Are you familiar with Google PPC?
Google has been preparing to bring this concept to maps in the form of Home Services Ads (HSA’s) sometime in the future. I first heard about HSA’s back in August of 2015.
At this point, the program remains in beta. However, when it comes to Google things can and do change almost overnight.
For example, now it looks like this HSA initiative will affect service area businesses (SAB’s) only. However, should this program move out of beta and into full momentum, I wouldn’t think it would be long till this change affects all maps listings.
Obstacles in Google’s HSA Way
There are a couple of challenges that I personally see in the future for Google as it relates to their HSA program. The first of which is convincing local business owners that it would be a good idea for them to pay for these listings instead of receiving them for free.
From Google’s perspective, it would be an excellent additional revenue stream coming from their search engine. The problem is convincing local businesses that paying to be listed in these results is a good idea. I think it will be a challenge.
That challenge only increases when potential customers and clients stop using this area as there go to place for targeted service oriented details which are taking place.
How Misuse May Tarnish Google’s HSA Efforts
Because local participants that are early adaptors into the HSA program are getting their listings to display in locations where they don’t live. Imagine using these map results to find your service area provider only to find out that they are multiple towns away from your location. What would you do?
Perhaps we can understand that answer best by considering history when traditional pay per click (PPC) strategies rolled out. At first, the average consumer clicked on the top 3 results which were all paid entities. However, it didn’t take long for everyone to realize that these were nothing more than ads that would be ignored as they scrolled through to the real information of the page listed directly below.
Given that this is part of what took place in history we can project forward on the theory that this will also be the wave of the future with a slight variance.
Like before searchers will simply learn to skip by these results while navigating to the organic search listings below. That’s why any local business who wants to be found needs to be a part of these listings.
However, those searching for services will quickly learn that if they click the “more places” link directly below the 3 top ad placements they will be able to access those locations that made it to the top based on effort rather than a wallet.
Why Google Has an HSA Plan
Google is in the business of search. That should be no surprise.
Businesses must make money to remain in business. This is certainly no secret to a local business owner.
One of the best ways for Google to make money is via their paid ad campaigns which searchers have come to know as pay per click (PPC) ads at the top of most all search results. As any business should, Google continues to look for new and innovative ways to increase their income streams.
HSA’s are simply one of those ways.
What Should Local Business People Do While HSA Remains in Beta?
No matter if HSA’s are part of your local search campaigns or not, if Google has its way, someday they will be. An article put out by Search Engine Land on Jul 17, 2017, identifies HSA arrivals on the East Coast.
The bottom line is that this beta test continues to be brought to full reality within all maps listings. If you find that HSA’s have arrived in your area, there are things you can do to be able to survive. On the other hand, if they haven’t quite arrived yet then now is a good time to get prepared before they do.
Here are 6 of my own personal recommendations.
- Make sure that you have correctly claimed your Google My Business listing.
- Diversify to other search engines, directories, channels, and locations throughout the web. If you want to be accepted as a serious local business in today’s world you absolutely must use Google but don’t limit yourself to just this entity as your answer.
- Bring your project into as close of compliance as possible with Google’s requirements. Doing so will allow you to participate in HSA listings as well as ranking organically in maps. That’s to listing results for you where you were previously only able to be found once.
- Let Google know that you are interested in participating in their HSA pilot program.
- Build your brand image on and off the web. Local businesses must be invited to participate in Google’s HSA program. Prior to that invite you the local business owner should know that Google will be conducting background checks.
- Focus on building your review portfolio. Reputation management is going to be a huge component within who Google will invite to participate in their HSA program and who they won’t. Therefore, I make building solid reviews for your business a serious part of what I bring to the table for local business owners.
Concluding Thoughts About Googles New HSA Program
While it was my goal to bring local business people up to speed with all the news around Google’s HSA program, I’m sure there are points that I left out.
What do you know about HSA that was not shared in the comments above?
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
Have you had direct experience with the HSA program?
What have your thoughts been?
Feel free to share them below so that we can all benefit from your knowledge and experience.
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