Google is continuing the roll-out of its new Home Services ad scheme, with the programme set to launch in Chicago.
Google Home Services allows local businesses like tradesmen, electricians, and locksmiths to place ads on search results pages for relevant queries such as ‘plumbers Chicago’.
Businesses signing up to the scheme may see their listing displayed at the top of the page, along with a star rating and the ‘Google guaranteed’ mark – but the criteria for entry onto the scheme may be stringent.
Home Services ads, which are available through Google Adwords Express, give potential customers the option to contact businesses either by phone or through a direct message. Rankings may be affected by factors such as the time it takes businesses to respond to messages sent through the ads.
Home Services ad accounts are available through the Adwords Express mobile apps, which are offered on iOS and Android. You can check out the full explanation here.
Google describes Adwords Express as “an advertising product that automatically manages your online ads, without the need for daily management or tasks”, calling it ideal for businesses who’re getting started and don’t have much time to focus on online advertising.
You can read more about what exactly you get from Adwords Express here.
While Adwords gives you access to paid search and related tools, Adwords express allows you to to set up automated management, and is better optimised for businesses who don’t have a website.
You can find a comparison between AdWords Express and AdWords in Google's own words here, although it’s worth noting that Home Services is only available through Adwords Express at present.
Search Engine Journal reports that Google is requiring that businesses in Chicago prove that they have the proper licenses and insurance, and are also forcing them to undergo mystery shopper evaluations.
Google itself has said that those who want to use Google Home Services must have background checks, and has given details on their website.
Google Home Services is currently only available in selected US cities, with Chicago launching in the coming weeks. However, it is expected that the service will be rolled out across the US and eventually worldwide.
In the meantime, local businesses from tradesmen to hairdressers can still use a range of Google tools to help get noticed.
The Google Knowledge Panel is an important function that allows both local businesses and brands to appear prominently in Google search results, drawing information from Google My Business. Read more about the Google Knowledge Panel for small business.
You might also wish to explore AdWords, which is one of the most powerful ways to advertise your local business online. Visit our interactive microsite for more information on Google AdWords for small business.
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