The continued success of Google as a search platform depends on its ability to be an accurate curator of web content for consumers. Connecting people to the websites and local services people need makes Google extremely valuable for searchers, business owners, and advertisers.
To stay at the top of their game, Google is constantly testing new features and business models. While many of these tests come and go without being implemented, some go on to be game-changing features and products. There some indication that a feature Google recently began testing is working its way toward a full-scale launch. Last week, Google announced they were opening its “Home Service Ads” to certain service providers in an expanded area.
Home Service Ads were a feature Google began testing in 2015. Certain local business types were given special placement in search results. For example, searching for a plumber in San Francisco would give you the user a three-pack of local results that included some basic information about the business, a star rating, telephone number, and a link to send a message directly to the business.
“If you’re a home services business owner, then people are turning to Google everyday to find professionals like you: plumbers, locksmiths, home cleaners and more,” wrote the company in a blogpost announcing changes to the program. “Last year we introduced a new way for small businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area to offer home service solutions on Google. So far, thousands of people in the region have connected with qualified business owners through the format.
Though the program has been active for less than a year, the early results are promising. In the post announcing the expansion of the program, Google provided the account of a local plumber in San Jose who saw impressive gains from the new ads.
“Home Service Ads have really helped us grow our business – since starting, we’ve seen a 20-30% increase in our overall business,” Ishmael Chandler is quoted as saying. “As the program has grown throughout the year, we’ve seen better and better returns.”
While the Home Service Ads aren’t available everywhere or to every business type, Google has opened up the service to HVAC and electricians. This is open to business owners in the San Francisco Bay area, where the test originally began, and the (soon to be added) Sacramento area.
The limited range of the test is probably related to the work involved with vetting each business. Business owners in the San Francisco and Sacramento areas would need to submit an application and undergo a background check screening process. This is probably easier to do in a major metropolitan area that’s near to Google. Once approved, providers can set up their ad listings in AdWords Express.
Though it may be a while before the Home Service Ads become available for most of the country, it’s likely that Google will pursue this avenue in the future. It will take time to find partners to conduct the background checks and setup consumer safeguards and protections. But any service that can help business increase their profits by more than 20% is not something Google will just sit on.
If you’re one of the lucky service providers that can take advantage of Home Service Ads, visit google.com/homeserviceads to learn more.
For everyone else, you can learn more about upcoming changes to Google by reading this article on the new Analytics 360 Suite from Google.