If you’re on social media platforms like Instagram or TikTok, chances are you know what it means to be “verified.” You may even be following a verified user or two. Verified accounts tell us that we are legitimately following a celebrity or public figure, rather than a spam or fan account.
What if we had roughly the same thing, but for professional services? You’re in luck; the all-new Google Screened does just that, and more. Let’s examine this service in more detail, and talk about why it’s predicted to turn the local marketing tables.
What is Google Screened?
Don’t get us wrong; it’s vital for social media stars and public figures to be verified. That way, we can confirm that the content and the causes they advocate are indeed their own. We’d argue that as important as being a verified celeb is, it’s even more important to be a verified professional service. For one, if you work in law, real estate, or financial planning, not being the real deal could have some serious legal ramifications. Being verified is also a quick and easy way to show your customers that you’re trustworthy and authentic.
With Google Screened, businesses are required to pass extensive background and license checks. Once they’ve done so, they receive a green checkmark on Google next to their business’ name.
Think of it this way: your customer must choose between two real estate agents that appear to be of the same quality on the surface. One of them is verified on Google Screened; the other one isn’t. Which one makes you feel more confident? Yup, we couldn’t agree more.
Now, some of you may be scratching your heads, sure that you’ve heard of something like this before. And you’d be right about that; Google Guaranteed was introduced a few years ago. It is, indeed, pretty similar, but it instead emphasizes at-home service providers. Those services can be pretty broad, from plumbers to locksmiths to house cleaners. The difference between the two is that Google Guaranteed isn’t required for professional service providers. Think of Google Screened as an expansion on an already-great idea, adding credibility to even more business sectors.
Why Do Local Service Professionals Need Google Screened?
Building up local credibility can be challenging, and that’s an understatement. From word-of-mouth reviews to local influencers, local service professionals have had to get creative with their marketing. But with all the techniques out there, what makes Google Screened such a game-changer?
Local Service Ads Appear at the Top of Search Results
If you’ve ever done a local search (“takeout food near me,” for example), you’ve seen it before: ads for local businesses at the top of search results. After all, if you live in Madison, Wisconsin, it’s not exactly sensical to see ads for Chicago, Illinois businesses in response to local search queries, now is it?
Think of local business ads like this: by being at the top of the search results, you’re already in the spotlight. By being verified, you create the brightest, shiniest, and most flattering spotlight for yourself. Talk about a relief to customers who don’t want to wander far outside their geographic area for exemplary service!
Try as You Might, You Can’t Fake Being Verified
Sadly, many local SEO marketers have opted for some sketchy tactics to promote their business. One of the most common is the fake Yelp review—writing positive reviews that just-so-happen to include all the right keywords.
You can fake a Yelp review, easy peasy. You can’t fake that green Google Screened checkmark. And with over 20% of Yelp reviews being forged these days, authenticity is more crucial than ever before.
How to Sign Up for Google Screened?
To sign up for Google Screened, you’ll first want to understand the screening requirements by category for US businesses. At this point, Google Screened is only available for law, financial planning, and real estate (other companies will have to use Google Guaranteed). We’re sure that other categories will be included in months to come, so keep your eyes peeled.
From there, create an account for your business and let the verification process commence. For some, that means deeper dives into business registration validity and evidence of past practices than others, so don’t worry if your screening process takes time. And with that, we wish you the best of luck!
Ready to Take Your Local Business to the Next Level?
Trick question—of course you are! By partnering with a digital marketing agency, you’ll do just that. At Snap, we keep updated on Google’s latest features as well as brand-new local marketing tactics. For more information on Google Screened and how to pass the verification test with flying colors, we’re just a phone call or message away. Let’s connect!