What is the google screened badge?
When you search for certain businesses on Google, a select few appear at the top of the page bearing a little green check mark and the words “Google Screened.”
Google debuted this badge in September 2019 as a means of verifying and endorsing certain types of local business. It is earned through a rigorous screening process and paired with Local Services Ads to further boost rankings in local search results.
Does Google Screened Certification Cost Money?
While the Google Screened badge and screening process are free, it must be paired with Local Services Ads, the cost of which varies depending on location. Unlike typical Google Search Ads, which are usually paid for on a Cost-Per-Click (CPC) basis, Local Services Ads are paid for on a Cost-Per-Acquisition basis.
In the sales and marketing world, a customer is “acquired” when they have made a transaction with your business. In other words, you pay for your Google Screened ads only when someone clicks on them and contacts you.
Who Qualifies for Google Screened Ads?
The Google Screened badge is currently only available to “vertical” markets. Vertical markets are niche businesses that are meant to address very specific customer needs. This entails a local address. “Horizontal” markets are those that appeal to a much wider audience and are not necessarily local.
At the moment, the following verticals are eligible for a Google Screened certification:
Local Attorneys/Law Firms
Google verifies all active licenses for attorneys looking to earn the Screened icon. It does not, however, perform individual background checks on the lawyers, since this is already a State requirement for obtaining a license to practice law.
Real Estate Agents
Agents appearing in Google Screened Ads must also pass a license check as well as an individual background check, unless this is already required by their state in order to get their realtor’s license.
Child Care Providers
Daycare and preschool services must undergo a license check. They are also not subject to individual background checks, as this is a requirement under State Law in order to open and operate a childcare business.
Financial Planning Services
Financial planners, including Certified Public Accountants and tax specialists, must pass a business-level background check and a business-owner background check. All employees associated with the business must likewise pass a background check, and the business will have all licenses verified.
Is Google Screened Worth It?
Yes, obtaining your Google Screened badge is worth it for a few reasons. Companies that appear with a Google Screened are trusted more by users, and the certification provides business owners with more qualified direct-call leads.
The reassuring green check mark indicates that a business has passed a rigorous screening process by Google, while the Local Services ad ensures that a business will appear at the very top of the page. You are effectively getting brand awareness, engagement, and acquisition all in one spot.
The fact that a business has been thoroughly vetted by Google also means it will be given priority not just in paid search results, but also organic ones. This means you may garner web traffic based on your content in addition to the ads you pay for.
Furthermore, you will only pay for your Local Services ad when it is effective–i.e., when someone presses the “click to call” button. This makes it a relatively low-risk investment as far as paid advertising is concerned.
Help With Google Screened Ads
If you are in one of the vertical business niches eligible for the Google Screened badge, it is a good idea to start your screening process. The process is free, so you won’t be risking anything monetarily if, for some reason, your business does not pass the screening.
If you need assistance obtaining your certification and managing your Local Services Ads, a good digital marketer can help. Contact our team at Serenity Digital for a free consultation to see how you can get started.