We all know that Google is one of the most well-known brands on Earth. Because of this, it makes sense leveraging your connection with it could help elevate your business. You’ve likely already listed your business on Google and made sure the information is accurate and up-to-date. But, could you take it even further? Well, yes, actually you can! Depending on your industry, you may be eligible to get your company Google Screened and/or Google Guaranteed, but should you? Let’s find out more!
Why Might it Be Important?
Google has done such a great job branding themselves that they have managed to make their business name into a verb. We don’t “search” for information anymore, we “Google” it. This showcases a high level of consumer trust as it pertains to the business itself. In other words, we have come to rely heavily on Google for their direction when making decisions about our day-to-day lives. We use it to find service providers, restaurants, read reviews and more. It makes sense, then, that getting “screened” or “guaranteed” by Google could help your business. You can benefit by establish trust and standing out as an industry expert in your chosen field. So, the next question becomes, what is the difference between the two?
Understanding “Google Screened”
Businesses and individuals who have passed the Google Screened vetting protocol will appear with a green checkmark next to their name on Local Service listings. Currently, however, this option is only available to professional firms providing Law, Financial Planning and Real Estate services and is limited to certain markets in the United States. In other words, it’s not an option that just anybody can benefit from.
If you are an eligible business in one of these markets, however, you will actually need this approval in order to run Local Service Ads (which show up at the very top of the search results page). In order to further qualify for the program, your business must have a Google star rating of at least 3.0. Though you should be aware this program is currently still in the testing phase. If you meet these requirements, there are still a few hoops you will have to jump through.
Additional Badge Requirements
- Business-Level Background Check: Every business that applies will need to pass a background check.
- Business-Owner Background Check: Every business owner that applies will also need to pass an individual background check.
- Employee Background Checks: In certain circumstances, every employee (including independent contractors, temp hires, et cetera) who may perform services on the business’s behalf must have a background check run, as well.
- Insurance Checks: Any category that requires general liability insurance will also need to submit their active certificate of insurance.
- License Checks: In certain circumstances, business owners will be required to provide proof of any applicable state or local licenses they are required to hold.
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All checks are performed by local partners and remain 100% confidential. Failure to pass a background check will deem your business ineligible to participate in the Google Screened program. This program comes free of cost to the business, other than the costs associated with running Local Service Ads, which will vary from area to area.
What is Google Guaranteed
Getting “Google Guaranteed” has a lot of similarities to getting “Google Screened.” For one thing, regardless of which you choose, it will still appear as a green check mark next to your business name on Local Service listings. The application process is also quite similar, in that both require multiple layers of screening and the screening procedure is done in the same way.
The biggest difference here is that being Google Guaranteed provides new clients who have found their way to you by connecting or booking through Google with a money-back guarantee of up to $2000 (per lifetime and depending on region) if they are not fully satisfied with the work that you provide. The Google Guaranteed Program also focuses solely on home services (for now) like home cleaning, pet grooming, or tree services, to name a few.
It’s also important to know that there is a cost associated with the Google Guaranteed Program. The base fee to become a member is $50/month (or $600 annually). However, this does not take into consideration the costs associated with each lead that is generated as a result of your ads. Costs will vary depending on outside factors, but the average cost per lead is around $25.
Which Option is Best for You?
Obviously, one of the quickest ways to decide which option would work best for your business is to determine your eligibility and to check the business categories the programs currently support. But just being eligible doesn’t mean you have to sign up. Start by asking yourself what the benefits are of doing so. Are you currently running Local Service Ads? Is it something you would like to begin? Is the cost of running ads worth the benefit? Are the programs available in your part of the world? Google Guaranteed is currently running in the United States and Canada. It’s also in UK, Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland.
How to Apply
If you’ve determined that it is in your companies’ best interest to proceed with the application process, there are a few things you’ll need to do. First, get all of your necessary documentation together and go through it in advance. This will help prevent any surprises along the way. Next, check out your reviews and make sure they are reflecting your business in a positive light. If there are a few negative ones, address them directly. Then, simply fill out the required paperwork by signing up for Local Services Ads and hit submit! Google will let you know shortly where you stand! Best of luck!