The ease of creating a profile for a business online can cause as many problems for consumers as it solves. People looking for local services have to be careful that the service providers they call are legitimate and provide high-quality services. It’s a huge problem for Google if consumers can’t trust the business listings they find online. To address these concerns, Google has programs that tell consumers that the company has been verified. Google recently added “Google Screened” to the ways a business can show the validity of their service to customers online.
Several years ago, Google launched the “Google Guaranteed” label for home services that had been verified by Google. When searching for a plumber or lawn care company online, users could use the Google Guaranteed label to choose a provider that was reliable and that had passed a background check by Google. It gave consumers more confidence when viewing Local Services Ads.
Google Screened is something very similar. However, instead of focusing on home services, this label is designed for professional services, such as law firms, financial planners, real estate companies, and more. These initial offerings are limited because Google Screened is still in a testing phase. If the program is useful for consumers and businesses, it will likely expand to cover more industries.
How the program works is relatively simple, but business owners will have to jump through some hoops to get their company approved for a Google Screened badge.
According to Google, “All firms that have the Google Screened badge must pass a business-level background and a business-owner background check. Additionally, each professional in the business must pass a license and background check, and the business overall must have a 3.0-star rating or higher. These checks ensure that the professionals you work with have been vetted and provides you added peace of mind as you work with them.”
It should be noted that financial planners will have a slightly easier time getting approved for a Google Screened badge. While other businesses will need to have an aggregate review score of 3.0 or higher, this requirement is waived for financial planners. This decision may have been made because financial planning is a long-term endeavor, so people can’t leave an immediate review of the quality of the planner’s services. Furthermore, financial planning is very individual, so any positive reviews about huge profits wouldn’t necessarily apply to someone else that works with that planner.
If Google Screened is well received, it may be incorporated into other Google products the way the Google Guaranteed label is. Google Guaranteed or partner-screened status (HomeAdivsor, Porch) is a requirement to appear in Google Assistant results on the smartphone and Google Home devices. Currently, this isn’t the case with Google Screened, by that could easily change in time.
For more recent news about updates to Google services, read this article on Google’s crackdown on sites that engage in inauthentic click activity.