So what are these Local Services Ads that everyone seems to be raving about? Well if you're in the service-based industry looking for a way to showcase your awesome business, then look no further. We’ll explain why Local Services Ads are just the right thing to get your service business bustling like a beehive. This post will go through the basics of what Google Local Services Ads are and why you should be investing your time and money in trying them out for your company.
What are Google local services ads?
Google’s Local Services Ads (LSA’s) are ads specifically designed to help local service-based companies. These ads allow these companies to showcase their business on Google at the top of the search engine results page (SERP).
Sounds like some prime real estate to me.
What’s awesome about LSAs is that they allow you to get leads directly from the ads as phone calls or messages. You’ll be able to reply to messages, track bookings, and manage all your leads at online in real time. Managing everything through the Local Services Ads app will also make your life a whole lot easier if you’re constantly on the go.
A Little History On Local Services Ads
Local Services Ads started out as a beta in 2015 only being available for limited service-based companies in San Francisco. They were originally called “Home Service Ads.”
For your business to start showcasing these ads, your company had to go through an extensive screening process to ensure that your company is “legit.” People interested in finding a service would either call directly from the ads or select up to three businesses from the list of companies to request individual quotes for comparison.
Google decided to expand to more locations outside of California in 2017 while also rebranding the name to “Local Services Ads.” Now, consumers no longer have the option of selecting a business for quote comparison but can still call or message the business form the ad directly. One aspect of Local Services Ads that has stayed consistent to the 2015 beta is the screening process or the “Google Guaranteed” approval.
We’ll get into a more in-depth explanation a little later.
Services Available For Local Services Ads
At the moment, not all services are supported by Local Services Ads. Google is continuously expanding the number of services allowed to run these ads as popularity and usage increases.
Below is a list of the current services supported by Google Local Services Ads:
- Air Duct Cleaners*
- Appliance Repair Services*
- Auto Glass Service*
- Auto Service Technicians*
- Carpet Cleaners*
- Event Planners*
- Garage Door Companies
- HVAC Contractors
- Handyman Companies*
- Home Improvement Contractors*
- House Cleaners*
- Junk Removal Providers*
- Lawn Care Providers*
- Moving Companies*
- Painting Companies*
- Pest Controls Companies*
- Pet Care Providers*
- Pet Groomers*
- Roadside Assistance Service *
- Tree Services Providers*
- Upholstery Cleaners*
- Water Damage Service Providers*
- Window Cleaners*
- Window Service Providers*
*Not all services are supported in all markets.
Eligible Areas For Local Services Ads
Unfortunately, Local Services Ads are not available across all global locations either, but as mentioned before, Google is still expanding to more locations.
Below is a list of the current locations supported by Google Local Services Ads:
- Arizona: Phoenix
- California: Los Angeles, Riverside/San Bernardino, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose
- Colorado: Denver
- Florida: Miami, Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, Tampa-St. Petersburg
- Georgia: Atlanta
- Illinois: Chicago
- Maryland: Baltimore
- Massachusetts: Boston
- Michigan: Detroit
- Minnesota: Minneapolis-St. Paul
- Missouri: St. Louis
- Nevada: Las Vegas
- New York: New York
- North Carolina: Charlotte
- Ohio: Cincinnati
- Oregon: Portland
- Pennsylvania: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh
- Texas: Dallas, Houston, San Antonio
- Washington: Seattle
- Washington, D.C.
What Is The “Google Guarantee?”
Remember the screening process I mentioned earlier? Being approved after Google’s extensive screening process will earn you the “Google Guaranteed” badge for your business.
To get this badge, your business has to meet licensing and insurance requirements as well as pass the background check. This background check examines the business itself and all field workers (including independent contractors and temporary workers) and is conducted by Pinkerton Consulting and Investigations.
Don’t worry, the Pinkerton background check is very basic. It’s primarily meant for screening the most serious offenses like sex-offenders and terrorist registries.
But what does this mean to the consumer? This serves as a badge of trust showing that you have met all the qualifying criteria and your business has been legitimized by Google standards. Think of it as a brand influencer promoting your company. Consumers will be encouraged to click on your Local Service Ad in seeing that green badge.
With an endorsement from Google, your company could be unstoppable.
But wait, the “Google Guarantee” also gives your business an extra layer of protection. What if a customer is dissatisfied with the quality of service your business has provided for them?
Not to worry, if the job was booked through a Local Services Ads, Google may refund up to the work’s invoice amount, with a lifetime cap of $2,000. Any additional services, future projects, damage to property, dissatisfaction with price or provider responsiveness, and cancellations aren’t covered. Keep in mind that a customer has a total of 30 days to submit a claim before they forfeit their refund.
It’s also important to know that the “Google Guaranteed” badge isn’t allowed to be used on any website, landing pages, or in any marketing context outside of Google’s Local Services Ads.
And one more thing to remember before we move on: if you use up all your budget, for the time being, the badge will not appear in the ad (so make sure you have your budgets equally dispersed across the week so you don’t burn through it too quickly!).
The Ins-And-Outs Of Local Services Ads
As previously mentioned, these ads are shown at the top of Google search results when people are searching for the services you offer in the area.
But what do these ads look like to their viewers?
