LocalMailbag: What is a Google Guaranteed GMB Listing and How Do I Upgrade My Profile?

Google recently started testing a new paid feature that allows eligible businesses the ability to upgrade their GMB listing for $50USD/month to include the Google Guaranteed badge.

What is the upgraded business profile?

As of writing this, this is a feature that Google is currently testing. If a business is eligible for the upgrade option, they will have to pass a screening process similar to the one used for Local Services to get the Google Guaranteed badge on their profile. Google advertises it will “make it easy for customers to choose you.” 

What is the Google Guaranteed badge?

According to Google – A Google Guaranteed business reflects that your company has been vetted and approved by Google by going through a full screening process. It helps you build a strong reputation online and give customers peace of mind.

More importantly, from a consumer perspective the Google Guarantee acts as protection from poor quality of service, up to a lifetime maximum of $2,000. So if you hire a business and the work quality is extremely low and you can’t resolve it with the business, you can submit a claim to Google. 

How much does it cost to upgrade your GMB profile?

Google advertises Google Guaranteed upgraded business profiles for $50USD/month and is subscription based, so if you cancel – bye bye badge. 

What are the add-ons that are included?

Google mentions additional add-ons in their advertisement within the GMB dashboard, these include recorded phone calls and dedicated support. Enabling the upgrade creates a Local Services Ads account, so this will likely utilize the same interface as LSA offers to listen to recorded calls. I believe the dedicated support will be specific to the LSA features of the upgrade since LSA support appears to be the staff you’ll be routed to if you have issues.

This is likely how the badge will appear on the listing of a business that has enabled the upgrade:

Who is the upgraded GMB listing available to?

While this new offering is available for “eligible businesses”, it’s unclear at this point which businesses this includes. I spotted this inside the Google My Business dashboard for a US-based HVAC business. Based on testing I’ve seen I believe it will only be available for some home service business categories including HVAC, plumbers, electricians, roofing, carpet cleaning, house cleaning, pest control, water damage restoration, tree services, and landscaping.

When did the upgraded GMB listing become available? When will other businesses get access?

I first noticed this on July 22, 2020 and I believe it is limited to a small percentage of listings. Just because you are in one of the impacted categories doesn’t mean you will have the option to upgrade. It is unknown if and when it will expand to additional businesses or categories.

How can you apply for an upgraded GMB listing?

The first eligible businesses were notified within their GMB dashboards and there’s currently no way to apply for the program if it’s not yet available for your business.

What’s involved in the screening process?

The screening process appears to be the same as it is for Local Services ads. This varies a little based on the category of the business but generally involves license, insurance and background checks. More information about the screening process can be found here: https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/6226575

Does it make sense in light of this new upgrade, for businesses in the eligible categories to apply for Local Services Ads now in hopes of having future access to the GMB profile upgrade?

I initially assumed they would start with businesses already in Local Services Ads for two reasons:

  1. The businesses I saw with the option to upgrade were already in LSA
  2. It would be easy for them to enable the feature since they had already successfully completed the screening process to be in LSA

From what I’ve gathered since, that appears to be incorrect. I believe the GMB updated program, at least initially, is intended for businesses that are NOT already in Local Services Ads

Is Google done with Local Services Ads now?

Absolutely not! If anything, Google Guaranteed business listings may be a supplement or doorway to Local Services Ads, not a replacement. 

Anything is possible but I don’t see this as a replacement for Local Services ads. I see it as a way for Google to increase their advertiser base, reaching even more businesses that are not currently using Google Local Services Ads or Google Ads.

Have you seen the option to upgrade in your dashboard yet? Would you pay Google for an upgraded profile? Let us know in the comments below.

AUTHOR

Tom Waddington

Tom Waddington is a co-owner of Wachae, a search marketing and analytics business. He has been involved in local search for over a decade and has worked with numerous home service-related businesses in the United States and Canada. Tom is also a Google My Business Product Expert and has been closely monitoring the evolution of Google’s Local Services ads and sharing his insights on his personal blog.

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10 comments on “LocalMailbag: What is a Google Guaranteed GMB Listing and How Do I Upgrade My Profile?

  • This badge is an extortion. A cruel way of getting money from small businesses. No value added at all. Business will pay out of fear of being considered unsafe. I hope that the Justice Department put an end to these abuses from Google in this recent lawsuit.

  • That $50/mo is a steal currently to be 1 of 3 map options. Back in the day (2001) when it was local business center and I can use call tracking to verify for client listings I would set up they with get 100s of calls there when it was a 10 pack. Now its a 3 pack only with Google Ads allowing 1 spot as well. That $50/mo eventually will becoming a bidding war just like Google Ads is and go to highest prescreened bidder. I can see some industries paying hundreds per month to be 1 of the 3 map spots.

  • No, it is not something that currently causes a business to be one of the 3 map options. For now at least, I would expect it to have zero impact on rankings as Google is likely testing to see how much of an impact the badge and guarantee make just being there.

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