Have you ever found yourself searching for service providers in Google, unable to decide whom to choose?
Every company in the search results looked the same, after all. It seemed almost impossible to tell which service would be the most trustworthy of them all, right?
Unfortunately, your potential customers face the same dilemma.
Granted, local search listings feature reviews, ratings, and additional information about a business. However, more often than not, most of it is not enough for you to feel confident about whom to hire.
The search engine, recognizing those challenges, introduced the Google Guaranteed program to boost confidence in in-home service providers.
And last year, the company introduced another similar program. This time, however, its goal is to help people like you – professional service providers, including law, financial planning, and real estate firms – boost customer confidence and inquire with your company.
The program is called Google Screened, and in this guide, you’ll learn everything to benefit from it.
You’ll discover whether your firm is eligible in the first place. We’ll show you how to pass a background check and how to use the Google Screened badge to get in front of more customers with Local Service Ads.
So, let’s get started.
What is Google Screened?
To explain the purpose and the benefits of the Google Screened program, we need to look at the reasons that prompted the search engine to launch its predecessor, Google Guaranteed.
Google introduced the Guaranteed program to boost confidence in in-home service providers. Businesses that passed the company’s background checks received a “Google Guaranteed” badge in their Local Service Ads.
Moreover, as part of the program, customers who book those services through Local Service Ads are protected by the Google Guarantee.
The guarantee means that if a customer isn’t satisfied with the quality of the contractor’s work, they can open a claim with Google. Upon review, the search engine will cover claims up to the job invoice amount, with a lifetime cap of $2,000.
Benefits of the Google Guarantee Program
- For customers, the Google Guarantee badge lifts the burden of selecting a provider and the risk of choosing the wrong company.
- Businesses accepted to the program, on the other hand, benefit from the extra boost of confidence, the ability to get in front of potential buyers with Local Search Ads, and naturally, more inquiries.
Unfortunately for professional service providers, Google Guaranteed focuses on home services – HVAC technicians, plumbers, painters, and more.
Luckily, the search engine introduced a program dedicated to professional service firms as well.
Introducing Google Screened
In its essence, Google Screened works in a quite similar way to its predecessor. Eligible businesses – more on that in just a second – must pass extensive personal and business level background and license checks.
Upon passing those checks successfully, the company can start promoting their business with Google Screened Local Search Ads, and see a Google Screened badge right above those listings.
The badge confirms that the company has passed the necessary checks. It ensures customers that a professional they’ve selected has been vetted and, as the search engine puts it: “provides the added peace of mind as you work with them.”
However, there is no money-back guarantee for customers with this program. Google Screened focuses entirely on building trust by confirming that Google has verified the business as a trustworthy vendor.
Who is Eligible for the Google Screened Program?
The program aims at helping firms providing professional services, particularly businesses in three categories are eligible:
- Financial Planners, and
- Real Estate Agents.
To be accepted for the program, your company must:
- Pass a business-level check,
- It must also pass similar owner check,
- Google will also conduct various license checks, depending on the type of business,
- Finally, it might also conduct license checks for employees. Again, whether they do it or not depends on the business type.
Finally, to be eligible for the program, businesses must also have a 3-star rating or higher in Google.
Should You Apply for the Google Screened Program?
The shortest answer, yes, and that’s for several reasons:
- Having the “Google Screened” badge beside your local service listing will increase the customers’ trust and confidence in your firm.
- You’ll be able to run Local Service Ads to attract more customers.
- Your Local Search Ads listings will receive the most prominent placement in Google’s at the top of Google’s search results, above all other ads, Maps, and other elements. What’s more, the screened and guaranteed graphics are eye-catching and help increase your listing click-through rate.
- Finally, you might be able to upgrade your Google My Business profile with the Screened badge. The search engine has only been pilot-testing the option to add the Google Guaranteed badge to GMB listing for now. However, should they decide to roll the option out entirely, it will be open to the Screened program participants.
Google Local Service Ads for Lawyers, Estate Agents, and Financial Planners
The two key benefits of getting accepted to the Google Screened program are
- Increased customer trust and
- A fantastic new way to get in front of potential customers.
We’ve covered the first benefit extensively above. Let’s cover the other one – running Local Service Ads – now.
Local Service Ads differ from other local search results – Google Ads, the local pack, and Local Map results.
First of all, they appear above all other listings. The image below shows a typical search results page with various local listings. Note how prominent the three Local Service Ads (and the Google Screened badge) are.
Local Service Ads stand out on a page too. Not only those listings placed above Maps and the local pack but also feature
- A vendor’s portrait photo,
- the company’s rating and the overall number of reviews the company has in Google,
- phone number, and, of course,
- the Google Screened badge, making them impossible to miss.
Local Service Ads are also a gateway to selecting your business on Google. Clicking on the ad does not take the person to your site. Instead, customers see a page with information about your business in Google, with the Google Screened information displayed prominently to boost their confidence.
Finally, Local Service Ads extend beyond just Google desktop and mobile. These listings are also available on Google Assistant results in response to relevant voice search queries.
Customers who search for services using the Assistant, smartphone, or Google Home devices will hear confirmation that the business is Google Screened.
Looking to get in front of the people looking for your services right now?
Promote Your Professional Services Firm with Local Service Ads.
Envoca is a full-service local marketing agency with over 15 years of experience in helping professional service firms get in front of their target customers in Google.
We know what works, we’ve tried and tested practically every strategy to boost local search rankings. As a result, we can deliver tangible results that you can track and measure.
Get in touch with us, and let’s discuss how we can help.