The past couple of weeks our SEO team has been intrigued by the slow roll out of the Google Guaranteed Badge and how it could potentially affect not only our dealers Google My Business listings, but also their overall presence in Google’s organic and paid search results.
To be clear, as of this writing, Google is still categorizing the Guaranteed Badge as an “experiment” and is not available for car dealerships — more specifically their service departments — yet. That said, it’s totally worth examining what this badging is, why it’s important, and how it works. That way when/if it does officially becomes available for car dealers, you’ll already be armed with all the information you need to know.
GOOGLE GUARANTEED BADGE DETAILS
It is typical of Google to roll out an experimental feature or tool without announcing it ahead of time, but they have provided this overview of the program now that it is available for certain local businesses:
The Google Guaranteed badge is available for businesses that pass a Google screening and qualification process through Google Local Services. The business will have to pay $50 a month or $600 a year to have the badge active on your Google My Business listing. If you’re backed by the Google Guarantee, and your customers aren’t satisfied with work quality, Google may refund the amount paid for the service up to $2,000 for U.S. and $2,000 for Canada. If one of your customers submits a claim, Google will contact you to learn more about the current situation. You’ll have an opportunity to make things right with the customer. After investigating the claim further, Google will decide on a resolution.
Now that we know the basics about what the Guaranteed Badge is, the next step is to evaluate the benefits it can provide to a business.
- The badge will be present on your Google My Business Knowledge Panel right below your business name. The badge is green in color with a white check mark. Something you would see similarly on a verified Twitter account.
- Having the badge does not affect your rankings within the search engine results, but it can directly affect how a user chooses your business over competitors.
- Metrics are showing a higher percentage with click through rate, which could mean users are seeing your local listing as a trusted source and will click through to your site over a competitor that does not have the badge.
- Better local results when using voice search on a Google Home product or the Google Assistant on your mobile device. An example of this would be, “Google, find car service repair near me”. When you have two competitors within the same distance the results will most likely give you the listing that is “Guaranteed” by Google.
You can see if you’re eligible for the badge by visiting Google’s Local Services Help page. Right now the categories are focused on local service businesses including plumber, carpenter, etc. We think Google is trying to show the validity of your business, much like Angie’s list only showing trusted contractors that have a good track record of happy clients.
CAN CAR DEALERS GET THE GOOGLE GUARANTEED BADGE?
While the answer is “not yet”, our team did some digging which leads us to believe there’s a real possibility that car dealers will ultimately be eligible to get the Google Guaranteed Badge.
When looking through the help documents that Google published on the subject, we can see that there there is a category called Car Repair that has a list of requirements to be eligible for the Google Guaranteed Badge. However, it is not yet available in the drop down list of selectable categories when you go to actually apply for the badge.
To us this is a promising signal that Google is prepared to activate the Car Repair category at some point in time, thus allowing dealership’s to apply for the badge.
SERVICE & PARTS DEPARTMENT GMB LISTINGS
One local SEO best practice that Dealer Inspire uses for automotive clients is creating a separate Google My Business listing for car sales and the other for service and parts. The service listing can house reviews related to service, while also having different categories like tire repair, oil change, etc.
Some benefits of having a service listing is having customer reviews related to your service center, highlighting different working hours, and more relevant results for service related keywords. Another added benefit is direct links to your service pages, which can have the added benefit of a smaller bounce rate percentage. The sales listing would hold the sales reviews and categories of what make and model you sell.
Since the primary focus of the badge is to give accurate information on businesses that provide a certain service to their customers, we most likely will see a trend where the Google My Business service listing will need the badge. Knowing this it will be crucial to separate out the service listing from the sales.
IS THE GOOGLE GUARANTEED BADGE WORTH THE MONEY?
The ultimate question is “Is the Google Guaranteed Badge worth my money and time”? In our expert opinion of the digital marketing landscape, yes, it is worth the time and money to invest into the Google Guaranteed Badge.
Earlier on we talked about how our SEO team was seeing better results with voice search on a Google Home. If you have a competing dealership nearby and one has the badge and the other doesn’t we can see Google choosing the one with the badge, since it is a trusted source.
You might not care to have the badge, but a customer who has had a bad experience at another dealership might care. Sometimes car repairs are a huge investment and very stressful, so customers want to make sure that your dealership is right for the job.
To me it’s like the difference between buying a certified pre-owned vehicle from your dealership, versus the the exact same car from an private owner. A shopper knows that a certified pre-owned vehicle has gone through multi-point inspections by certified technicians and provides additional warranties to ease your mind on the investment you just made. However buying the same car from Dale on Facebook Marketplace is going to leave you with a certain amount of anxiety about it’s overall reliability. I mean, is Dale even his real name? And what is Dale hiding?
WHAT’S IN STORE FOR THE FUTURE?
Once this is fully rolled out to the local platform you can expect businesses to hop on to this Google Guaranteed Badge train right away. Even though it doesn’t affect ranking directly it will determine the user intent when searching for a service near their location. It will be hard to compete with a dealership that has a badge, while you don’t. The Guaranteed Badge will most likely become a standard for local SEO in the near future.
Want to learn more about how Dealer Inspire’s SEO team can help your dealership maximize its presence in the organic search results? Drop us a line, we’d love to chat!Let’s Talk SEO