Google Home Services: Friend or Foe?
For the past 3 or 4 years Google has been quietly tinkering with a project they now call “Google Home Services”. Originally only available in San Francisco – and in several changing formats – Google Home Services is now being rolled out to seven major cities around the country including Los Angeles, Seattle and Atlanta.
What is Google Home Services
Google Home Services is largely targeted towards small businesses, contractors and their consumers. After completing a search for a company – say you type in “pool builder Houston” – you will then see three boxes at the top of the Google search results. In each of the three boxes you will find:
- The listing for the small business or contractor
- A Google Review count
- They are “Google Guaranteed
Below that you will also be able to find a phone number and the hours the company will be open (if they are not still open at that time).
Note that the phone number on the listing is not the actual phone number for the contractor. Instead, it is a number Google assigns to that contractor. If the consumer uses the number, the number in the listing is changed for the next consumer and the number provided to the original consumer will remain active for the next 15 days.
As long as a consumer and contractor stay in touch over the 15 days, they can continue to stay in touch using this Google-forwarded number. If they haven’t spoken to one another in 15 days, Google will deactivate that forwarding number and the real number for the contractor or business will show up in Google Home Services for that consumer.
Here’s something interesting, though: If you try to ask a consumer for their direct number (Google sees this as a way as trying to circumvent their ability to record conversations between a contractor and a consumer), you may find yourself kicked out of the program.
Cheap Leads, but at What Price?
Depending on the market you are in, the cost of a lead may be $25 or so. While the price is right, keep in mind that you will likely be competing with other contractors for the same lead – two other of which will show up beside you in Google Home Services with their own glowing Google Reviews and price points. This opens up the possibility of bid wars which can drive down profits.
The Google Guarantee states that if you receive work from a company or contractor and you are not satisfied, Google will cover your claim with a lifetime cap of $2,000. The guarantee does not cover damages to property, dissatisfaction with the price, cancellations and a few other items, though bear in mind that reputable contractors and companies already have their own better guarantees in place to protect their customers.
Stay Ahead of the Competition
Google Home Services is being seen by some as the largest disruption for businesses who market online. It will have a major impact on both SEO and PPC, and it makes it all the more important that you stay ahead of the game so that you will have a jump on your competitors. Call Small Screen Producer today to protect your online business at (281) 569-4370.