Google rolled out the beta version of Google Home Services Ads back in 2015. Since then, it’s been generating a good bit of excitement, particularly for digital marketing professionals. At the time of the initial beta release, Google promised that they would soon officially release Google Home Services Ads nationwide.
It seems that Google is keeping that promise. Previously, Google had only been testing these ads on the West Coast, in very limited areas on the west coast of the United States. Now, Google is offering Google Home Services Ads to several major metropolitan areas across the United States. To our knowledge, Google will be rolling out its Home Services Ads application to the following cities by the end of 2017.
- Charlotte, NC
- Boston, MA
- Pittsburgh, PA
- Baltimore, MD
- Cincinnati, OH
- Detroit, MI
- Denver, CO
- Louis, MO
- Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
- Portland, OR
- Las Vegas, NV
- Dallas, TX
- San Antonio, TX
- Houston, TX* (TBD due to Hurricane Harvey)
- Tampa-St Petersburg (Sarasota), FL
- Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, FL
- Miami, FL* (TBD due to Hurricane Irma)
- Riverside/San Bernardino, CA
While many of us in the digital marketing industry have anticipated the release of Google Home Services Ads, we recognize that many businesses know nothing about this new application. Have no fear! We’re here to give you the details! Here’s what we’re going to cover.
- What are Google Home Service Ads?
- How do Google Home Service Ads work?
- The difference between Google Home Service Ads and PPC Ads
- What you will need to get started
What Are Google Home Services Ads?
Well, Google Home Services Ads are pretty much what they sound like they are. They are ads for home services that are shown the first page of search engine results when people search for home services. Not sure what we mean by home services? Businesses such as electricians, plumbers, heating and cooling companies, landscaping companies, and general contractors are all examples of home service industries.
When your potential leads click on your ad, they can book appointments directly through Google. They no longer have to click through to your website and find your contact information, then call, fill out a form, or schedule and appointment. This feature is really appealing for potential customers because we it provides a quick and easy option for scheduling appointments online. Furthermore, many people who are searching for home service businesses are in need of immediate, or same day, assistance. For, example, imagine that one of the pipes leading into your kitchen burst. You both need and want that fixed as soon as possible. The convenience of scheduling an appointment quickly and efficiently is pretty appealing, isn’t it?
The Difference Between Google Home Services Ads and PPC Ads
By now, you have most likely heard of Google AdWords. If you haven’t heard of Google Adwords, or if you don’t quite know what AdWords is, here’s a brief explanation. Google Adwords is probably the most popular platform for Pay-Per-Click advertising, commonly referred to as PPC advertising. Pay-per-click advertising is a method through which businesses can display ads for their services or products online. When people search for specific keywords or phrases relevant to your products or service, then your ad is displayed at the top of the search engine results page (SERP).You are only charged when a user clicks on your ad. Google chooses which ads will display based on specific algorithms, but you are still competing with other businesses for your keywords. Similar to an auction, businesses bid on the keywords, so whoever pays the most for a specific keyword is the one who gets that keyword.
Google Home Services ads are not PPC ads. This is a different form of display ads. You should consider it as an entirely separate marketing channel. As such you will need a separate budget and separate strategy for your Google home Service ads. Unlike PPC ads, you do not have any control with regards to keyword selections and bidding. Plus, your rank is determined by customer reviews and your proximity to the potential customer’s location.
What You Need to Get Started
If your home services company is in one of the areas selected for the initial release of Google Home Services Ads, take advantage of this opportunity now. Here’s how to get started.
Reinforce Your Online Credibility First
Google is selecting companies based on Google’s perception of a company’s online credibility. They are also factoring in customer reviews for each company. So how does Google determine your company’s online credibility? Actually, a lot goes in to this determination. Here are some of the factors that Google considers as it determines the online credibility of your business.
This is where your website ranks when users search for specific keywords. In other words, this is where your website appears on the search engine page, also referred to as SERP, when someone searches for a keyword related to your business.
Good, High Quality Reviews
This is exactly what it sounds like. You need your happy customers to post online reviews for your business across multiple platforms. These platforms include Google, Yelp, and Facebook. The more good reviews your business has, the more credibility Google will attribute to your business.
Not sure what backlinks are? You aren’t alone! Backlinks are links from other reputable websites to your company’s website. Here’s an example. Let’s say your business is in the plumbing industry. If your local Chamber of Commerce includes on their website a link to your company’s website, that is considered a high quality backlink. Just like with online reviews, the more high quality backlinks your company has, the more credibility you will receive from Google.
Get on the Google Home Services Ads Wait List
Yep, there is already a waiting list for Google Home Services Ads! That means that you need to apply in order to get your business on the waiting list. Here’s what you need.
- Year that your business was founded
- Name of business
- Phone number of business
- Address business
- Hours of operation
- Google registered email address
- Service area (geographical area for which you provide your services)
- A contractor’s license number
- Amount of general liability insurance coverage
Verify That All of Your Employees Can Pass a Background
That’s right, we said all of your employees have to pass a background check. If even one employee fails the background check, your business can’t participate in Google Home Services Ads. For the beta test, Google has been paying for background checks. However, as Google releases Google Home Services across the United States, business owners will have to pay for each background check. Honestly, all of your employees should be able to pass a background check anyway.
Coordinate With Your PPC Manager
Whole Google Home Services Ads are not actually related to Google Adwords (PPC ads), the strategies will be similar. That means that it makes the most sense to have whoever manages your Adwords account to also manage your Home Services account.
Verify All of Your Information
As we mentioned previously, Google includes all of your company’s information. Make sure you fill out the form for your company’s information completely and accurately.
Yes, we said this already, but we are really serious about this one. Apply for Google Home Services Ads right now. The wait list isn’t getting any shorter. Seriously, go apply right now.
Review Your Customer Reviews
Again, your online reviews are really important. Your company’s rank for Google Home Services Ads is determined by high quality customer reviews.
Your initial rank will be determined based on your existing reviews. Once your Google Home Services Ads launch, Google actually provides a custom link that asks your booked customers to leave your company a review. Google then keeps track of which reviews come specifically from Home Service Ads. The reviews that come through Google Home Services Ads are given more weight as Google determines your rank. (and those are weighted more heavily in determining your rank).
Prepare Your Customer Service Specialists
If your potential customers search on a mobile device (their mobile phone), then they can immediately call your business. However, if your potential customers search on a desktop or laptop, then they can either choose to call your business, or they can submit and online contact form. This means that you will have potential customers contacting your business from all sides. If you don’t have really good customer service specialists, then you won’t be able to support this influx in contact volume. Did we mention, that reviews are really important for Google Home Services Ads? Many customer reviews are based on their customer service experience. If your customer service is lacking, you’re going to rack up some negative reviews.
We don’t really know how well Google Home Services Ads will work. After all is a new digital marketing platform. However, you lose nothing by giving Google Home Services Ads a chance.
Is your city not one of those selected for this initial roll out? Eventually, it will be. That being said, there is a wait list for usage of Google Home Service Ads. Go ahead and submit your inclusion request now.