Google has once again changed the way that it manages service area businesses in the search results. This time they have created a program called Verified Home Service Businesses (VHSB). VHSB is a new program launched by Google that offers the searcher peace of mind. It is Google saying this is a verified, reputable business, and we have investigated and approve of their business practices. Getting a recommendation from someone as reputable as Google is huge for removing the customers barrier of trust. To help reduce this even further Google offers some assurances for users, they offer a guarantee of service for up to $2,000 for any services booked through this program.
How Does It Work?
As you can see in the screenshot below when a user searches for a VHSB they will show up at the top of the search results with a small green check mark.
Also note that in the right side of the screen it says “Sponsored”. This is important as to be included in this list you are required to be running Home Service Ads (HSA) in Google Adwords. If you click on the “50+ plumber serving Sand Diego” you are presented with a full list of all the VHSB in San Diego and surrounding areas. (Note: it is unclear yet if you are required to be running ads to be included anywhere on the list as the bottom 1/3 of results are not verified, however, to show up in search results you must be running HSA). Click here for a full page screenshot of the search results.
Lastly and maybe most importantly – these VHSB will also show up during branded searches. This means that when customers are searching for your competitors your business is eligible to show.
How To Become Verified:
To become verified you must apply to Google directly here. Google will then review, see if you are eligible and then reach out to you individually. After that they will need to vet your company, practices, billings, etc. They do this to ensure you are a reputable business and they can trust you. As to what the actual vetting process involves is still unclear, however, from some preliminary reports it is quite intense. Stay tuned for further details as to the verification process of becoming a Verified Home Service Business.
Where Is It Available?
Currently Google is only testing this program in Southern California (Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento, Stockton, and the San Francisco Bay area), however it is expected to roll out across North America early to mid 2018. To make sure you are in the loop for your business you can subscribe to Google updates or check back with our blog often as we will keep you updated of any major changes. As of now it is good to think about becoming a VHSB when it becomes available. By jumping on this trend early you have the ability to gain a substantial competitive advantage over your competition in search!