An Update on Google Local Services Ads

Adobe Spark (28)The Latest from Google Local Services

Some of you may remember a while back I mentioned the advent of a new project from Google called “Home Services Ads”. While there’s always something new coming from the wonderland of Googledom, everything about the program tells me that these ads will be a game-changer for businesses within the home services industry.

They are Google-backed promotion for service companies that get top-of-the-page exposure with a little seal showing that Google has reviewed the business and given their “approval” (which I think will add a lot of value in the eyes of most consumers).

Now, this poses an opportunity for Chem-Dry franchise owners. Here’s why:

Here’s What We Know

Lots of this information is still forthcoming, and since Google isn’t running ads for the carpet-cleaning industry (yet), we don’t have a lot of insider info. But here’s what you can expect according to my research.

Pay-Per-Lead (Not Pay-Per-Click):

Google is running this program in such a way that you pay for the lead you get rather than the click. Meaning, that you don’t pay unless the person who made the search makes some sort of effort to get in touch with you. Usually, this will mean a phone call from a mobile device, but it could also mean sending you a message, or filling out a form. In order to charge you, Google’s going to have to determine that the customer “converted” in some way. In other words, they called, messaged, etc.

Physical Location:

As far as we know, Google is going to require some sort of verification of your physical business location. Even as a service area business (they use the acronym “SAB”), they will require that you have a publicly listed location with signage that you can verify either via video chat or with street view on Google Maps. This may pose a challenge for many of you, because many Chem-Dry’s will operate out of their homes and choose not to disclose their actual location. The address you list cannot be a hired mailbox or UPS store. It has to be somewhere that people could physically drive (or walk) to in order to contact you. So, you may want to consider showing your physical location anyway because this, I think, will be the single biggest hurdle to participation on a large scale. However, I think the change will be worthwhile.


Google will be using the quantity and quality of your business reviews to calculate not only your display ranking (it’s not the only factor), but also the cost you pay for each lead. So make sure you’re getting reviews!!

Background Checks:

Another cool aspect (but not really a problem for many franchise owners) will be how Google runs their security and background checks on businesses. If they’re going to put their stamp of approval on your business, you can bet that they’re not going to do it casually. Google plans on conducting background checks on anyone that will be stepping foot inside a customer’s home at any time. They will be conducting the background checks with their own agency, but you can expect that to take place in order to participate in the program. This will help to keep low-performing competition out of the running.

What You Can Do

I think Google has been pretty careful in vetting this program. Right now, their plan is to roll this out to at least 30 major metro areas by the end of this year. So far, they’ve been focused primarily on west coast cities like Seattle, San Francisco, LA, San Diego, etc. However, I’d expect them to be coming to places like Denver, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, Miami, Nashville, Detroit, Las Vegas, and others. (*Note: These are not confirmed locations, but my estimate of where they’ll be heading next).

Since carpet cleaning is not a service they’re catering to (yet), one of the best things you can do if you’re interested in helping us get Chem-Dry into this service is to click the button below and fill out your business information, making a request for Carpet Cleaning to be added and getting your name on the list for admission into the program.

Tell Google I Want In

Once you’ve done that, make sure you’re getting reviews! Even if you’re not planning on participating, or it won’t be immediately available in your area, the more (good reviews) the better!

Big Takeaway:

Google Local Services ads could be an absolute game changer. Do your best to be up to speed and ready for them.

  1. Fill out the form and get your name on the list.
  2. Start collecting reviews on Google.
  3. Keep any eye out for more news coming soon!

If you’d like help click here to schedule a 30-minute coaching call with me. Otherwise, you can simply reply to this e-mail or call me directly at 435-890-1055.



Social Media, Local SEO, Pokemon & You

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A virtual phenomenon swept the country last year aiming to get “gamers” who stereotypically live in their parents basements, wear sweatpants, and subsist on hot pockets out into the real world, interacting with the elements. You may have heard of it – “Pokemon Go.”

While I have to admit that I tried it out and enjoyed it for a while, it became a waste of time. HOWEVER, my son has recently taken it up and since he’s only 8, I have to go around with him.

Essentially, the game consists of walking around your neighborhood or city hunting and “catching” virtual and fictitious animals with ridiculous names that you can then use to battle against other players’ collections.

But part of the game is “checking in” at various places of interest to collect supplies. They’re called “Poke-Stop’s.” Walking around with him got me thinking, “This is what Chem-Dry owners should be doing!”

You Want Me to WHAT?!…

Okay, so I don’t literally want you to go out playing a video game. You have more important things to do. But I want you look at it this way:

As a service-area business, you want to be local. SUPER local. A great way to do that is to tie your business to local places of interest. What does that mean?

Here are a few ideas:

  • When your technician gets lunch, does he/she go to a popular local diner? Have him/her snap a quick picture of their plate along with your business card.
  • Cleaning for a business? Take a picture of your team out front of the establishment before you begin. Encourage people to come by the next day to see what a great job you did.
  • Participating in a town parade? Share your parade position and what you’ll be handing out.

Ideally, you should pair a picture every time you do this (it improves engagement). But the biggest thing is that you “check in” when doing so. It’s easy.

