By now, you probably know that if you don’t have a Google My Business listing, you’re missing out on a lot of potential benefits. A GMB page helps your business rank in local search and permits you to interact directly with customers, humanizing your brand while also ensuring you can quickly help out with any problems or concerns they might have.
GMB listings allow you to plug a plethora of relevant information, from a phone number to hours of operation and exact location using Google Maps – all things that can make or break a customer’s decision to use you as opposed to someone else. Since this service is free and easy to use, there’s really no excuse to not be using Google My Business when it comes to boosting your performance in local search.
It seems that things with GMB are about to change even more, though: towards the end of July 2020, it was revealed that Google has been testing guaranteed badges specifically for GMB. This is big news and, when implemented, has the potential to make huge waves.
What’s a Google Guaranteed Badge?
If you’ve been using Google Ads for your business, or just often search for local services, you might already be familiar with the Guaranteed Badge – it’s that little green checkmark that appears to the left of a company’s name.
The Guaranteed Badge is only available to businesses that are already using Google Ads. Businesses that apply are investigated by Google Local Services and, after meeting certain qualifications (for example, showing you’re a licensed contractor in relevant areas), the business becomes Google guaranteed. This means that, if a customer is unsatisfied with the service provided, Google may reimburse them (up to 2,000 USD in the US and 2,000 CAD in Canada, per lifetime).
Actually, this service emerged due to a scam involving “locksmiths” advertising their services on Google. Basically, someone would contact a search engine optimized locksmith when unable to get into their home. This call would be rerouted overseas, and someone with a drill bit would be dispatched to bust the homeowner’s doorknob and then charge outrageous fees!
Obviously, homeowners were not happy with this, and so Google took steps to make sure people were not upset with their local search results. Adding guaranteed badges was a great change, though it’s unfortunate it was necessary.
So, Will Guaranteed Badges Be Important for GMB?
Since managing a GMB page is so important to perform well in local search, any changes Google makes to this service are significant.
Clearly, the guaranteed badge can make a difference for businesses using Google Ads – it says something about the confidence Google has in a business when they’re willing to reimburse disappointed customers – so why shouldn’t it make a difference for Google My Business, too?
So, yes, to answer the question above, we here at Disruphtiv are of the opinion that guaranteed badges will be fairly important for Google My Business going forward – this change is a big deal and something you should pay attention to if you want to continue to rank well in local search.
We guess that, eventually, most local businesses which have a GMB – which should be every local business, by the way – will also have this guaranteed badge. First one or two local businesses will have it and, as more customers are driven to them and away from the competition, the competition will adapt. Basically, peer pressure (or market pressure, if you like) will take over.
Sooner or later, it will get to the point where not having one of these guaranteed badges will make customers wary and drive them away from your business.
Will it Cost Anything?
While GMB itself is free to use, the guaranteed badge will not be free. The cost will be $50 a month – $600 a year – which may seem like a lot to get a little green checkmark next to your business’s name, but there’s a lot more to it than that.
The cost is a way for Google to continue monetizing local search and, since GMB users are not required to use Google Ads (where a business pays a small fee per qualified lead) cover costs in an alternative way.
All that being said, we think this guaranteed badge is something your business should strongly consider investing in. Below, we’ll go through some ways the guaranteed badge will, most likely, be able to improve your GMB and local search performance.
Increase Brand Trust
Brand trust is incredibly important when it comes to your bottom line. Case in point: more than 80 % of US consumers say they’ll stick with a brand they trust, even if another business grows into a new “fad.”
While people are becoming more and more skeptical of traditional advertising, they trust Google – that’s part of the reason 86 % of consumers use Google to find local businesses. That little green checkmark means your businesses is endorsed by Google, and that can be a big plus for people.
Once they understand what it actually means to be Google Guaranteed – i.e., that Google ostensibly has enough confidence in your services to insure the customer using them – their own confidence will grow and your conversion rate will rise.
Stand Out From the Competition
Nearly every business that’s “in the game” has a Google My Business page, so simply having contact details and some positive reviews won’t make your business pop out of the search results when someone’s looking for a local business.
Having a Google Guaranteed Badge, on the other hand, will help you stand out from the competition. When there are two similar businesses in an area with similar products and reviews, the one a potential customer ops for often comes down to one factor: in this case, it’s going to be that green checkmark.
Just think about it – would you rather buy from a business with the option to be reimbursed if you’re unsatisfied or one that has no kind of money-back guarantee? One that has been investigated and approved by Google, or one that hasn’t? The answer is clear.
