Philadelphia is definitely an exciting city to be living in right now, especially since it has just been confirmed as the next test market for Google Home Service Ads.

Things are going to be heating up for blue-collar businesses this spring. Google says the ads will launch by mid to late June, and begin by focusing exclusively on the plumbing industry. They’ll be reaching out directly to around 30-40 companies that meet their criteria.

One of our clients was actually the very first plumbing business in the market to be contacted by Google. As Premier Partners, we help make sure you’re a trustworthy business, giving Google all the more reason to extend the invitation to you when they expand to other home service industries in the future.

All partners will be required to pass a rigorous background check, as well as a vetting process to ensure they’re properly licensed and insured. Google will also be using mystery shoppers to evaluate their performance. To get started, companies must provide Google with the following:

    • Business name
    • Business phone number
    • Business address
    • Google registered email address
    • Website
    • Contractor’s license number
    • Service area (cities or radius)
    • Hours of operation
    • Year founded
  • Amount of general liability insurance coverage

Since August of 2015, Google has been partnering with local businesses in specific California markets to display ads for relevant queries, including Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento, Stockton and the San Francisco Bay Area.

This feature has been showing up on mobile devices for local service providers, such as locksmiths, plumbers, handymen, HVAC services, and electricians.

Home Service Ads will be expanding nationwide by the end of 2017. Users in Philadelphia will be able to view search results in a swipeable carousel of listings that will feature a map of the service area.

Here’s a quick rundown on what Google Home Service Ads could mean for your business:

Draw new customers. The Home Service unit will be displayed at the very top of Google’s search results (above pay-per-click ads and organic results) when users search for services similar to the ones that your business offers.  

Legitimate leads without the heavy lifting. Google will build an authentic profile page for your business, so that people can see your hours of operation and learn about the services you provide. This is a great place for customers to leave reviews, make a call, or place requests directly to your business straight from the search results page.

Requests and appointments can all be managed through the mobile app and desktop application. Plus, you’ll only pay for the leads you receive.  

Separate your business from the competition. Earning the “Google guaranteed” tag means you’ll gain access to the Home Service app, premium promotion, and more. It also proves that your business is licensed, insured and pre-screened. Only providers who’ve satisfied Google’s requirements will be featured in the unit.

The tag also lets customers know the job will be done correctly or their money back, as a part of Google’s guarantee. Since users can read real reviews, these ads will help you build a solid reputation online.  

Impact for Philadelphia

This is huge for businesses here in Philadelphia. We’re the first city on the East Coast to pilot the ads, which means we were chosen over other major cities like New York, Boston and Washington, D.C. This suggests that Google views our city as an extremely valuable market.  

For those of you who feel like you’re drowned out by paid ads or lost among organic results, you may soon find your business rising to the top. This appears to be Google’s way of rewarding local businesses based on reviews, reputation, and a combination of other important components.

So if you’re an upstanding plumbing business in Philadelphia, you may be given the opportunity over the next month to partner with Google and benefit from this feature.

Your ranking will depend on a number of factors, including your proximity to your customers’ locations, the number of reviews you receive, your overall score, how responsive you are to questions and requests, and whether or not Google has received serious or recurring complaints about your business.

To ensure you receive messages regularly, Google suggests that you respond to as many of them as possibleeven if you choose not to provide the requested service. If you continue to ignore messages, then the option for customers to send message requests to your business may no longer exist.

As a Google Premier Partner, Google will start vetting our clients in the plumbing industry. As time goes on, we hope to see Google add more industries to the list, similar to how the process developed in the California markets. In this case, a strong online presence and solid reputation will help our clients climb to the very top of the Google search results page.

To participate in Google Home Service Ads, you must be invited by a Google account manager to create your ad. However, if you’re interested in home services, Google asks that you share some information about your business, and they’ll get in touch with you as they extend the pilot to new areas and types of businesses.

Stay tuned for further updates surrounding this exciting news.