Something that popped up on our radar, in April of 2019, is the Google Guaranteed Badge. This certification offers small and local businesses a guaranteed profile marker that works to instill consumer confidence. There was some talk about a subscription based service, sort of like paying to be a premium listing (I wrote about it here), but it looks like Google has finally launched the rumored subscription-based model that is aimed at monetizing Google My Business (GMB) without aid from outside sources.
What is Google Guarantee?
The Google Guarantee badge is available for businesses that pass a Google screening and qualification process through Local Services Ads.
If you’re backed by the Google Guarantee, and your customers (that came to your business through Local Services Ads) aren’t satisfied with the quality of your work, Google may, in its absolute and sole discretion, reimburse the customer up to the amount paid for the initial service, subject to a lifetime limit. The following are the upper limits of lifetime limits per customer in each country:
United States: $2,000
Canada: CAD $2,000
United Kingdom: GBP £1,500
Ireland: EUR €1,500
Spain: EUR €1,500
France: EUR €1,500
Italy: EUR €1,500
Netherlands: EUR €1,500
Germany: EUR €1,500
Austria: EUR €1,500
Belgium: EUR €1,500
Switzerland: CHF ₣2,000
What Google May Reimburse
- If a customer is not satisfied with the quality of your work, Google may, in its absolute and sole discretion, reimburse the customer up to the amount on the job invoice for the initial services provided by you, up to a lifetime limit.
- Services must be booked through Local Services Ads. Google won’t reimburse for add-on or future projects, damages to property, dissatisfaction with price or provider responsiveness, or cancellations.
How Google Guarantee Works
If one of your customers submits a request to be reimbursed by Google, we’ll contact you to learn more. Google might request additional information from the customer. You’ll have an opportunity to make things right with your customer. After investigating the request, Google will decide on a resolution. This decision is based solely on Google’s discretion and is not a substitute for any legal or insurance action customers might take with regards to a performed service.
The Roots of Google’s Subscription-based Service
Last year, around Spring, 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, imagine how those profiles, or even Google Business, is “verified.”
Google article explaining their new Google Guaranteed program.
Google Guaranteed didn’t really take the digital marketing and SEO world by surprise. Most in the web design and marketing 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 buy 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.
Be Prepared For The Google Guarantee To Come To Your Area
The businesses in the beta test have had drastic amounts of success with increased leads by 1800% when compared to other companies who are using other forms of advertising! With this type of success, the Google Guaranteed Program is likely going to attract a plethora of businesses once the availability expands.
To prepare for the Google Guarantee in your area be sure to:
- Ensure your business is properly licensed and insured.
- Create, verify and maintain your Google My Business page.
- Address negative reviews and ask satisfied customers to leave your business reviews on Google and other review platforms.
- Sign up for the program as soon as it becomes available to your business type and area.
What does this mean for verified Google My Business pages?
Google My Business (GMB) is not going away (at least not yet). So of course, you’ll want to maintain your current Google My Business pages to take up as much real estate on search results as possible. A complete search marketing plan would include Google Guaranteed listings, AdWords search campaigns, a complete GMB page and search engine optimization (SEO).
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 but, ya know. 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 (though I probably didn’t recommend it to you unless you were a restaurant, bar, or event type of business). 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.
List of Dallas plumbers that are Google Guaranteed verified.
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 crazy amount of small-to-medium-sized businesses in their database—and hosts, even more, content about them and reviews on their SERPs. Many 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. Google is working hard to combat spam, manipulation, and fake profiles.
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. I have a client who has been plagued with Google My Business and Google Map issues for nearly 4 months and we’ve finally been informed that is due to this new feature. Your business doesn’t have to go through this, and you don’t have to go at it alone. We’re here to help your business Grow in Spades and maximize your brand and your return on investment (ROI).
As a full-service digital marketing agency, Spade Design carries the know-how for your business to get started, or more strongly ranked and noticed, on the web. That includes the realm of SERPs, as well as services by Google and other listings (Apple Maps is making big changes too). We can help you become Google knowledgeable, enroll in Google’s Local Services Ads, and receive your very own Google Guarantee stamp.
As of now, it looks like “Google Guaranteed” is rolling out a plan for guaranteeing work provided by locksmiths, plumbers, and handymen. This is to protect homeowners against locksmiths, plumbers, and handymen who are not licensed, bonded, and screened.
If you’re one of these businesses or want to get prepared for the next rollout which includes more home improvement type businesses, let’s get started!