Google has begun testing a new search service to connect Google searchers to home-service providers such as plumbers, electricians, locksmiths and other home-based service providers.
The company has confirmed a beta test for the program just launched and is in official testing.
With this new program, Google will be going head-to-head with businesses like Yelp, Angie’s List and Amazon Home Services. Google’s home services ads promote pre-qualified home service professionals and enable users to submit requests to the providers straight from the ads in Google’s Search Results as an extension of Google My Business & Google Adwords
Below is a typical desktop search results page for “San Francisco locksmith.” Local Google My Business listings, which are free for businesses, are located at the bottom of the screenshot in this case, and a Google Maps link to the business locations is in the upper right. Google Adwords Text ads appear at the top of the page and along the right column. Notice the organic results (below the Google Adwords Text Ads, 4th entry down) are dominated by Yelp.
So instead of seeing they typical desktop search results, when a user is searching for a home based service, the user sees three listings for professional service providers appear in the Home Services Ads block when Google thinks a user is trying to find a service professional based on the search query. See below for an example of how the "San Francisco locksmith" appears with the new layout.
The ads include a photo, the location and phone number, along with any ratings and Google Adwords callout ad extensions that detail qualifications and things like 24/7 services and free estimates. Users can click the profiles for more details about the business and individual as well and get in contact with the business directly from the search, much like the Google Adwords “Call Only” Ads on Mobile Devices.
How Exactly Is Google Qualifying Home Service Providers?
Trust in these listings is paramount. Clicking the drop down icon on the Home Services ad box brings up information detailing that to be eligible for inclusion in the listing ads, the professionals must pass a background check, be licensed and insured and have a strong track record.
What exactly constitutes a “strong track record?” The “Learn more” link in that drop-down goes to a support page detailing how a business can qualify for business services ads. Google says it conducts a “reputation assessment” on all home service providers, including reviews from users who’ve found and used them through the ads as well “mystery shoppers”.
How will the Google Home Service Ads be implemented?
The ads will of course be a paid feature available to businesses, most likely as an extension of Google Adwords Accounts that are linked with VERIFIED Google My Business Accounts.
What does this mean for services like Yelp, Angie’s List and Home Advisor as far as Google in concerned?
Most likely, the organic listings for those types of websites will be pushed further down the organic ladder as Google attempts to funnel people looking for home based service business through their own service.
Obviously it’s a revenue generator for Google, but if they can give people the information quicker without having to route them through 3rd party websites and the information they give is good info and solves the users problems…the program will be seen as a success. More people will return to Google in the future to find such services in the future, which is how Google’s business model works. Give people the info they are looking for as quickly as possible, and they will come back again.