The Curious Case of Google’s Advanced Verification Test in San Diego

Earlier in November, San Diego businesses witnessed a massive drop in their search engine listings. According to Search Engine Land’s Report, Google’s advanced verification test dropped over 89% of listings from the 3-pack. For those who have no idea on how SEO San Diego works, here is a detailed explanation of what just happened.

What is Google Advanced Verification Test?

Google is the leading global search engine. In order to fine-tune its search and present only relevant, reliable and authentic data to its users, it frequently tests web content for spam. In October this year, the search engine introduced a new spam prevention technique called the advanced verification, which relies on third-party companies for business verification.

The advanced verification testing applies to locksmith and plumber businesses in San Diego. This is because these Google has observed a lot of spam relating to these industries, especially in local results, organic searches and in Google Maps.

Under this program, Google employed a security agency named Pinkerton to verify all genuine locksmith and plumbing businesses in San Diego. These businesses were given a November 10 deadline to apply for the verification test.

To explain 3-pack better, let’s consider an example. Suppose that you’re living in San Diego and your drainage pipe is clogged up. You’ve decided to call in the experts. So you log onto Google and search “best plumbers in San Diego”. Google search will provide you with 3 local plumbers in your area marked in maps. This is known as a 3-pack, as shown in the following snippet.


So what’s this News about, again?

Now the November 10 deadline has passed, search results narrowed down plumbing services to two different types of 3-packs.

The first of the local 3-pack in search results features a “Sponsor” section which states that the listings are part of Google’s Home Service section. When you click on the “More Plumbers” option, you get a further two types of listings.

The top listings seem to be paid listings and each of them sported a “Google guaranteed” (As you can see in the image) badge. Google’s Help Center, however, falls short of clarifying if the features shown in result section are also paid for.

As you scroll down towards the bottom of the list, you come across a few organic listings without the Google badge. However, these websites have a tracking phone number. Another thing worth noting is that most of these businesses are located in San Diego suburbs.

Hmmm, I see. And where do I fit in?

The second of the 3-pack contains 7 businesses that passed the advanced verification test. All of these businesses have a local outlet within the city. This means that if you’re running a plumbing or locksmith business locally, then Google’s latest SEO San Diego upgrade has made it easier for you improve your ranking and get more customers!

Get in touch with a San Diego SEO Agency to learn more about how to make the most of it.