I first spotted the option to upgrade a Google My Business listing near the end of July 2020 while looking in the GMB dashboard of an HVAC contractor. The main feature of the upgrade, at the price of $50/month, is the ability to display the Google Guaranteed badge directly on a Google My Business listing (aka Business Profile). Previously, the badge could only be found on a Google Local Services ad.
I checked a few others I have access to. Some had the option while others didn’t. The place to look for the upgrade option is the ‘Home’ section of your Google My Business dashboard on desktop:
Since the businesses with the option to upgrade were already in Google Local Services ads, I assumed LSA participants would be the first businesses given the upgrade option. It made sense to me because the businesses had already completed the screening process necessary to be eligible for the upgrade. I would soon find out I was wrong.
We could only see the upgrade option when looking at the GMB dashboard while signed in to a Google account associated with our MCC account. Attempting the upgrade ended up removing the ability of our MCC account to access our clients’ Local Services accounts. Fortunately, we could still access the Local Services MCC dashboard from other Google accounts that are users on the MCC account but it still caused quite a headache.
It took almost a month to get the issue sorted out. Here’s what I learned along the way.
The GMB upgrade is not intended for businesses already in Local Services ads
It was apparently a mistake that the upgrade option was offered to the businesses where I was seeing it. It seems it is actually meant for businesses that are NOT already in Local Services ads. This could be due to Google wanting to see how many businesses that aren’t already advertising with Google could be lured by this dangling carrot. And researching this group of strange beings that aren’t already advertising with Google was a possible motivation factor as well.
Which business categories are eligible for the $50/month GMB upgrade?
Again, this is a limited test so just because you may be in one of these categories does not mean you will have the option to upgrade. Based on what I’ve seen, I believe the business categories involved in this test include:
- HVAC contractor
- House Cleaning
- Carpet Cleaning
- Tree Services
- Pest Control
Of course, there may be others but I’ve seen Google testing the badge on businesses in those categories so I feel these are very strong candidates.
What do upgraded Google My Businesses listings look like?
I saw some testing about a week before I saw the option to upgrade. I also started seeing more testing yesterday and today. Why do I think it’s just testing and not GMB listings that have actually enabled the upgrade? I’m seeing the test on some of my client listings that have not been able to enable it. Plus, the listings I’m seeing it on appear to be businesses that are already in LSA, which, as I mentioned earlier, I don’t think are the actual targets of the GMB upgrade at this point.
Besides the Google Guaranteed badge, what else is included with the GMB upgrade?
- Recorded phone calls – an indication this will be utilizing the Local Services platform since Google records all of those calls and you can listen to them in your LSA dashboard
- Dedicated support – this sounds great but I highly doubt this support encompasses all of Google My Business. I would expect the support to be specific to the upgraded features, not typical GMB issues many users struggle with. Was there an issue getting your $50 payment to process? We’ll have someone help you with that right away! Seriously though, don’t expect some extra form of support for GMB issues that aren’t directly related to this upgrade
Here is a screenshot with additional info:
And another screenshot from the Google My Business upgrade offering:
As you can see in the screenshot, it specifically mentions the “best features of Local Services”. Who knows if and when this GMB upgrade will expand out beyond this limited test, but it seems likely from this, as well as other correlations between GMB and LSA (some of which I cover in this article about Local Services ads on Whitespark), that we can expect to see more integration of Local Services with Google My Business in the future.