As you may be aware, Google has been changing a number of things that directly impact you if you’re a local business.
With a lot of fanfare Google Adwords eliminated all the ads on the right side of the page and increased the top of page ads from three to four, maintaining three ads at the page bottom. With national companies advertising locally, depending upon your niche, it can now be more difficult to compete in the Adwords space.
Last July it rolled out its Home Service Ads product in San Francisco as a test. It appears to be available in other selected areas south to Los Gatos. And the verticals now covered include plumbers, locksmiths, house cleaners, handymen and some others. The good news is that the rollout has been slow, limited to certain areas, and it only covers certain niches. You’ll want to stay on top of this for your local market and niche.
Noticed in the last several days, Google is apparently testing a variation of the Home Service Ads. Joe Goldstein first pointed out that when you search on “plumber los gatos”, the first search result (with no Adwords or local pack above it) was “Call Google to find a trusted local plumber.” Clicking on the result directs you to a landing page as shown here:
You’re encouraged to call or text and review your need with a Google representative. After that, a pre-screened and Google recommended service provider will call you to schedule an appointment.
Bottom line: looks like Google is testing how to incorporate a human component in the lead generation business.
And it only makes sense that Google is trying to monetize as much as possible the space that up until now has been free (Google Local Results and organic search results).