Google may open Google Guarantee to some local organic search opportunities – and that could mean big changes in the way small businesses differentiate themselves.

In late July, we learned that Google appeared to be offering upgraded profile features to Google My Business members.

For $50 a month, local businesses that aren’t part of Google’s Local Service Advertising (LSA) program are already offered badges and support similar to the Google Guarantee.

This apparent shift toward offering SEO muscle to organic search, as well as payment, is significant.

It also has interesting implications for local businesses and consumers alike.

Let’s break down what this means and where Google’s efforts can go from here.

What happens to the guarantee of Google?

First, a quick update on the Google Guarantee.

Previously limited to paying Google Local Service Ad customers, the program awards a distinct green badge to reputable and vetted service providers from Google.

But the value of the program lies in the leads.

Companies pay each direct sales lead, which is made possible by increasing Google search rankings.

The guarantee also protects consumers from fraud by offering them a refund if the service provider is illegitimate – making customers who are blindly looking for a service more likely to choose the Google-backed option.

The only real difference from the warranty that is apparently being offered now and what LSAs actually have is that it’s Google’s first foray into putting its reputation behind companies that aren’t already part of its advertising program.

It’s also a game-changer for organic research.

For a $50 price point, small businesses are presented with a massive opportunity to differentiate themselves from other service providers in the local area—a difficult feat with the tight budgets and time constraints small business owners typically enjoy.

What is behind Google’s potential move?

Obviously, this new offering could be a play towards getting more business in the funnel for LSAs. She is smart.

By giving small businesses a taste of what Google’s collateral and rankings can achieve, the company is betting they’ll see the value of a relatively small $50 and be willing to spend more.

But the move could also signal another departure from Google’s original intent with its warranty program.

When it was initially launched, the feature was intended to combat spam and fraud.

Google was charging a premium for keeping listings safe from bad competitors and representatives.

Now, with the program launching into organic search and the opening of collateral to more business, it’s clear the company’s intent is more about ensuring the legitimacy of its results and getting more partners into their ad ecosystem.

How changes included in Google can affect consumers and businesses

The consumer win here would be a no-brainer.

More secure companies mean better searches and less risk when making big financial decisions often about service providers.

Also, if a service reaches a critical mass in a certain geographic area, you can make the argument that Google helps reduce fraud and bad business practices at the local level.

The implications for local business are complex.

On the face of it, the $50 warranty price point is relatively cheap and likely to cost significantly less than current native advertising efforts.

It’s also probably the cheapest way for small businesses to improve their organic ranking while converting leads.

But what remains is the receptivity of the business.

Of course, if they start losing their business to a competitor with an escrow badge, $50 will obviously be a necessary cost.

However, the move raises concerns that at some point, the badges will lose their meaning if every company jumps on board.

It’s also a gamble for Google – by forcing local companies to risk appearing greedy.

Ensures minimal changes to Google

Google’s Extended Warranty will be interesting to watch for ad fans.

Google targets small businesses outside of its LSA program which means the company’s sales funnel is growing even more.

And the opportunity small businesses now have to improve their organic search leads through the program will provide results that marketers will be hungry for.

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