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Co-Written by Spencer Chang
Google’s been busy. Not only are they shaking up local search, they apparently weren’t satisfied with their initial launch of Google Home Services and are now experimenting with yet another home services…well, service.
Google Home Services is a platform in the search engine result pages (SERPs) that attempts to connect consumers directly with pre-qualified home services. The platform features an unspecified number of local home service providers, their phone numbers, and a click-to-request-info option (not to be confused with the Home Advisor widget). Google launched Home Services in California last summer, and the industry buzz surrounding the event started in mid-April.
It now seems that Google is offering an option for consumers to bypass the whole search process by establishing “Google Concierge” (props to Mike Blumenthal for the unofficial name.)
Read on to get the scoop on Google Home Services, “Google Concierge,” and the implications for home service local SEO and PPC.
Google Home Services
Early in 2015, the local SEO community had a hernia when Google introduced a new AdWords Express service called Google Home Services. Shown above the fold in the SERPs, the new interface aimed to connect customers with pre-qualified local home services businesses. As of March 2016, the option to participate in Google Home Services was only available in the San Francisco area.
What does Google Home Services Look Like?
The interface features three pre-qualified businesses in the top of the search results with the option to select from a larger list.
You have the option to select up to three businesses to compare and have them contact you.
Once you send a request, it’s up to the service provider to contact you.
How does a business qualify to be featured in Google Home Services?
Again, currently it’s only available in the San Francisco area, but to be featured in this search block a home service company needs to apply. In order to qualify, service providers must pass a background check, be licensed and insured, and have a strong community of customer satisfaction and glowing track record.
Wandering off in a completely different direction, Google Concierge seems to be an experimental enhancement of Google Home Services ads, allowing a customer to call Google directly instead of searching for a home service provider. Joe Goldstein spotting the ad for Google Concierge—which soon disappeared—in early March:
What These New Developments Mean for Home Services Companies
TLDR: Not Much for Right Now.
The fact that this is one of the few updates regarding these ads since their launch over 6 months ago speaks volumes. Whatever the reason, Google is clearly not ready to expand these ads to other locations, much less to the full AdWords platform (if they ever plan on doing that). Mike Blumenthal also theorizes that this news about the Concierge service is indicative of the lack of success of the home service ads.
There are presumably two big reasons why Google’s developed Concierge. One, providers aren’t doing a good job of responding to leads in a timely manner, so Google is assuming greater responsibility to ensure companies are receiving and paying attention to these leads. Or, for home service requests, people prefer to call so that their issues are being taken care of immediately. As home service marketing specialists, this is something we have seen in analyzing lead traffic for our clients.
Ultimately, a major factor in the widespread use of these ads (beyond the current geographic restriction) will be the evolution of the AdWords Express platform. Currently not much is known about how these home service ads operate within AdWords Express. We’ve previously spoken about the many inefficiencies of AdWords Express, and if you aren’t able run these ads without running regular ads, companies may find it difficult to make up for the costs of unqualified clicks caused by imprecise targeting options. Chris Marentis has suggested that these service ads could eventually replace AdWords Express. While there is merit in that since these ads are much less likely to receive unqualified traffic, the testing of a major new component like Concierge indicates that such a development is still a long way off.
Should Google decide to further these updates, Google Home Services will be extremely difficult for Google to scale on a national level. Not only are we talking about a call center that will have to handle hundreds of thousands of requests, but we’re also talking about keeping up with licensing and insurance for thousands of home services companies. SEO in general is continually evolving, and should this roll out on a national level, we’ll make it work. Keep up with our blog for updates and developments on Google Home Services and Google Concierge!
About The Author:
Betsy is the social media lead and a digital marketing expert with Blue Corona. When she’s not managing Blue Corona’s digital content campaigns she’s urban exploring, hiking with her dog, or teaching horseback riding lessons. Twitter: @educatedbets
View more blogs by Betsy McLeod