Users looking for a house cleaner or locksmith may soon be able to find a local service provider by simply entering their Zip code on Google.
According to Search Engine Land, Google is reportedly testing a new format for Home Services Ads (HSAs). The format lets users enter their Zip code and specify the type of job they need to be done before showing a list of local service providers.
What’s in it for the Users?
At first glance, the new version of Google Home Services Ads seems to improve user experience by filtering top results upfront. For busy users short on time, it’s a faster and simpler way to locate home professionals.
Moreover, the new format of Google Home Services Ads features background checked and insured service providers with reviews from verified customers. This benefits users as they get reliable results and provides home professionals with better qualified leads than before.
Eyeing the Small Home Service Providers
In recent months, competition among companies to capture the potentially lucrative home services market has intensified.
Earlier this year, Amazon launched Amazon Home Services — an on-demand service for all sorts of home chores, while IAC attempted to acquire Angie’s List.
According to Mike Blumenthal, an acclaimed Local Search expert and author of the well-known blog: Understanding Google Maps & Local Search, the new format is Google’s “move to slow down Amazon and a raft of local competitors (HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List etc) in the local service space.”
He adds, “It is a way for Google to profit from service areas, where due to competitive pressures and spam, they have difficulty providing accurate results like Locksmiths — and it is a way to leverage Google’s strong market share in local for profit via what they do best, ad bidding.”
An Expert’s Advice to Service Providers
If the new Google Home Services Ads format becomes successful, service providers may find it difficult to get users to their websites where they can show examples of their work and explain the differences that make them unique. Blumenthal believes the best way for small service providers to thrive in this situation is to “break out of their need for new customers for their commodity business and thus reduce their reliance on these ever more powerful marketing layers.”
He advises small service providers to focus on becoming really good at what they do, providing unique services, taking care of their customers and exceeding customer expectation.
While the odds favor Google, which has the advantage of massive reach and capital to make Google Home Services Ads successful, it has to work on creating the market for it. As Blumenthal says, “If Google stuck with the product for a number of years and educated consumers how it worked it might. I am just not sure that Google has the patience for that.”
Zip Code Photo via Shutterstock
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Back then, you can only find these in your yellow pages or in your local newspaper. Amazing how far technology has took us.
Having worked with local service providers advertising on AdWords I know this is a very competitive field and many companies pay through the nose for those clicks. Google is looking for a way to extract even more value from the process by offering these “qualified” listings that will undoubtedly be auction-based results. With knowledge like the exact zip code it will set off a bidding war for these leads, especially in high-income areas.
As Mike noted one of the biggest factors will be Google’s patience. We all know Google’s successful programs well because we use them every day, but Google has many failed projects. Will they stick it out in the service space? There is opportunity for large revenue.