How Do I Do That?

On Facebook (Desktop):

Click to start writing a post from your business page. Then “Check In” to a local place. If you’re not actually nearby, you can search for it and select the location.


Facebook Mobile:


Just touch the “Publish” icon to start typing a post (the pencil & paper one like you see over to the right).

Then, from the next screen, touch the “Check In” icon at the bottom right of your screen. Again, if you’re nearby, the place should come up automatically. If you’re not, simply search for the business and tag the listing.

It’s that easy. Now, not only will your post show up on your own Facebook page, tying you to the noteworthy location, but the place/business’s page will get a notification that you checked in there and THEIR followers will see your post as well.

It’s a win-win for everyone.

Instagram (Mobile Only):

If your company is doing Instagram (which I highly recommend, in this webinar), you can kill two Pidgey’s (or birds) with one stone.

After you selected your picture and typed your caption (using the appropriate Chem-Dry hash-tags), you can flip the Facebook switch (and Twitter if you like) for your own page and then use a locale that’s recommended under “Add Location”. When you do that, you’ve accomplished the Facebook Check-In AND the Instagram one.

Big Takeaway:

Social Media and location tagging is a great, easy way for you to connect your business to the community. It doesn’t take much. A few pictures/posts each month will go a LONG way.
  1. Check in at local places of interest.
  2. Find a way to tie your business to the place.
  3. Invite customers to check out the other business to see how you did. Their customers will see your activity as well.

Tweaking Your Facebook Page for Better Local Results

FB-IG Tweaks Blog Header

Facebook is an awesome place to maintain a relationship with past customers and even connect with new ones. But a challenging thing about Facebook is making it more relevant to your local service area business. Let’s talk about a couple quick tweaks you can make to your business page to get better results on a local level.

Tweak #1: Your Preferred Audience

The first quick tweak I would have you make is this: get a list of the zip codes you cover (talk to your Franchise Administration Rep, or I can even help you get it). Use that list to refine your location and the audience you’re trying to cater to.

Facebook uses your location and preferred page audience settings to make recommendations to other potential customers (usually whose friends have liked your page). While it’s nice to get page likes and followers from outside your area, you can’t service them! It’s far better to focus in on customers you can work for.

I would recommend having your vendor go in and change the settings on your page’s “Preferred Page Audience” to emphasize the “local” nature of your business. Keep it fairly high-level by not narrowing down too much with age, gender, etc., but definitely tell Facebook where you’re most interested in being found.

You can find a step-by-step tutorial here.

Tweak #2: Location and Instagram

Instagram is a growing social media platform that’s actually owned by Facebook. In fact, it’s growing so much, that in some markets and demographics, it’s actually overtaking Facebook in growth!

If you don’t have a company Instagram account, you can create one with your Facebook account. You can even have a business account AND a personal account. The nice thing about Instagram is that if you post a picture or video there, you can have it automatically share over to your Facebook page.

BUT, that’s not even the best part! When you take pictures and tag the location where you took them, you add even more local value to your post. Are you cleaning for a local restaurant or sports team? Check in at that location with your post and get your post shared on that organization’s Facebook page too!

There are a few technical things you need to work out to do this, but that’s why I’ve created this tutorial for your or your vendor.

Big Takeaway:

Social Media can be a confusing marketing practice, but it doesn’t have to be if you use tools to pair up different systems. These are just a couple examples.


Getting Ready for Google Home Service Ads

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Once again, Google is changing the game. But this time, it definitely changes in our favor.

Google has recognized its relative “weakness” in helping independently owned and operated local service area businesses show up more prominently than the national behemoths. However, as always, we have to be willing to play their game – again.

What’s Happened?


Google has announced that they are moving forward with testing in major cities with a new platform for service-based businesses called Google Home Service ads. They’re an extension of their ever-popular AdWords platform, but there are some extra criteria that have to be met in order to participate.

Since each of these ads will have “Google Guaranteed” on them (see the picture), you can bet that you’ll have to jump through a few hoops to earn the green badge.

Google hasn’t released all the details yet on how you’ll get the “green stamp of approval”. So what can you do to get in on the action here? Well, I’ll do my best to keep you posted as the criteria are released, but let’s start with one of the foundations you should already be working on – Reviews.

 Getting Ready

Getting great reviews is not complicated. In fact, it’s easy and a GREAT way to influence your SEO.

But in this case, it seems to be one of the key drivers that will lead to your success in offer Google Home Services Ads.

The quantity and quality of your Google reviews will ultimately contribute the most weight to your listing.

Now, these ads will have a cost associated with them. Google doesn’t do just about anything for free (well, except these). BUT for relevant searches like “Chicago carpet cleaning”, you’ll show up at the very top of the page. Above other ads, map listings, and other websites. That’s POWERFUL.

I’m anticipating that they will run these home services ads much like their AdWords platform, which means the “bid” (amount you’re willing to pay) won’t be the key indicator they’re looking at. It’s going to come down to:

1) Who has the best and most reviews?

2) Who is going to be able to service the customer I give them the best or quickest?

Look at it as if Google is giving you a paid referral. The click on your ad is just a 2-5% cut that you send them as a “Thank-You”.

