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Why Local Services Ads Are Great For Small Businesses

February 6, 2020
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written by Ryan Gould

Plumbers and electricians rejoice! Local Services Ads from Google can help you connect with customers looking for services in your area.

TL;DR

  • Google’s Local Services Ads are a great opportunity for small service businesses to reach a local audience.
  • They connect local service providers with people in their community looking for a services from 30+ job categories.
  • Local service businesses such as plumbers, event planners, and electricians can use Google to increase brand awareness and target their services to a hyper local audience.

We’ve covered ways to promote your business online. But what if you offer services in your area and want to narrow down your scope?

Google has ads for that and they’re called Local Service Ads.

What are Local Services Ads?

Google Local Services Ads (LSAs) initially launched in San Francisco in 2015 and were only available within a few business verticals. But as of last year, Local Services ads were available in 30 home services verticals in about 30 major metro areas in the US.

They are designed to connect local service providers with people in their community who are searching for a service that falls within one of over 30 job categories including:

  • Air duct cleaner
  • Appliance repair 
  • Car repair
  • Carpet cleaner
  • Chiropractor
  • Electrician
  • Estate lawyer
  • Event planner
  • Financial planner
  • Garage door pro
  • Housecleaner
  • HVAC
  • Immigration lawyer
  • Junk removal
  • Lawn care
  • Locksmith
  • Mover
  • Pest control
  • Pet boarding
  • Pet grooming
  • Photographer
  • Plumber
  • Real estate agent
  • Roofer
  • Towing pro
  • Tree service
  • Tutor
  • Upholstery cleaner
  • Water damage 
  • Window cleaner
  • Window repair
  • Windshield repair

Google allows you to check if your business is eligible to run LSAs by entering their country, state, zip code, job category and indicating if they meet insurance and licensing requirements. As part of the setup process, Google works with you to make sure you qualify for the Google Guarantee badge.

After confirming eligibility, getting up and running is a quick three-step process which includes signing up as a service provider, setting your budget which is tied to the number of leads you want per month, and enabling your ads. Note that not all services are supported in all markets. You’ll need to go through the setup process to see if your service is supported within your market.

Estimate your monthly LSA budget
Estimate your monthly LSA budget

LSAs are priced on a cost per lead (CPL) basis. The above screenshot, taken from Google’s Local Services page, helps businesses determine a monthly budget based on location, business type, and the target number of leads. In the above example, a goal often leads per month for an event planner in the 10021 zip code requires a budget of $120-$180 per month.

How LSAs differ from standard Google search ads

LSAs appear on users’ phones and for queries with specific local qualifiers (e.g., “pest control near me” or “local pest control service”). They are also triggered by user proximity (to your business) on mobile devices but don’t seem to be tied to geographic qualifiers (e.g., “chiropractor in Boston”).

Unlike standard search ads, advertisers pay on a cost per lead basis and don’t select keywords associated with their campaigns. They simply supply their business information to Google, select their category and budget, and flip the switch.

Clicking on an ad either on a mobile device or computer directs the user to a business profile page that resides on Google.com, rather than directing users to your website or landing page. The profile page contains a list of elements associated with your business (e.g., business name, Google Reviews ranking, a brief bio that includes the services you offer, etc.)

If your business has written reviews associated with it, these will appear on the profile page as well.

Example of business profile page which Google users see when clicking an LSA.
Example of business profile page which Google users see when clicking an LSA

Users on mobile devices have the option to call you directly from your ad by clicking on a phone icon, as shown in the below example.

pest control near me
LSA ads that appear on a mobile device for the search “pest control near me”

Another key difference between LSAs and standard search ads is that there’s no direct way for advertisers to improve LSAs—at least, not by using typical keyword optimization practices such as pausing poorly performing terms or tweaking ad copy.

Google determines LSA rankings based on a variety of factors including:

  • Your proximity to your potential customers’ location
  • Your review score/number of reviews
  • Your responsiveness to customer inquiries and requests
  • Your business hours (e.g., ads won’t appear when you’re closed)
  • The quantity of serious or repeated complaints about your business

Thus, the best way to ensure your ads appear for a user’s query is to respond quickly to requests, deliver optimal service (to avoid complaints and refund requests), and list extended hours, if appropriate. You should also request reviews from all your customers since the number of reviews is a key factor in determining whether your ad will appear prominently for local searches.

A word about the Google Guarantee

Qualifying businesses who sign up for LSAs automatically become a Google Guaranteed business. The Google Guarantee basically means that Google will cover claims up to the amount of the job invoice if the service was booked through an LSA (with a lifetime cap for coverage).

To qualify for the Google Guarantee, businesses must pass a screening and qualification process. The screening takes place when you sign up for the LSA program.

Once accepted, your business appears beneath the Google Guaranteed logo (shown in the screenshots above), adding extra peace of mind for users who opt to use your service.

Getting started with Google LSAs

To get started with a Google LSA campaign, visit Google’s LSA signup page and follow the steps provided there. Once your campaign is up and running, you can monitor results using Google’s dedicated LSA app or by logging into your Google account from any device.

The app allows advertisers to do the following:

  • Manage ads
  • Communicate with customers
  • View reports/track performance
  • Read and request reviews
  • Update your ad
  • Manage your budget
Example of lead inbox in Google’s LSA app
Example of lead inbox in Google’s LSA app

At this point, you may be asking yourself if LSAs are worth the trouble, particularly if you’re already running a standard Google Ads campaign.

The answer is, resoundingly, yes. A 2018 study by BrightLocal found that LSAs accounted for nearly 14% of all SERP clicks. In a search environment where zero-click searches dominate the results, this is a pretty significant number.

Additionally, there is evidence that LSAs increase clicks to all paid results when they’re present. The BrightLocal study found that when LSAs are present, about 25% of all clicks in the search results go to paid results vs 14% of clicks when LSAs aren’t present.

LSAs can also significantly impact clicks to organic results, with the number of clicks to organic results dropping by about 44% in the presence of LSAs. This is an important phenomenon to consider if your business ranks well organically and you rely on organic traffic.

Google has made implementing an LSA campaign a straightforward process via its Local Service Ads hub. The page contains a quick overview of the service, a step-by-step guide for getting started and a detailed FAQ.

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Author
Ryan Gould

From legacy Fortune 100 institutions to inventive start-ups, Ryan brings extensive experience with a wide range of B2B clients. As VP of Strategy and Marketing Services for Elevation Marketing, he skillfully architects and manages the delivery of integrated marketing programs, and believes strongly in strategy, not just tactics, that effectively aligns sales and marketing teams within organizations.
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