(Photo | Courtesy of Savy Agency)
Few things in the SEO space are stagnant. It seems as if once one system is established, another takes its place. Before, it was Google AdWords shaking up the industry. Now, it’s Google Guaranteed ads.
So, what gives? Is this new system going to disrupt your Google advertising? And what does it mean for your brand? We’ve got you covered on all that and more.
What are Google Guaranteed ads?
Guaranteed ads is Google’s answer to protect users looking for home service industry businesses. Its first iteration focused specifically on locksmiths, plumbers and handymen with the idea of protecting homeowners from unverified businesses in these fields.
According to Google’s site advertising the change, Guaranteed helps brands “earn the trust of new customers” and show up more noticeably on a Google Search. Signaling that trust is a green Guaranteed badge that looks somewhat like the verified check of your favorite Instagram influencers. The check also signals Google’s backing and helps a brand’s information show up even before promoted ads on a basic search. Imagine how that could change your brand’s position on the search engine results page (SERP).
What does this mean for my brand?
If you currently have a brand in the service industry, this could make a big impact on your business. To become Guaranteed, brands need to go through a strict screening process. Once approved, Guaranteed gives added value and protection to your clients through their ability to submit a claim if “an issue arises with a Google Guaranteed service provider.” This customer satisfaction has big brand returns. Guaranteed listings increased “leads by 1,800 percent when compared to other companies who are using other forms of advertising,” and that was in the beta test alone.
But, for brands who want to take advantage of this new SERP practice, it doesn’t replace other brand listings like Google My Business. In fact, “a complete search marketing plan would include Google Guaranteed listings, AdWords search campaigns, a complete Google My Business (GMB) page and search engine optimization (SEO).”
Another big advantage for brands that qualify? Guaranteed ads appear at the top of the Search page, going “one step further to ensure [the search engine is]connecting searchers to the right advertiser.” Hello brand exposure! But, if your brand is not in the associated industry, your exposure runs the risk of decreasing while Guaranteed ads rank higher than the local pack.
For this beta version of Guaranteed, there are a limited number of industries and locations available. So far, services include electricians, event planners, pet groomers, roofers, window cleaners and tutors. It’s also limited to under 30 cities, including Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Atlanta. And while it may not affect your industry yet, we want to make sure you know what’s coming. In the meantime, a suggested fix for service area businesses (SABs) in one of the Guaranteed testing areas is to make sure their address is public on their Google listing to avoid losing their hard-earned search results.
How is this different from other verifications?
For those who qualify, you might wonder how Guaranteed differs from other verifications like GoogleAds and Google Screened.
Compared to GoogleAds
If you’re familiar with anything SEO, you’ve heard of or used GoogleAds (formerly AdWords) and the “bid on certain keywords in order for [your]clickable ads to appear in Google’s search results.”
When choosing between Google Guaranteed Ads and GoogleAds, there are a few things you should consider to make the choice easier. First, is your brand or client local? If not, it hardly makes sense to run a campaign with Google Guaranteed, which is, at its most basic, a local services ad. And if you don’t have previous experience with Ads, Guaranteed could also be much simpler.
And lastly, Google Guaranteed has a strict approval process. Your brand will have to pass this process before you’re even part of the program. But, for brands who can qualify, the cost per lead seemingly “doesn’t even fall into the Ads comparison.” Meaning, the price per lead for Google Guaranteed is cheaper with more value for the brand and consumer. But, keep in mind that Guaranteed still deals with a niche market, whereas Ads cover a much broader one.
Compared to Google Screened
Google Screened is relatively new and still in the test phase. It’s “limited to a few verticals in a few markets: lawyers (estate planning, immigration), financial planners and realtors in San Diego and Houston.” When compared to Google Guaranteed, that is a much more precise audience.
Both programs need applicants to go through a background check, yet Google Screened does not offer a money-back guarantee. Screened also does not make brands “appear in Google Assistant results on the smartphone and Google Home devices.” Although it’s hard to tell if it will expand to that in the future.
Overall, Google Screened is much less developed as a practice than Google Guaranteed Ads and, without the rankings and badges, may seem like a less secure option for brands hoping to reach new clients and build trust.
How do you become Google Guaranteed?
Okay, so you’ve ticked off all the boxes so far and now you’re hoping to make your brand an official member of the Google Guaranteed club.
To start with, your application could take up to two weeks to process and verify, so plan accordingly.
First, create a listing on GMB and visit the Advanced Verification section on Google. You’ll need the following info to continue: name, address, phone, hours open, cities and services. The last step here is to enter your business license number. When done with this, you need to finish your application via the third-party site Pinkerton.
From then on, it’s a waiting game.
Benefits of the Guarantee
If approved, you can celebrate by reading over these benefits to officially becoming Google Guaranteed.
Increased brand trust: The green checkmark on Guaranteed ads instantly lets your customers know that Google’s recommendation backs your business. Plus, it’s great at “catching users’ attention on a busy SERP.”
Wider reach: If your brand thrives on local listings, Guaranteed can help you reach a broader audience in its position “above the Paid Search ads and Organic listings.” A bigger reach could mean higher conversions for your business.
The future of Google Guaranteed ads
As Guaranteed is still in beta, it’s impossible to know what its future will be. After launching in the U.S. in 2015, Guaranteed began in Canada in 2018, although its reach is still confined to specific regions. The practice is likely to continue spreading “to any service that needs a license, bond and insurance plan to do business.” If your brand fits the bill, it might be time to consider Guaranteed as an extra step in your SEO process.
Rob Brown is a founder and the Agency Director at Savy Agency, headquartered in Bend. Savy has brought brands to life since 2007 and is a top-performing Google Partner delivering comprehensive marketing services to brands in a variety of industries. Savy’s in-house team of designers, developers and content creators work together under one roof to enhance the competitiveness of every brand they serve.