Customers want to find a business they can trust. And now they can with the Google Local Trust pack.
Local search is more popular than ever. Eighty-eight percent of mobile users who perform a local search visit a store within a week. Over a quarter of nearby searches result in a sale.
Google released its Local service way back in 2004. Since then it’s integrated local business listings into Search and Maps. Google My Business lets companies claim their listings and promote their services for free.
The next step in this evolution is Google’s Local Trust pack.
In this article, we look at the importance of local search for all business types and sizes. We then explain what the Local Trust pack is and how it works. Then we reveal how to get qualified for the program and earn a badge of trust.
Read on to learn all about the changes to Google’s search and how they can benefit you.
Why Does Local Search Marketing Matter?
Local search engine marketing lets businesses advertise their brand by appearing for a local search query.
Keyword intents like ‘near me’ or an address tell Google to only include matching businesses in the given area. Results appear as map listings or featured galleries that the user can click or tap on for more information.
Searches often include opening hours or directions to a local store. The term ‘where to buy…near me’ has increased by 200% over the past three years.
Optimizing your website or business listing for local search phrases is essential in 2020. But what does the term Google Local Pack mean and how does it affect search results?
What Is Google Local Pack?
Sometimes referred to as the 3-Pack, this service combines maps, contact details, and reviews.
When you Google a local service, the Local Pack appears above the organic search results. It displays the business’s name, address, contact details, and review stars. Users can then select a listing to get directions or contact the provider directly.
Google My Business
To make the most of local search use the free Google My Business service.
Enter your company details and write an optimized description of the services you provide. Include your phone number, email, and web address and Google will log all communication attempts.
Users can also plan their journeys through the interactive map and find nearby parking spots.
What’s New in Google Local Trust Pack?
Until recently the 3-pack only offered customer reviews as a way to measure trust.
That system is often criticized for misuse as competitors or disgruntled employees file fake reviews. Google decided to act on the matter and introduced the Local Trust Pack.
Sponsored Local Service Ads
Local Service Ads or LSAs form the core of the Local Trust Pack.
They’re different from the Google My Business listing service in that not all businesses can apply. They are also managed separately from your Google Ads account and produce separate results.
Unfortunately, they cost money to run but only on a per-lead basis. Regardless, the goal is to show that each listed company is trustworthy.
To determine that, you submit a list of services you offer and associated rates. You also need to give your working hours, areas covered, and highlights that separate you from competitors.
Benefits of Local Service Ads
Along with a trust badge which we’ll cover shortly, LSAs offer the following benefits:
- Ads are put at the top of Google Search for matching searches
- Profiles are completely personalized
- The mobile app lets potential customers communicate directly
- Google Assistant may choose you as a local provider if you’re guaranteed
Unlike pay per click, LSAs charge only for registered leads. That way you can keep track of how much business you get directly from these ads.
Badges of Trust
Like a 5-star review, businesses get to earn a badge as a sign to show that Google trusts them.
The green circled checkmark sits beside the listing along with ‘GOOGLE GUARANTEED’. This makes it obvious to the user who’s earned the badge.
Some business types have ‘GOOGLE SCREENED’. So what’s the difference?
Google Guaranteed Badges
To earn a guaranteed badge, you need to send proof that your business is insured and licensed. Paperwork needs to be up-to-date and you must have digital copies (photos) of all your licenses.
The important note for a customer is that this badge carries the Google Guarantee of up to $2,000!
It’s perfect for home service providers like plumbers, cleaners, and electricians. Check Google’s Local Service Ads page for the full list.
Google Screened Badges
Google Screened businesses don’t get a guarantee. But the badge proves that they’ve gone through all the background checks and have a review score of 3 or more stars.
Service providers like financial advisors or lawyers make the best use of the screened badge. It offers a major trust boost directly within Google search so customers can contact them with confidence.
How to Get Qualified
The first stage in using the Google Local Trust pack is to check your eligibility.
Scroll to the bottom of the screen and see if your service is on that list. If so, click the ‘Check Eligibility’ button and follow the steps to earn your badge of trust.
Keep in mind that the service costs money.
You set a weekly average budget based on the number of leads you want. Google charges based on every lead you receive through the advert.
Prices vary depending on the job and lead types and your location. But you’ll never get charged over your allocated budget.
Take the time to set up your profile and optimize it for Google search. You may need help doing this otherwise your ad may not bring the best results.