Local Service Ads – How Are Background Checks Changing?

02 Mar, 2021 Paid Search

If your business uses Google Ads to tailor the search experience to your potential customers, you may have heard of Google Local Service Ads, a tool that can be integrated into your SEM strategy to directly target customers. As part of the onboarding process for Local Service Ads, Google requires a background check. Google has recently taken steps to reduce the hassle during this process. Our experienced digital marketing professionals could help you set up your Local Service Ads and explain how these background checks are changing.

What Are Local Service Ads?

Google Local Service Ads (LSAs) are a tool that businesses can use to generate leads in conjunction with or independent from Google Ads. After you set up your LSA, customers searching relevant terms may see your ad at the top of the search results page. They may look something like this:

example of local services ads on google

Potential customers will be able to see information about your business, read reviews, and get in touch, all from within the ad. Unlike traditional Google Ads, which charges per-click, Google Local Service only charges you when your ad generates a lead.

By putting your business at the top of search results, Google Local Service Ads increase traffic to your website and gives you brand exposure, without having to manage any keywords. Google LSAs also have the added benefit of the Google Screened badge, which looks great to potential customers; showing that you are a trusted partner of Google and have passed your background checks.

Business Entity and Owner Background Checks

To set up Local Service Ads for your business, you will need to complete a business entity and owner background check. For business entity checks, Google verifies that your business is registered according to relevant country laws and regulations.

Background checks are performed by local background check partners, and results are strictly confidential between your business and the background check partner. Background checks require that all owners of the business complete a criminal history and identity check. If your business is in an applicable category, Google may require that every employee, independent contractor, temporary worker, contingent worker, vendor, or other worker (service professionals) who perform core services for the customer completes a background check. If your business fails a background check, you may be unable to set up a Local Service Ad.

Who Performs Background Checks and What Is Changing?

Until recently, all Google background checks were provided by Pinkerton Investigative Services. LSAs are now using Evident, another background check provider, as a second source for background checks. Evident provides a better overall experience and has a quicker turnaround time than Pinkerton; responding in about two weeks on average versus Pinkerton’s three weeks. The process for filling out Evident background checks is also simpler than the process for Pinkerton. Businesses seeking a background check from Evident simply need to fill out a contact form to start their background checks process.

Google has not made an official statement regarding Evident as their sole background check provider, however, having it as an option gives businesses the opportunity to choose which provider that they would like to use.