What is Google Screened?
If you have ever checked out a local service industry business on Google and noticed a little green checkmark below their Google Rating, then you have seen a Google Screened certification. Google Screened is a new service similar to Google Guaranteed. It is a way for customers to see that businesses have passed a background check and qualification process for Google’s Local Services Ads. In other words, it’s a way to develop trust between your business and clients. It’s currently designed for professional service companies and required in order to earn the right to run Local Services Ads.
Benefits of the Google Screening Program
The Google Screened verification is designed to prevent customers from choosing a company that is fraudulent, unqualified, or otherwise a bad fit for their needs. It allows customers to choose the right business with confidence. Companies can also benefit from the Google Screening process because it ensures that their ads will be placed in front of the right audience, and these companies are more likely to develop stronger leads and inquiries as a result.
Who is Eligible to Use Google Screened?
There are a few requirements that need to be met in order to be Google Screened qualified, including:
- Passing a business level, and business owner background check, and in some cases employees are also required to complete one.
- Going through the necessary license and insurance checks based on the category of your business.
- Maintaining a rating of 3 or above on Google.
Currently, the only businesses that are eligible for Google Screened are companies that provide any type of professional service. These can include:
- Law firms
- Financial planning
- Real estate
- Car repair
- Lawn care
- Pet grooming/boarding
- Pest control
- Tax specialists
You can see a full list of who is currently eligible for Google Screening here.
How Do I Get Verified?
Google requires and conducts a background check for any business that applies to be verified with Google Screened. Because they deal with sensitive information, these background checks are handled directly between Google and the business, whether they will be managing their Local Service Ads or handling an outside company to manage them. Background checks are conducted for business owners, some eligible employees, and the business as a whole, and include criminal history checks, litigation history, and more. Businesses are not charged for these background checks, and the results remain confidential between the businesses and the local partners that perform the check.
Businesses that fail background checks will not be allowed to participate in the Google program that they applied for. Businesses can always reach out to identify if there were any errors or inaccuracies in their background check.
After the background check process, Google will have to verify that your business is registered according to relevant laws and regulations governing the country you reside in. Companies must show proof of their business registration by uploading documents and providing registration numbers. You will also be required to get insurance checks and license checks.
For certain business categories, advertisers may be required to complete advanced verification. This is to ensure that there are no fraudulent advertisements or businesses advertising on Google. This process reviews your Google Ads account (if you have one), public data, and video interviews.
How is Google Screened Different from Google Guaranteed?
While Google Screened and Google Guaranteed both require similar background checks and both serve as a way to provide customer assurance in a business, there are some significant differences.
Google Screened is currently in a test phase and is only available in a limited number of industries and locations. There is currently no fee to apply for Google Screened certification.
Google Guaranteed, on the other hand, costs $2,000 for businesses in the United States and includes a money-back guarantee: if a customer hires a business that is Google Guaranteed and they are not happy with their service (for example, an HVAC company damages an air conditioning unit and does not fix the problem correctly), Google will, at their sole discretion, reimburse them up to $2,000. Google Screened offers no such compensation.
Like Google Screened, Google Guaranteed is only available to certain types of businesses, including home services such as appliance repair, house cleaning, plumbers, or painters. Notably, lawyers are not eligible to be Google Guaranteed, as lawyers operate on the basis that past outcomes do not guarantee future results.
Need Help Getting Certified with Google Screened?
Becoming Google Screened certified will allow your business to benefit significantly down the road, and can create a better relationship between you and your potential customers. If you go through all of the requirements and successfully qualify, a green checkmark will appear under your company’s name beside the Google rating when people search for your company, indicating that you have been thoroughly checked by Google and meet their qualifications. If you are interested in getting your business certified, contact us today and we can assist you with the process.