As most small business owners know today, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is key to helping your website be visible and accessible to potential customers.
If your website shows up far down in the list of search results, then customers will likely never see it, let alone visit it.
Since Google is the most popular search engine in use, it’s important that your website maintain a high SEO score in Google rankings.
This year, Google launched a new program called “The Google Guaranteed Program.” This program is especially helpful to local, service-oriented businesses.
The Google Guarantee is designed to help users find reliable, trustworthy local businesses when they search online.
This is a relatively new change which Google launched on a trial basis in January.
The Google Guaranteed Program is past the testing phase and is available for local businesses in many locations, including the Houston area.
Here’s everything you need to know about how and why you should utilize the Google Guaranteed Program so that your business gets the most visibility possible.
Once your business is “Google Guaranteed,” the green check mark Google Guaranteed badge will appear next to your company name in search result listings (see picture above).
This helps your business look official and “approved” by Google. The Google Guaranteed badge means that Google backs your company and its services, which makes a better impression on potential clients.
It also helps your business show up in a higher priority in search result listings.
Local businesses that are Google Guaranteed have additional coverage for unsatisfied customers.
If a client is dissatisfied with your service, Google will back you and cover customer claims up to the total invoice amount. This coverage guarantee is only valid if the service is specifically booked through Google Local Services.
To be covered, clients (not businesses) must submit claims themselves within 30 days of the project completion date.
There is a lifetime maximum of $2,000 per business for claim coverage.
There are some types of claims that will not be covered under the Google Guarantee, including extra future projects, dissatisfaction with price or customer service,
cancellations, and damage to clients’ property.
When a customer submits a claim, Google willcontact you to hear your side of the situation and investigate the claim thoroughly before making a decision.
Because Google backs your services, potential customers are more likely to feel confident engaging your services.
When users search for local businesses on a mobile device and click on your business, the following text, along with a green “Google Guaranteed” banner, will appear below your company name and info: “This pro is backed by the Google guarantee, which means they’re pre-screened, insured, and meet relevant licensing requirements.
Any job you book with them is guaranteed to be done right or your money back” (See picture to the right for an example).
Your business’s website will not automatically show up in the Google Guaranteed listings; you will have to take some steps to utilize this program to your benefit.
While it does take a bit of work to be come “Google Guaranteed,” it’s definitely worth it in the long run to make your website more visible and accessible.
There are three steps to becoming Google Guaranteed:
Achieving the highest possible Google ranking will take some financial investment upfront. However, the cost for Google ads is more worth it than ever with the addition of the Google Guaranteed program.
Paying for Google Local Services ads is the best way to make sure your website is one of the very first results that appear in potential customers’ searches, and is also the first step to achieving Google Guaranteed approval.
Check here for more information on how to sign up for local services ads.
Paying for Local Services Ads is definitely worth the price, because you don’t pay per view or even per click, but per “action” by viewers, such as receiving a text, email, or phone call from a customer through your Google listing.
How much you pay will depend on your location and your industry. Find more about the costs of Google Local Services ads here.
Any local business that wants to become Google Guaranteed will have to complete a screening process, which includes background checks performed by Pinkerton Consulting and Investigations Inc.
The good news is these background checks are free (for now).
The downside is there is some time and work involved, since every employee who visits clients’ homes must complete a background check.
The background check process will also involve screenings of your business’s current online reviews and ratings.
The easiest step of the Google Guaranteed Program is to provide proof of your business license and insurance coverage. Verifying is easily done by entering your license number and uploading your proof of insurance electronically to Google.
Once you have become “Guaranteed,” there are still things you will need to do periodically to keep your Google Guaranteed status.
You must inform the background check company that handled your initial screening process of any new employees and have them undergo the same process.
You also must keep your payment information for your local services ad up to date.
If your payment falls through, your Google Guaranteed status will be hidden from viewers.
Google Guarantee Isn’t Available For All Businesses. Currently, only certain kinds of local businesses in certain geographical areas can set up local services ads, meaning only those types of businesses can achieve Google Guaranteed status. However, with how quickly the Google Guaranteed program has already grown and how well it has been received, it’s safe to say that before long it will expand to include many more service types and cities. Fortunately, Houston is now an active service area for using local service ads. The following list are the types of services that are currently able to utilize the Google Guaranteed Program:
You Can’t Advertise Your Google Guaranteed Status.
You’re not allowed to use the Google Guarantee badge on your website, in your logo, or for any other marketing materials for your business.
Even when emailing or sending newsletters to clients, you are not permitted to mention your Google Guaranteed status.
Google wants the only place that your guaranteed status appears to be the Google Local Services listing for your business.
Google Guaranteed Status Is Dependent on Continued Payment.
Most businesses have their Google Local Services ads set up on automatic payments.
If these payments ever stop, your Google Guarantee badge will disappear.
It’s important that you keep your payment information updated for your Google account in order for your Google Guaranteed status to be visible.
We know this is a lot of information to take in, and that it’s difficult to keep up with the latest changes in internet marketing.
If you have questions about how to maximize your online visibility using the Google Guaranteed program or other SEO strategies, try our free website evaluation for ideas on how to enhance your online presence.