By: Gayle Rogers, Founder of Atomic
Big news for local businesses.
Google is testing and slowly rolling out a new offering – an upgraded GMB (Google My Business) profile with a Google guaranteed badge for a monthly fee.
While the Google Guaranteed badge isn’t anything new, up until recently, it was only offered alongside Google’s Local Service Ads in order to give consumers confidence in its advertisers. Of course, for the longest time, these ads were for those who offered home services such as electricians, plumbers, roofers, landscapers and the like. Recently, professionals such as financial planners, events planners and tax specialists have been added to the list – but still, you had to be running local service ads in order to be eligible for the badge.
Google Guaranteed Badge: So what’s new?
The new offering? It doesn’t have anything to do with local service ads. It’s simply a badge that appears on your business’ GMB profile and Local Pack Listing.
Are you eligible? Right now, probably not, but according to a tweet from Tom Waddington, A Google My Business Gold Product Expert, you’ll know if you are if Google offers it to you on the Home Tab of your GMB Dashboard.
Once Google offers you the Badge, all you have to do is complete their background checks and licensing checks and agree to an annual cost of $600 a year.
Pay to Play – Is the Badge worth the cost and other questions that come to mind.
My big question…is this going to make a difference for $50 a month to have a Google guaranteed check mark next to your name in Google My Business or Google Maps? Honestly, there’s probably a click through rate increase, but no way to verify it, because that’s going to be something only Google can see. And the question is, do you want to be the business without the guaranteed check? We know trust signals work, and for $50 a month, it’s probably worth doing it.
While I was reading about this, there were three other questions that came to my mind about this program.
First, I was curious how much Google might make from this. And my guess was a minimum of $10 million per month, just basic levels. But if you read through this search engine land article, they’re estimating it’s going to be somewhere around $1.2 billion in annual revenues, which is amazing that any company can just say, “Hey, we’ll give you a guaranteed profile upgrade for $50 bucks a month” and generate that kind of revenue.
The second thing that came to mind is Google’s stance on paid links…because this is a lot like a paid link. For $50 a month your business can have an accreditation that says that you’re guaranteed or certified by Google. It’s not exactly a paid link, but it certainly feels really lateral to one. It’s a paid opportunity to create authority over your competition. And you can pretty much guarantee that this is going to expand past the current list of businesses.
Where are the local digital marketing agencies, local website developers, accountants, business consultants…? There are several types of eligible businesses; home services, certain practices of law, photographers, financial planners, pet groomers, etc. I started to think about the businesses absent from the list… Where are the other local businesses that help these local services grow? Why are we leaving out other important small businesses?
Where will Google decide to make its next (billion) bucks?
More to come on this, because it just opens up Google’s opportunity to make more money, and as much as you may think that everything that they try to do is for the users, make no mistake, Google is in the business of making money. There certainly will be more opportunities to pay Google.
There are a couple of clients we will be shepherding through this program, so when that process is complete, we will share the details with you.