Google Expanding Advanced Verification & HSA to Los Angeles

Google is expanding Advanced Verification and the Home Service Ad test to plumbers and locksmiths in Los Angeles this month.

In July of 2015, Google rolled out a test in the Bay Area of their Home Service Ad that used “extreme vetting” of local plumbers & locksmiths. In October & November of 2016 they started testing a less extreme Advanced Verification and a purge of the local listings for any plumber or locksmith that didn’t have a storefront or meet their increased scrutiny as a local service area business. With this they rolled out additional front page map based pack like local ad units and/or started selling pack visibility.

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Google’s tests in San Diego initially dropped just less than 90% of the locksmith listings from the local database and Maps.  While some of those dropped have made their way back into Google Maps, the number of listings in that market declined significantly. As part of the move to Advanced Verification, Google has rolled out a number of new test ad units based on this verification.

According to Google the test of Advanced Verification in Los Angeles has started this week and by end of the month any locksmith or plumber not meeting the criteria will be purged from Google Local.

Like in San Diego ad shown above the HSA will be a “blended unit” and will include both advertisers who passed verification and that pay as well as those that passed but did not pay. Those paying will receive “additional benefits” like the Google guarantee.

Also like in the San Diego test and the ad shown above, service area businesses will be removed from the 3-pack and only businesses with a storefront will be shown in the Local Pack. Bricks and mortar locksmiths & plumbers are eligible to purchase an ad in the HSA unit and can thus be shown twice.

Apparently the verification process being used in Los Angeles will be easier. Some locksmiths and plumbers were  “pre-verified” based on available information and no action was required on their part. The application for those not pre-verified has also been shortened.

By mid February the Home Service Ad unit will launch in LA and on Feb 27th listings that have not advanced verified will start to be removed.

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Google Expanding Advanced Verification & HSA to Los Angeles by

8 thoughts on “Google Expanding Advanced Verification & HSA to Los Angeles”

  1. @Michael
    Short answer: No

    Long answer:
    Google wants to
    – Maximize profitability
    – Minimize work by scaling
    – Reduce liabilities that may compromise profitability.

    Home Services is google’s answer to all of the above.

    They are focusing on industries where the public is endangered by having someone come to their house, effectively recommended by Google.

    Thus they are attempting to find a higher level of verification that can at least guarantee that the locksmith or plumber is real. Obviously San Diego was too expensive and they are finding ways to make it cheaper.

    They don’t need this level of verification in most veritcals because one, there is often less spam and two there is little danger to a person from a listing at a virtual office and three those guys are already paying.

    Google already has a win in most of those industries so there is no need for this.

    In the locksmith world, they are essentially forgoing national scammers in return for many, many more local advertisers.

  2. Pretty much agreed with everything in your response. Do you think it’s inevitable that they’ll eventually push advanced verification/home services for locksmiths and plumbers nationwide?

    Also, that’s really interesting that they’re running paid and unpaid locals in parallel. I’m not sure if they’re just trying to test engagement or if they want to throw a bone to companies who aren’t advertising, just to mitigate the backlash.

    That’s a shame about removing the service area businesses, though. I know a few great plumbers who just operate out of their homes to keep costs down, and this can’t bode well for them.

  3. Thanks for tweeting this to me Mike! The client I work for applied for the program yesterday. We’re not sure what to expect but we are definitely excited about the impact of this program. With so many locksmith scams, its nice to see Google do its part to try and vet those good and bad companies.

    I’m curious to see how the program works, for example if we have to bid for those 3 spots on the added map section.

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