Unfortunately, there is as of yet no hard data confirming that a Guaranteed Badge increases click-through rates. There is anecdotal evidence, however.
It’s common sense thinking to suggest that a green checkmark, underscored by the words – themselves highlighted in green and written in capital letters – “Google Guaranteed”, would attract more eyes than other advertisements.
Improve Your Ranking
Google’s algorithm – it can sometimes seem like an inscrutable enigma. However, it’s certainly possible that the Guaranteed Badge could emerge as a new ranking factor. This could be either directly or indirectly.
Directly, it seems likely that Google would display guaranteed businesses higher than those that aren’t guaranteed. When it comes to Google Ads, the subscribers are paying a small amount for every click-through, so Google has a financial incentive to do so.
In the case of guaranteed badges for GMB, they also have a financial incentive to rank your page higher as the service costs $50 a month. They’ll want to get more and more SMB owners to sign up.
Indirectly, getting a Google Guaranteed Badge could improve your ranking by increasing your click-through rate, exposure, and thereby positive reviews. These are things Google likes to see, as they want to help their users by connecting them with great local businesses.
Using a GMB badge could result in a positive feedback loop for your business as more customers are driven to your page, are satisfied with your service, and post positive reviews. Of course, you have to make sure your service is beyond satisfactory for this to happen, something a GMB badge itself won’t necessarily account for.
Inexpensive for Potentially Large ROI
As mentioned earlier, it seems that the Google Guaranteed GMB Badge will be priced at $50 a month. This equates to $600 a year which may sound like a lot but, since Google is so important for local search, you have the opportunity for a large ROI.
While more expensive than a similar service like Yelp’s Verified license badge offering at $30 a month, Google has been steadily surpassing Yelp (and other services) as the most significant space for reviews of local businesses. That brings us to our next point.
Google Reviews are the Most Important
Google really is the king of the web, and that doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon. It leads in search by a huge percentage, and especially local search. As such, the findings of local marketing groups such as BrightLocal – that Google has been eclipsing services like Yelp or Facebook when it comes to local service reviews – makes a lot of sense.
BrightLocal also found that reviews on Google where more positive as opposed to reviews on sites like Yelp, which is good news. Basically, people seem to not post angry reviews on Google as much – they reserve that more for Yelp or Facebook, apparently! This may have something to do with ease of use: when it’s a bit more complicated to post a review, people are only willing to take the time when they’re very angry.
Having a Google My Business for your local business is so important since Google itself is so important when you want to connect with local customers. This means that it’s a good idea to employ any possible advantages you can, and the GMB badge is going to be one.
Keep in mind that nearly half (46 %) of all of Google’s searches are for local businesses, and a whopping 86 % of all online searches utilize Google as opposed to other search engines like Bing. This is a piece of the pie you can’t afford to miss.
Consider Investing While the GMB Badge is Novel
It’s likely that a year or two from now, as word gets around, a lot of local businesses will have the Google Guaranteed Badge on their Google My Business. Once it becomes saturated and its “newness” wears off, the badge won’t have as much power to drive conversions as it will in its early days.
The newness of the guaranteed badge for GMB may also help drive interest in your business. As they say, the early bird gets the worm. To use another metaphor, it’s important to strike while the iron’s hot!
If you have a Guaranteed Badge while no one else has it, think about how many more conversions you’ll drive than the competition – out of all the local businesses in your market niche, only yours is Google-guaranteed.
That’s definitely not to say that, if all of your competitors have it, you shouldn’t get a badge. On the contrary: if things eventually get to the point where most local businesses have the GMB guaranteed badge, your business will stand out if you don’t have one and people will be suspicious.
If you’re reading this post shortly after the news of this change dropped in July of 2020, consider yourself lucky: you’re ahead of the curve and will be able to take advantage of the GMB badge early on.
Overall, we here at Disruhptiv are excited about the potential of this new Google Guaranteed Badge for GMB. It’s definitely something you should keep your eyes on and strongly consider investing in, especially before its novelness has worn off.
Only once it officially rolls out will we know more. Once it does roll out, though, we expect it to be something your Google My Business won’t be able to go without if you want to perform well in local search results.
Contact Us Today to Improve Your Local Search Game
If you’re running a business and want to perform better in local search, feel free to contact us today! We can be reached by phone at 843-327-8644 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We here at Disruhptiv understand the ins-and-outs of local search, like the difference between Google Ads and Google My Business. We make sure to stay on top of all the latest developments, like the one covered in this article, and take them into account when optimizing our strategies, which have been successful for plenty of our clients.