Big Takeaway:

Embrace the change coming your way and start preparing to get the exposure your business deserves.

  1. Be on the watch for updates as Google Home Services ads come to your area. Currently only serving large cities on the Pacific coast.
  2. Stay posted. I’ll share the qualification criteria as soon as it’s released.
  3. Get to work collecting reviews from customers that will boost your credibility on your future ads.

Courting Your Customers – Part I

If you’ve been following my blog for the last little while, you’ve probably noticed that I’m on a bit of a reviews kick. That’s because it’s something that’s so easy to do that can have a HUGE impact on your business.
I’d like to take a different spin on it today, though. Let’s look at it from your customer’s point of view.

The No-Longer Blind Date

Remember the last blind date you went on? I do. It was… awkward. Largely because, no matter how much the people who set me up told me about my date, I still had no idea what I was getting myself into. The people who set me up are only going to say good things about my date because they want me to have a good time and make a connection. If only there were a way to find out more about my date… Oh, wait! There’s this new thing called the Internet!
That’s right. Thanks to the magic of Facebook, Google, and the like, we can hunt down just about anyone and find out more about their personality – especially the weird stuff.
So, when a potential customer gets a recommendation from a friend to call your business, you have the opportunity to have many of your past customers vouch for you. They talk about their experiences with you and set up expectations. And if you’re working on your social media presence, you can talk about things you’re going to do for your customers.

Building a Reputation

The best and easiest way for you to build a reputation online is through reviews – especially Google reviews if you can get them. But here’s the trick – you can’t expect customers to be so elated that they just can’t wait to look you up and write a glowing review. You have to ASK them.
I wrote a while back about how to create a link to send via text message for customers to leave a review. It’s not complicated and it pays off. The key is to catch your customers in the apex of their emotional satisfaction – as soon as they see how good everything looks/smells. That’s when you say, “Mrs. Jones, I’m so glad you liked what we did today. Would it be alright if I send you a text message with a link to leave us some feedback online? Would you prefer Google, Facebook, or Yelp?”
Darryl and Teresa Adcock of Northern Utah Chem-Dry started doing this in February of this year and, as of today, have TRIPLED their Google reviews. It works! Now whenever a customer is thinking of calling them, they know they can call with confidence.

Coming Next Week

We’ll continue this topic next week with what you could/should be putting out into the world on Social Media and other places online that will help to enhance the impression you have on potential customers.

Big Takeaway:

Customers hate gambling with their business. If you can do things to make them feel more confident in calling you, you’ll gain more market share and lifetime customers.
  1. Be aware of what people are saying about you.
  2. Make sure you have Google, Facebook, and Yelp listings for your business to collect reviews.
  3. Create links that can be sent via text message to take customers directly to leave a review.

Being “Findable” – on Facebook

If you feel like I spend all these blog posts yammering about how much you should be doing with social media, prepare for another one. I’ll keep it short this time, I promise.

Your Business Facebook Page 

A while back, I did a webinar about setting up a Facebook page for your business. It’s an essential part of your online business. Facebook is a fantastic place to inexpensively build customer relationships and nurture a following. You should post regularly, and invite customers to review your business.

Another thing you should absolutely do is make sure you have a custom Facebook URL. So, instead of having a randomly assigned one, which will look something like “www.facebook.com/123456789123456”, you should have an address that looks like “www.facebook.com/ScottsChem-Dry”.


Now, you may be sitting there scratching your head wondering why it makes a difference. I’ll tell you.

When it comes to search dominance and SEO, having an actual name or search term in a web address (URL) adds a TON of strength. Ideally, your Facebook page should immediately show up as a top result if and when anyone types the name of your business into Google.

It also makes it much easier to find you when you leave a card behind at a customer’s house and ask them to give you a review.


If you’ve created a Facebook Page, you should be able to change the URL for it pretty easily. Here’s how:

1) If you’re logged in and looking at your Facebook Page, click on the  “About” section on the left-hand side of the page.



2) You’re now looking at the “Page Info” section. Where you see “Username”, hover
your mouse over the “Edit” icon, which will bring up a prompt screen to let you change the username for your business (which changes the URL).




3) Type in the username you want. You can only use letters, numbers, and/or periods.




What Should I Change it To?

I recommend making your username/URL something that’s easy to type in, and as simple to remember as possible. So, like I showed above, if the name of my business were “Scott’s Chem-Dry”, I would make it something like “ScottsChemDry” (notice the lack of a “-” because I can’t use one) or “ScottsCD”.

You may also consider doing something that has more to do with the area you service. For instance, you could make your username “ChicagoCarpetCleaning” if it’s available. While there’s a benefit to having a name like that, you have to remember that you can only choose your username/URL once. After you’ve assigned it, Facebook won’t let you change it without starting up an entirely new page.

In the long run, I’d recommend simply making it your business name, but it’s your business.

Big Takeaway:

Giving your Facebook page a custom URL doesn’t sound like it would do that much, but it can significantly affect the way people find you. And it’s so quick it just makes sense to change it. Do it TODAY!
Also, don’t forget to register to receive updates about future webinars on digital marketing.