the Google Guarantee Badge?
To become Google Guaranteed, there’s a three-step process involved. First, your company needs to sign up for Google’s Local Services Ads. While the Google Guarantee is a distinct marker, Google still links the two in their registration process. Next, Google will perform a background check on your business. They screen your employees, and audit your current online reviews and ratings. Finally, Google verifies if your business is licensed and insured. This can be done quite easily; simply submit your proof of insurance and license number to them.
The longest leg in the Google Guarantee verification process will likely be the background check. This could take some time to complete, especially since Google goes through every employee before authorizing that verified check on your profile.
Where We Come In
Unfortunately, uncertainty seems to be a sign of the times. But your business doesn’t have to go it alone. We’re here at the ready for you and your return on investment (ROI).
As a full-service digital marketing agency, Uptick Marketing carries the know-how for your business to get started, or more strongly noticed, on the web. That includes the realm of SERPs, as well as services by Google. We can help you become Google knowledgeable, enroll in Google’s Local Services Ads, and receive your very own Google Guarantee stamp.
Not only that: We offer a range of services to ramp up your digital exposure, from pay-per-click (PPC) options to organic rankings on SERPs. We can help develop content, streamline your social media presence, spruce up your website, and overhaul your marketing plan. We take a tailored approach to digital marketing, where you can enlist the help of one of our experienced consultants who works to increase your overall ROI.
If you’d like to learn more about the services we offer, they’re here for you to view. However, we also offer custom approaches to suit your specific needs. Reach out to us and see how we can partner together to boost the ROI for your business! For more things SEO, be sure to browse through our blog for further Uptick takes on the latest trends.