Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2019 and has been updated with current supported industry information as of October 2020.
Local Service Ads (LSAs) promote local service-based businesses, such as plumbers and HVAC contractors, using a specialized ad type. These ads now appear at the top of the search engine results page. LSAs feature the business name, phone number, hours, star rating, links to your Google reviews, and a Google Guarantee. The idea is to show searchers in need of local service highly qualified results that they will be more inclined to click on than organic results or paid search ads.
Who Can Use Local Service Ads?
The answer depends on your job type and local market. Google is continually rolling support for this service out to more areas. The best way to check your business’s eligibility is to enter your location and job type here. The following Triad industries are being supported by Google as of October 2020:
- Garage Door Repair
- Air Duct Cleaners
- Carpet Cleaners
- House Cleaners
- Lawn Care
- Pest Control
- Upholstery Cleaners
- Water Damage Service Providers
- Window Cleaners
- Window Service Providers
There are numerous other service industries that Google supports but they are not available in all markets nationwide. As the program expands into more areas, more local service business types will likely qualify. If you keep following information about LSAs for a little while, you may notice that most lists are not up-to-date with the most recent markets or services including Google themselves.
What is Special About LSAs?
Local Service ads have a lot of benefits for service businesses and potential customers.
- Visibility & Positioning – Local Service Ads appear at the very top of the SERPs ahead of organic and even paid search results. This is especially important on mobile devices where those top results can take up the entire screen.
- Reaching Voice Searches – Beyond the SERPs, LSAs can appear in voice search queries made through the Google Assistant. Recent data has shown that nearly 20% of searches today are done via voice, which gives you another opportunity to be found.
- Pay Per Lead – Unlike traditional PPC, advertisers using LSAs only pay for valid leads instead of clicks. This means you only pay when a customer texts, emails, leaves a voicemail, or calls your business. Depending on your business’s location and services offered, average costs are in the range of $5 – $139 per lead. One of the biggest benefits is that false, spammy, or even poorly matched leads can be disputed for advertising credit.
- The Google Guarantee – top LSA advertisers tend to have a badge featuring a green checkmark and the text “GOOGLE GUARANTEED” in their ads. This badge is earned by clearing Google’s screening process. To pass, Google performs a background, licensing, and insurance check and screens your ratings and reviews through Google. If a customer books a job through a Google Guaranteed business and is not satisfied, they can submit a claim to Google. If cleared, Google will reimburse that customer (up to $2,000 within the customer’s lifetime). Note that the Google Guarantee is only for Local Service Ads and is not allowed to be displayed outside of LSAs.
- No Keywords or Ad Creatives – LSAs are based on a selection of relevant search terms. These searches can be as broad as “HVAC” or more specific like “ac not working”. From there, the LSAs use the information from your business profile to generate the ad.
- Separate Management – LSAs are a type of ad but they are not managed through Google Ads (AdWords) or Smart Campaigns (AdWords Express) platform.
How Do I Get Started with LSAs?
First of all, you need to make sure your business is eligible. As stated above, supported industries vary by market. Check here to see if your business qualifies.
If your business does not currently qualify, you can sign up for notifications to see when Google has added more industries to your area.
If your business does qualify, then you can proceed through the form to create your Local Service Ad account and your business profile. The setup process covers the following:
- Your weekly budget
- Business hours
- Service areas
- Services your business provides (called Job types)
- Any special attributes or offers that make your business stand out
Make sure you are being clear and honest about your service area and job types; these factors determine the quality of leads you will receive from your ads. As Google states on the page, “Don’t accept jobs you’re not qualified or licensed to complete.”
While on the topic of licensing, you will need to provide Google with up-to-date proof of your licensing and liability insurance to receive the Google Guarantee. Google requires different paperwork for different industries so be sure to check here for your industry requirements.
You will also need to submit your business and workers to a cost-free background check. If this setup process seems daunting, we would be happy to help you work through the process!
Managing Your Ads & Leads
After setting up your business profile, you are ready to launch your Local Service Ads but your job isn’t done. Since LSAs are pay per lead, you or someone at your business will need to stay on top of incoming leads. You can manage lead from your web browser or the Local Service Ads app. It is critical to follow up with these leads; a track record to slow or no responses can hurt your LSA’s ranking and can eventually get your business disqualified.
The Local Service Ads dashboard is the central hub from which you can manage the details of your LSAs. From here, you can control the following:
- Follow Up with Leads – A lead is not a booked job so be sure to either reply to your potential customers via email or text message, call your potential customer, or decline the job. If you decline a job, you can provide the customer with more information as to why. You can also manage booked leads to schedule work, send confirmation emails, and gather reviews from completed jobs.
- Manage Your Budget – Payment for LSAs is done based on an average weekly budget. You can change your weekly budget using the slider in the Budget tab. Similar to Google Ads, the actual weekly spend can go a bit beyond or under your designated budget but will not surpass your monthly maximum budget. If you are also running Google Ads, remember that these are separate platforms with separate budgets.
- Gather Reviews – Reviews are important for all forms of digital marketing and LSAs are no different. In fact, reviews are a big factor in your LSAs ad rank. Conveniently, the LSA dashboard makes it easy to request reviews from customers who booked services through your ads. The Reviews tab of the LSA dashboard keeps track of all of your completed jobs. From there, you can use the “ASK FOR REVIEW” button to request a review from your customers. Before sending the request, you can create a customized message for your customer.
Space is limited even with LSAs at the top of the SERPs. On a desktop there can be up to 3 LSAs, the number drops to 2 on mobile devices, and only 1 will appear in Google Assistant results. Like Google Ads, Local Service Ads’ position is determined by ad rank. Unlike Google Ads, Local Service Ads’ ad rank is determined by:
- Your business’ proximity to the customer
- Google My Business ratings and the number of reviews received
- Your responsiveness to customers who reach out via LSAs – This includes jobs you decline.
- Business hours
- Serious or repeated complaints – These can result in the suspension of your account.
- Your budget – Like Google Ads, if your budget runs out early then your ads stop running.
Should I Consider Local Service Ads?
If you operate a local service-based business, you certainly should consider Local Service Ads. LSAs are a valuable and cost-effective tool that can help drive more customers to your business. On top of that, Google has provided a fairly straightforward dashboard to manage your leads, follow up with customers, and even request reviews. Even better, you can access the dashboard from your office computer or on-site with your smartphone or tablet via the LSA app.
Interested in getting started with Local Service Ads? We can help! Contact us today.