Google Beefs Up Verification for Tradespeople

Advanced verification process introduced for locksmiths and plumbers

Verification graphic by Julia Tim.
Google’s Verification Game: plumbers and locksmiths in San Diego are subject to extra verification, thanks to the abuse of Google Maps and its business listings. Image by Julia Tim (via Shutterstock).

For a local company like ours, the use of Google Maps and business listings are a godsend. In many homes, Google has taken over from the Yellow Pages and Thomson Local telephone directories. Ringing Directory Enquiries is almost redundant. Though many businesses are well meaning and add their actual details, there are some who insist on using false locations. To clamp down on this, Google is employing advanced verification techniques on businesses in certain industrial sectors.

The business sectors concerned have a high incidence of spamming. Locksmiths are singled out, as are plumbers. Through a third-party provider of corporate risk management services, Pinkerton, locksmiths and plumbers will be required to pass an advanced verification test.

At present, Google’s testing process is being trialled in San Diego. Quoting from Google’s documentation:

“Google wants to provide useful and comprehensive local listings to people when they search for businesses. Unfortunately, we’ve identified a number of fraudulent local service businesses, including locksmiths and plumbers, who use false identities on Google.

“To help reduce fraud and improve the overall experience for you and your customers, we’re now asking businesses to pass an advanced verification process. The process is simple—answer a few questions about your business and complete an application with Google’s third-party verification company.

“After passing advanced verification, your business listing will continue to be eligible to appear on Google Maps and the Knowledge Panel.”

In a nutshell, there are no Google business listings if you don’t have a proper shop front. By means of Google’s terminology, the ‘shop front’ refers to your business premises. For example, CPPM Locksmiths’ offices; your home address; or a ‘bricks and mortar’ shop unit in Witney.

Affected businesses in San Diego have until the 10 November to comply. Afterwards, businesses that haven’t cooperated will be taken off Google’s business listings. How long will it be before it’s rolled out to the UK and mainland Europe? This deserves to succeed, especially as customers’ trust needs to be built and maintained.

CPPM Locksmiths, 07 October 2016.