Google Home Services Ads are changing the way customers connect with plumbers, locksmiths, electricians, home heating and cooling technicians, and more. Google is changing search results pages when people are looking for home service providers. Those changes affect both desktop and mobile results.
How the Desktop Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) Are Changing
- Google Guaranteed service providers are now sponsoring listings at the top of the search results page before search ads, the more familiar map pack, and organic listings.
- Only one or two auction based search ads appear near the top of the search results page. The rest of the AdWords listings appear at the very bottom of the page.
- Google Home Services Ads take up nearly as much page real estate as the Google My Business local listings.
How the Mobile SERPs Are Changing
- Google Guaranteed service providers dominate the mobile screen with a carousel.
- Organic results for home service providers are pushed way down the page requiring users to scroll past paid placement and the map pack to find.
Google Home Services Ads DO NOT direct users to your website.
Rather than sending site traffic from the search results page, Google Home Services listings push the user through a series of forms designed to generate a referral for up to 3 businesses listed in the area. Google then forwards the user’s contact information to the businesses and charges each of them a flat fee for the lead. The user never clicks through to any of the websites.
The opportunities to lead someone looking for a roofer, plumber, HVAC tech, electrician, or locksmith to a business website is significantly lowered in areas already served by the Google Home Services listings.
Google Home Services Ads Level the Playing Field
Because the Google Home Services listings at the top of the search results page take both the content creative and the bidding structure out of the sponsored listings, all home service providers are treated equally. Small one or two person businesses are able to pay the same rates for the same listings as larger companies. The control over ad spend and brand representation has been taken away in this advertising model.
Bruce Gruen recently penned an article listing the concerns businesses, consumers, and agencies should have about how Google presents search results for home service providers.
You can follow the link to read: Google Home Service Ads (HSA) Rollout in Los Angeles Proves to Be a Bitter Pill for Plumbers.
Concerned about how these changes will affect your business? Learn about four things you can do right away to adapt to these changes and benefit from Google’s new Home Services Ads:
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What Can You Do to Prepare?
There are 4 things you can do right away to put your company in the best possible position BEFORE the changes to home services SERPs go live in your market.
1. Make certain that all your local business listings around the web are in sync
Go through your Google My Business listing with a fine-toothed comb.
- Make sure that all of your location and contact information is up-to-date.
- Add relevant information and photos of your business.
- Make sure that your business has been verified and connected to your website.
- Take advantage of the mobile app for managing your Google My Business listing.
Check other business listings with sites like infogroup.com, localize.com, yp.com, onmoz.com/local.
- Make sure that all of your business information is correct.
Check your social media accounts.
- Make sure that all of your location and contact information is correct and that your business is indeed listed as a local business (This is particularly important on Facebook and Instagram).
- Make sure that your business phone number is easy to find. We recommend that you include it in your company’s Twitter bio.
- We work with all of our clients to be sure that nothing is missed and all of the details are covered. Contact us right away if you are concerned about your digital listings.
2. Start Using a Reputation Management Program
- Encourage genuine customer reviews with Google My Business and other trusted review sites.
- Avoid artificial reviews at all costs.
- Help you engage with reviewers, particularly to resolve issues that lead to a negative review.
- Display those genuine customer reviews on your website so that they surface in search.
Your reputation is critical to the success of your business. Google will penalize your site for any practices that are not genuine and totally above-board. Reputation management can also be a technical and time-consuming endeavor. Make sure that you have the right people with the right skills and experience in place. If you have any concerns about how your staff or agency is currently managing your online reputation, please contact us right away for help.
3. Build Your Brand
Your brand is something nobody can take away from you. And, making your brand top-of-mind for people in your community insures that Google changes won’t negatively impact your business.
- Promote your brand on other media. Engage in local PR so that your community knows about your company.
- Be creative in how you promote your brand.
- Train your community to search for you by name rather than by services provided.
We work with businesses just like yours every day to help them with everything from the design of their company logos and website to promotion and PR in their service areas. Don’t make potential customers in your service areas wonder who they should call when they need a plumber, locksmith, HVAC, or electrician. They should already know what name to associate with the services you provide to your community.
No matter how long it takes Google to roll out their changes to the home services SERPs, the above recommendations will improve the quality of your business now and position your business to take the best advantage of those changes when they come.
4. Be the first listed when Google Home Services goes live in your market.
Tell Google that you want into the Google Home Services program now.
The process to get into the program is lengthy.
- Google will need to complete a background check on all of your technicians.
- They will need to gather all of your reviews.
- You will need to set up an app on your mobile device so that you can manage your participation in the program and the flow of leads that the Google Home Services listings generate.
This sponsored program is not automatic. You have to opt in. The sooner you communicate your interest in the program, the sooner the ground work can get started. Telling Google you are interested before they launch the program in your market means that you will get the jump on your competition and be one of the first businesses listed for your services.
Go to https://www.google.com/adwords/express/home-service-ads/contact/ to start the process.
As the agency of record for many home services brands, we repeatedly test the Home Services Ads system against the standard AdWords options available outside of the pilot markets. Our team has already discovered placement and bidding options that can save you promotional dollars when using Home Services Ads in conjunction with other PPC options. Let us help you maximize your opportunities for viable business leads before, during, and after Google completes the US roll-out of these new Home Services search results pages.