What’s Google got against plumbers and locksmiths?

Google is cracking down on fraud, requiring some businesses undergo a more stringent verification process to set up or retain their Google My Business listing.

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In a beta test currently limited to San Diego, all plumbers and locksmiths have until the end of this month to complete an advanced verification process or be removed from Google Maps.

The verification process, which is also being applied to plumbers and locksmiths using AdWords, requires answering questions from Google and completing an application with a third party verification company. The new verification process, designed to weed out the scammers from reputable professionals, takes about two weeks to complete.

Why should you care?

Some would argue that setting up a Google My Business profile correctly is already difficult enough. But do a Google search for “locksmith scams”. You’ll see that some businesses are simply out to rip off consumers and shouldn’t be shown in a local Google search. More so, when it’s late at night and all you want is to get into your house — not to have someone simply drill the lock open and charge an exorbitant fee for the “service”.

By removing scammers, consumers can feel more confident in the often spur of the moment decisions they make after searching on Google. And legitimate businesses are less likely to be competing against companies that promise cheap prices, but end up costing much more than you’d imagine.

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About the Author Jeremy Templer

Jeremy is a Partner and Senior Consultant at SureFire. Jeremy has been working in search since 1996, when he joined the Australian search engine, LookSmart. After relocating to San Francisco, he was instrumental in development of the company’s paid search ad platform. At analytics company Coremetrics (now owned by IBM) he established an in-house search agency managing campaigns for Coremetrics clients such as Macy’s, Bass Pro and Lands End. At Acxiom he managed members of the pioneering SEO firm Marketleap and worked with clients such as Capital One, American General Finance and Kaiser Health. Joining SureFire in 2009, he is the head of Paid Search Advertising and overseas the delivery of AdWords and other PPC campaigns. He also helps clients make sense of their website data.