Local Services Ads: Partner Updates [February 2022]

Welcome to the February edition of Google’s Local Services Ads Partner Updates. Here’s what you need to know:

General Updates

1. Petcare and Wellness Services need your love

Google invites you to assist your petcare clients in becoming the first choice on Local Services! With the surge in pet ownership during the pandemic, many people are seeking services for their beloved pets. Help onboard clients in these newly launched areas, including:

  • Pet Care (Pet Adoption, Pet Training, Pet Grooming, Pet Boarding, Animal Rescue)
  • People Care (Childcare)
  • Education (Preschool, language instructor, dance instructor)
  • Wellness (Personal trainer, yoga studios, weight loss center, first aid training, acupuncturist)

2. Enforcing Platform policies around duplicate accounts and serving areas

Google will be enforcing policies related to duplicate accounts and overlapping service areas for businesses with multiple listings. Depending on the violation’s frequency and severity, providers may either see only their top-ranked ad (with others not displayed), receive a warning, be temporarily suspended, or have their ads permanently removed. Please review Google’s
Local Services Platform Policies regarding serving areas and duplicate accounts, which clearly state, “In order to ensure fair business competition, if you have multiple accounts, only one account and job type may use a specific ZIP Code at a time.”

Verifications & Onboarding Updates

1. Business Name changes Require DBA (Doing Business As)

Google has updated their policies to ensure compliance concerning DBAs. Legally, if a business wishes to operate under a name different from its registered business name, it must file a DBA with the state. This enables the state to monitor any illegal activity by a business under any names it uses. Local Services Ads now requires providers to advertise under names that belong to them. Note that a Certificate of Insurance (COI) + License or other business documentation with DBA references is insufficient. Google requires an official DBA from the state where the provider is advertising. 

If your account was suspended for lacking a DBA, you can submit DBAs via the Doing Business As Submission Form. Alternatively, you can revert to the original name to reinstate the account.

2. License verifications for Washington Real Estate

The Washington license
verification website is temporarily down due to cybersecurity issues. Washington real estate professionals can now upload an image of their license, or we will need to wait for website maintenance to verify licenses.

3. Reminders: Background Check Status Transfers

There are scenarios where you can transfer
background check statuses from one account to another. However, please note that the physical location (business address) and business name must be the same for these transfers to qualify. We will not accept BGC transfer requests for locations that share the same name but have different business addresses. Refer to the list of conditions and policies for more details.

4. Image-based license uploads for NH & SD Lawyers

Lawyers in New Hampshire and South Dakota now have the option to upload an image of their license or a letter from the bar confirming their active license, as these states lack online license
verification portals. This option is available only for geoverticals without vetted license verification databases.

5. Reminder: Providers can adjust their business owner

Google cannot make roster changes on behalf of providers. Providers can adjust their primary Business Owner before submitting their roster to Evident. Refer to this
Evident knowledge base article for detailed steps on adjusting the roster or primary business owner before submitting information for a background check.

6. Tips for Certificate of Insurance (COIs)

To expedite COI reviews, ensure that all certificate of insurances meet these qualifications:

  • The COI is active (not expired or expiring within the next 14 days).
  • The COI must have a signature in the Authorized Representative section.
  • The COI includes the correct business name for the provider being onboarded. If a DBA is required for verification, the provider must provide a DBA document via the Doing Business As Submission Form.

Have Questions?

If you have any inquiries or need further assistance, please consult the Local Services Ads on Google Help Page, or get in touch with our Local View team for comprehensive guidance.