Google Guarantee. Review Site Killer? (not UK yet)

Google GuaranteeGoogle is at it again, and why shouldn’t they be? They are always on the lookout for ways to help improve the search experience, and as market leaders, they are in the best position to do so – even if it does mean keeping SEO heads (such as yours truly) on their toes with every algorithm change. In any case, their latest beta testing seems to have local SEO in its sights – meaning that, for you and me as searchers, we could be getting more reliable results.

Google Guarantee, as it has been named, is a scheme through which Google intends to work around and fill up loopholes that have been used by shady businesses to try and fool innocent searchers out of a fair bit of money. Essentially, the current local SEO system put forward by Google allows AdWords and Google My Business pages to pop up tailored to your search query and local area (unless specified in-search). All good, you would assume – until you bear in mind that more than a few people have been scammed by con artists promising cheap deals only to find hidden fees once they are in deep with them.

Essentially, what Google is looking to is vet businesses who may appear in local search. We do not entirely blame them – legitimate firms like yours and ours could easily be pushed back by firms who are leading with white hat SEO, but black hat intentions. Businesses will, therefore, be able to apply for vetting by the big G to get all-important verification on every search – to, therefore, assure searchers that you are the real deal – and to ensure that the playing field is, once again, level.

It’ll even be possible for consumers to make a Google Guarantee request, they advise. This means that searchers and buyers will be able to claim up to a certain amount of money lost – though they will only be able to do so should a business be Google Guarantee verified. Therefore, it surely makes sense to allow Google to do a quick audit – particularly if you have nothing to hide. Let Google screen your licensing, insurance and trading data and you could end up with a nice tick next to your brand name the next time you are searched for.

The emergence of Google Guarantee might well put review sites and tools a little out of joint – after all, there are a fair few sites out there that are solidly dependent upon visitor and user ratings – take TripAdvisor, for example. However, it is not essentially clear as yet how far Google Guarantee will go. It’s a service with good intentions at its core – one which will bring big changes to local SEO – and one which could change the way we view reviews for good. At the moment, reviews are easily faked.

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