Monday 31 January 2022

Google Local Ads and the Google Guarantee - a moneyspinner for Google and the death knell for review sites?

Anyone who has conducted a local search recently will have seen Google's clever new offering: here's a common enough example:

With the tab at the bottom leading to...

With the green tick that means 'Google Guaranteed'...

Although the 'guarantee' provided by Google certainly doesn't relate to the quality of the workmanship or service on offer, if some of the reviews for the Google Guaranteed businesses are anything to go by...

...these go on for a long way

The basic premise is to be found here, but to summarise: the green tick means the business actually exists plus a few other knobs and whistles (we're disappointed they will accept businesses with only a mobile number), which we suppose is a step in the right direction when you think of some of the 'businesses' doing the rounds offering their services from the back of a white van.

But there are two serious issues at play here.

First, why, if Google reviews worked and businesses engaged with them in a legally compliant manner, is this service needed? Who needs it? Consumers? Why not just search for a plumber with a decent score and a good number of reviews? Google is charging businesses for that green tick and for the ability to appear right at the top of search, above ads, above the 3-pack and above organic listings. Isn't that why Yelp quit the UK and the EU? Didn't the authorities have issues with businesses paying to be bumped up the search rankings?

Second: that's it for the likes of Trustpilot. Why would any business pay for them when they can pay Google - per lead - and appear way higher in search as well?

Answers on a postcard, please.

Meanwhile, we record Trustpilot's share price here, just out of interest, so we can refer back in the months and years to come:

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