This is an overview of the new ad format being rolled-out across the United States by Google in certain industries and in certain markets. This is no longer in beta testing, but it is not in more than 30 markets as of this writing (12/18). Here are the basics that you need to know:
SHOULD I SIGN UP? Yes. Absolutely. Even if you don’t want to pay to use them you should have all of the paperwork out of the way just in case you ever want to turn these leads ads on.
Getting verified is the longest part of the process. Pinkerton takes around 1-2 weeks to verify your credentials. Save time by signing up before establishing a budget. It’s better to sign up immediately and wait to turn on the ads then to figure out a budget and wait for your verification to return.
WHAT ARE “GOOGLE GUARANTEED ADS”? Google is reformulating their search engine results page (SERP) to place these ads at the very top of the page giving the most visibility on the page. GOOGLE GUARANTEED ads are placed above the “Paid Ads” section. Google distinguishes them differently because there is a background-check required for GG and not for normal paid ads.
WHAT DO THEY SAY? Limited to business name, your ratings from Google, your service area, your phone number and your hours.
WHAT DO THEY DO? They are a lead generation source. So when a Google user dials that number in the ad it rings in your office and you are connected to the customer. These ads compete directly with Yelp, YP.com and all the aggregators that are out there collecting and selling leads.
HOW MUCH DO THEY COST? It depends on how many moving companies are using them but somewhere between $10–$40/per phone call.
WHAT IS GOOGLE GUARANTEEING? Google will pay up to $2000 on any claim made by a user of your Google tracking phone number. Google “Guarantees” satisfaction or your money back.
CAN I BE LISTED IN THIS “LOCAL SERVICE AREA” ADVERTISING IF I AM NOT PAYING FOR THE AD TO BE LISTED? Yes. You can be listed, but your ad may not appear at the top of the page if there are other competitors paying. If you are paying, your ad will say “GOOGLE GUARANTEED AD” with a little green checkmark after it. If you don’t pay, no mention of guarantee.
HOW DO I SIGN UP? Call Google, sign up online (Link:https://ads.google.com/local-services-ads/) or if you prefer call your SEO company. The process is a little lengthy, but worth it.
WHAT INFORMATION DOES GOOGLE WANT FROM THOSE SIGNING UP?
A full background check is performed for the business owner and the business itself by Pinkerton. During the sign-up process you will be asked sensitive information beyond your payment information. Be prepared to give out the following:
- Liability insurance
- Professional license
- CA State Household Goods Carrier Permit from CA PUC (where applicable)
- FMCSA Motor Carrier Registration Number
- NV State Certificate of Public Convenience & Necessity (where applicable)
- Date moved into business address
- Business number
- Number of owners
- Number of Field workers
- Owner birth date
- Credit card information
CONCLUSION: Check back with us as more markets are added. Right now we’re working on this service in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Tacoma-Seattle, Ft. Lauderdale/S. Florida, Los Angeles, Sacramento, New York Tri-State, Salt Lake City. More are being added all the time, but without notice.
Currently, the only categories are for tradesmen like locksmiths, cleaning services, plumbers, HVAC, electricians and garage door operators. Google has added moving companies, however, in a dozen or so markets, so it looks like they are expanding these Local Service Area ads beyond the household maintenance categories. It is important to note that of the movers, Google seems to be going after the “mom and pop” shops and not calling the major players.
The best way to see if your searches will be impacted is to Google “(your business category) (your city)”. If the ads appear at the top of the page you’ll know it’s time to start taking action to get your company registered and listed.
Good luck. Onward and upward!
The author, Bob Ottaway, is President and Founder of Ottaway Digital. Established in 1999, it has been a pioneer in SEO, digital advertising & social media since 2006.