Is advertising your local business on Google still worth it? Well, with 92% of all search queries happening on this search engine alone, the answer is a resounding "yes."
People rely on Google to provide them with nearby business solutions every day. In the past, local serviced-based companies opted for pay-per-click (PPC) ads to advertise their products and services. And while these ads could get you on the front page of search engine results pages (SERPs), they could also cost you. You'd end up having to pay for every ad click, even if the click led to nowhere for your brand.
Enter Google Local Service Ads or LSAs. These types of Google ads connect you directly with local buyers, and you only pay for leads generated. Even better, you don't have to undergo heavy keyword research or ad bidding. Google does all the work for you, and you reap the benefits of showing up on Google search results.
But how do you know if you are eligible for a Google LSA? What are its overall advantages? And where do you even start with the process? Read on to get these questions answered and more.
What Is a Google LSA?
First things first: what are Google Local Service Ads? These are paid advertisements that are displayed above the PPC ads and organic search results on SERPs. They pop up when a search engine user performs a local business search. A user can see this local advertising on desktop, mobile, tablet, and Google's Assistant voice search.
For example, these are LSAs that appear after typing in the search "water damage services San Francisco:"
An example of an LSA for the search "water damage San Francisco."
As you can see, there are several elements of a Google Local Service Ad. Each ad contains important details about the business. They include the company's name, location, hours of operation, and average review rating. There's also a Google Guaranteed badge, which we'll talk more about later.
When users click on a business page, they'll go to the company's LSA profile. Here, they'll see even more information about the brand, including highlights, customer reviews, and photos. However, if users click on the "more service providers" hyperlink, they'll be taken to another search page:
Google's "Local Services" search page.
Here, users specify the exact service they're looking for and confirm the location. Once they click "check," they'll be presented with even more service provider options.
Get yourself an LSA, and you're more likely to get your business in the eyes of the right kinds of customers. You'll also have an excellent addition to your local SEO strategy.
What Business Type Can Use LSAs?
The next big question is what industries can actually make use of LSAs.
When Google LSAs first launched, the advertising platform was only open to a select few industries. These included service providers like plumbers, locksmiths, and electricians. Over the years, Google has widened its service listing options. Nowadays, industries in the legal, financial, and real estate sector are able to create an LSA.
Some of the most common industries spotted in LSAs include:
Carpenters, flooring services, and foundations services
Child care and preschool
Electricians, plumbers, roofers, and sewage system work
Financial planning services
Handyman work, general contractors, and home inspectors
Home security, theater, and HVAC (heating or air conditioning)
Landscaping, lawn care, and tree services
Tutors and language instructors
Pest control services
Pool cleaning and contract work
Water damage services
Window repair and cleaning services
What Regions Can Use LSAs?
The areas where these LSAs are displayed are still limited. As Google continues to test out LSAs in different markets, there's no doubt it will continue to roll out new industries and areas.
As for now, Google LSAs are available in most metropolitan U.S. cities, Canada, and several European countries, including:
What Are the Benefits of LSAs?
Google LSAs show customers the most relevant and credible local services for their needs. But how about the benefits that LSAs bring in for your business?
Only Pay Per Lead, Not Per Click
By far, one of the biggest advantages of having an LSA is that you save more money on ad spending. While you still need to incorporate a budget for your advertising, you only pay for each lead generated. This is in huge contrast to PPC ads, where you're charged for every click of your ad. You could have a very manageable LSA budget and see a much, much higher return.
Secondly, Google only charges you for certain actions taken by what it calls a " valid lead." Actions include being contacted by the customer, speaking with the customer on the phone, and receiving a booking from a customer.
Develop Customer Trust
Remember the Google Guaranteed badge mentioned above? Well, here's where it comes into play. Businesses receive this badge only after going through a verification process. During this, Google performs all sorts of checks to ensure that a business is legitimate.
