Google is requiring all advertisers promoting locksmith and garage door services in the United States to pass Advanced Verification. If they don’t pass, they will no longer be eligible to use AdWords or AdWords Express to advertise their services on Google. And if they’re in one of the current Local Services ads markets, they will be ineligible to participate in that too.
What does the Advanced Verification process entail?
Beyond checking any licensing, state registration and publicly info about a business, Google is also reviewing their AdWords account for signs of abuse. And beyond that, Google wants be make sure there’s:
No evidence that your business is engaged in fraudulent behavior or is otherwise engaged in misleading or deceptive practices, including an inability to confirm the business’s legal status.
A video verification interview is also typically required as part of the AV process. If you’re a business with a storefront, you will need to be present at the location for your video call with Google. If you don’t have a storefront, you should be at or near a business vehicle at the time of the video call.
What do you do if you fail Advanced Verification?
If you fail Advanced Verification you can request an appeal. Before you request an appeal, you need to try to find out what the issue is. If you think it was minor error (perhaps a mistake when filling out the form or a missed video verification call) you can contact Google to correct the issue: firstname.lastname@example.org
If your application is denied you will be notified by email. You will be given the chance to appeal the decision:
You may submit up to one (1) appeal per application and if you choose to do so, must submit your appeal within sixty (60) days from the date of the email notification. If you request reconsideration more than one (1) time OR after sixty (60) days from the date of the email notification, you’ll need to submit a new application.
Again, before requesting an appeal, I recommend trying to determine what the issue is that caused the fail. You won’t get much help from Google on this but if you simply request an appeal before trying to determine the problem, expect to just receive confirmation of the denial. So before appealing, take the time to thoroughly review Advanced Verification policies and AdWords policies. Check your AdWords account for possible issues, be sure you’re representing your business accurately, both online and offline.
I am licensed and registered but failed. It must be a mistake.
Being licensed, registered, insured, A+ BBB rating, HomeAdvisor Screened & Approved, etc. doesn’t mean you will pass Advanced Verification. Don’t forget that Google is also looking for evidence of fraudulent, misleading and deceptive behavior.
Advanced Verification does not involve individual employee background checks (the Local Services ads process does) but they are looking deeper into a company than just its basic company information. If you’re ripping people off, using false identities, making false claims or not being honest in your answers to Google’s questions, there’s a good chance you won’t pass. Google does not provide much detail in what all they’re looking into for signs of fraudulent behavior, but they are doing more than just checking to see if you’re a real business or not.
Why locksmiths and garage door companies?
These two categories are notorious for having businesses that scam customers with various bait and switch tactics, misleading claims and untrustworthy behavior.
Can you get by without AdWords?
A lot of honest locksmith and garage door companies have already been surviving without depending on AdWords for leads. Why? According to a few garage door business owners I’ve talked to, the advertisers that have been scamming and overcharging customers have driven the cost of AdWords to a point that’s too high to make sense for them to use. The cost of the leads is only worthwhile to the companies that are overcharging. National brands are also typically present in the results so they’re making it work (hopefully without overcharging their customers).
While it may have been rough for those that have already had to adjust, they’re likely better off in the long run. And now that AV is (hopefully) getting rid of all of scammers, honest locksmith and garage door companies might be able to give AdWords another shot. They should definitely sign up for Local Services ads if it’s available in their market. And if not, sign up anyway because it likely will be eventually.
If you haven’t figured out how to survive without getting paid leads from Google and you just failed AV, you’re going to have to figure it out quick.
If you’re absolutely positive that you shouldn’t have failed, re-read this article. If you’re still sure, contact me with your details and I will take a quick look when I get a chance. I don’t want scammers to pass, but I also don’t want honest businesses getting denied by mistake.