The above image is an example of what the ads look like from a desktop Google SERP. The ads will present specific info such as the name of the business, address, phone number, review rating, Google Guaranteed badge, and business hours. Local Services Ads on your mobile phone even comes with an instant call button for a quick calls.
These ads take anywhere from 2-3 weeks to set up, if not longer. The screening of your business can take up a lot of that time and depends on how fast you are at filling out everything when applying for approval.
How Do Local Services Ads Rank?
I bet you’re wondering how Google can show only a few ads when there is so much competition around. Unlike Text Ads that are dependant on your quality score, which is made up of your ad’s CTR, ad relevance, and landing page experience, there isn’t any bidding that goes on to show up in the search results.
Below are the factors that go into how Local Service Ads are ranked:
- Proximity - Google takes into account how close your business is to the potential customer's location.
- You’re businesses review score and the total number of reviews - This is a key factor for ranking. Having more high star reviews than your competitor shows your business’s expertise in the industry.
- Responsiveness - Responding to the people that contact you through these ads in a fast and timely manner will help you rank higher as well. Make sure to respond to low-quality leads and even leads you want to decline, Google takes all this into account. Delaying your responses can negatively affect your ranking.
- Your business hours - You’ll want to have business hours that make you readily available.
- Complaints - Major or multiple complaints against you could lead to you being suspended from being able to run these ads altogether.
Local Service Ads are merely the latest in a long line of Google implementations meant to make digital search and shopping easier on consumers. Your optimization of your own LSA campaigns should reflect this. So make sure that you’re making things easier on your potential customer in terms of contact info, location, special offers, reviews, and anything else you’d use to increase in-store traffic from an average, everyday window shopper.
It’s important to remember that Google attempts to evenly distribute your budget throughout your day and your week. You rank might be affected and lowered at times so you don't waste all your budget early in the day and in the week.
How You’re Charged
If you don’t already know, Google Search Ads show at the top of the SERP with text and are a pay per click service that are keyword based. You’re bidding on keywords in a giant auction and being charged when people click on your ads regardless of whether or not they become a lead.
Local Services Ads are still keyword based BUT it’s structured on a pay per lead basis. Google only charges you when you get a qualified lead from a consumer searching for a service you offer, in the area you offer it in.
You’re only ever charged when one of the following occurs:
- You answer a phone call and speak with the customer.
- You receive a voicemail from the customer.
- You receive a text message from the customer.
Depending on your vertical market, the cost per lead can be anywhere from $5 to $90 — the average being somewhere around $21. Businesses all in the same market will most likely be charged around the same amount.
What Are The Benefits Of Local Services Ads?
There are some major perks in putting your efforts in Local Search Ads.
- Higher Quality Of Leads - Because you’re paying per lead and not per click, the quality of people contacting you through these ads tends to be higher.
- Timing and Position - Local Services Ads give consumers the ability to connect with customers at the moment they’re looking for services you provide. A lot of the time, people are looking for a service job because there’s some sort of emergency. A home can’t properly function without good plumbing or functional door locks. There is a sense of urgency that benefits you and your business. And because these ads are positioned at the top of the page, it’s the first thing they see.
- Builds Trust - Piggy-backing off the previous point, because these ads are the first thing potential customers see, they also are hit with that green “Google Guaranteed” badge. Being in the right place at the right time and having the right authorities to back you can make all the difference with your CTRs and conversion rates.
- An Easy-To-Use Management Platform - The Local Services Ads management interface is relatively simple. There’s also an app for Local Service Ads that makes managing all the leads super easy.
- Automatic Local Service Reviews - You can mark leads as “booked” in the local service ads interface and Google will automatically send the booked customer an opportunity to leave a review. This way you can start getting more reviews for your company that will help you rank higher and showcase your awesome quality of service.
These are really just the surface-level benefits of Local Services Ads. Their real power will start to shine through once you start to optimize your headers and CTAs towards your local users to start generating more engaged clicks, more phone calls, and, even better, more business.
What’s It Like For The Customers?
If you're wondering what the experience is like for the consumer, let's try and simulate a situation.
First, a potential customer will look up a service they need done. In this situation, our customer is having an issue with a clogged drain in the kitchen. She searches “clogged drain” and sees a list of plumbers relatively nearby. In deciding which company to choose, she’s looking at how many stars each company has, how many reviews they have in total, and whether or not the “Google Guaranteed“ badge is present.
She clicks on “More plumbers in San Diego” at the bottom of the page because these plumbers don’t seem to be that close to her home. This then takes her to a drop-down menu like the one below:
Now she can click on the drop-down menu to search for other plumbing services as well as fill in her zip code to find plumbers closer to home. A list of nearby plumbers then shows up and she can now browse through plumbers that are nearby until she finds the perfect match.
Overall, Are Google Local Services Ads A Good Idea?
Now you know a little more about how to get started with Local Service Ads. If you’re looking to increase your digital footprint and increase your in-store traffic along with it, LSAs are a perfect profit generator for your service-based business. The interface is much easier to manage than that of a PPC Google Ads campaign, and the quality of leads is much higher.
What advertising outlet can be better than that? Especially when combined with ordinary search, display, and retargeting campaigns, local service ads become an essential factor in a powerful lead generation formula.
If you fall into one of the categories supported by Google Local Service Ads, it’s definitely worth trying out. If your business isn’t currently supported by these ads, don’t be too discouraged, be on the lookout for new additions coming out every day!