Essentially, Google is giving its stamp of approval to every business shown in LSAs. The Google guarantee program is a great boost for your business. As a result, a potential customer is more likely to trust the ads and invest in the business. Even more impressively, Google offers a reimbursement of up to $2,000 for customers unsatisfied with services they paid for through an LSA. Reimbursements are decided at their discretion and on a case-by-case basis.
Besides Google Guaranteed, there's also Google Screened. The Google Screened badge is the same as Google Guaranteed, though it's provided to professional service firms. These include legal, financial, or real estate firms.
No Keyword Research Needed
Google LSAs are all about keeping it simple. How? Well, Google creates your LSA for you. All you have to do is input your business information, and an ad will be generated. Additionally, these ads don't contain space for any copy. You don't need to fret about meeting a certain word count using the "right" kinds of words or phrases. Instead, LSAs are meant to give search engine users brief information and your business quick leads.
Moreover, you also don't have to undergo any keyword research. Google will decide which keywords are relevant to your business, depending on your services. The search engine will then display your ad to users who type in these specific keywords. There's no need to research and monitor keyword trends in your industry, giving you time to focus on other efforts.
Broaden Your Paid and Organic Search Strategies
Paid search ads and organic content, like blogs and articles on your website, are two other effective ways to reach potential customers. If you already have these strategies in place, make sure to keep using them. Combining paid and organic search and an LSA will make your company even more visible on SERPs. And with greater visibility comes more credibility. Plus, using a multi-faceted strategy can make you stand out from competitors who only use one method.
Highlight What Makes Your Business Great
Customer reviews are a big part of what makes a successful Google LSA. With your Local Service Ad, you can highlight your best ratings and feedback for future customers to see. It's a great way to make use of your best material and get customers confident about your business.
How to Get Started With LSAs
Fortunately, getting started only takes a few simple steps:
1. Check Your Eligibility
The first step is to check whether your business is eligible for LSAs. You can do this on the sign-up page of the Local Service Ad platforms. You'll then be prompted to start the account creation process if you're eligible. If you're not eligible now, don't fret. Google continues to expand LSA industries and regions. You can check back from time to time to see if your service type is being supported.
2. Set Up Your LSA Profile
Next up is creating your LSA profile. This profile is different than other Google profiles you might have, such as a Google Business Profile. So, you'll need to input all of your business information, including the basics. This consists of:
Hours of operation
This info will tell Google both who sees your ads and what jobs you'll be matched for. Make sure to give thoroughly accurate information here, or you risk not getting the right kinds of leads. You also don't want to mislead potential leads with the wrong kind of info.
In addition to the basic info, you can also have some highlights on your profile. These highlights can make your LSA stand out among the sea of competition. For example, you can include highlights like "locally owned and operated" or "24/7 emergency services." Google recommends including at least two highlights and even offers highlight prompts for you to get started.
3. Submit License and Insurance Information
You've got your account set up. Now's the time to complete the paperwork. This is part one of the process that gets you that Google Guaranteed or Google Screened badge. Gather your general liability details and professional licenses together, and check to make sure that everything is up to date. From there, you can submit all the paperwork on the LSA platform. For more information on what to submit, you can check out the Google verification and screening help page.
4. Undergo a Background Check
The last step is getting a background check. Google offers this at no charge to businesses and uses their partner Pinkerton. The verification partner will get in touch with you, collect the necessary information, and perform the background check. After you pass, you can complete your LSA profile and receive your official Google Guaranteed or Google Screened badge.
Top Tips for LSAs
How can you make sure you're getting the most out of your Google LSA? Check out the following top tips.
Manage Your Budget
Managing your budget keeps your LSA strategy on track. The first step is to determine how many leads you'd like to acquire per month. While this can vary greatly per business, going for 20 leads per month is a safe place to start. After you've told Google how many leads you'd like, it will give you an estimated weekly budget. How much you pay depends on factors like where your business is located, your services, and the type of lead itself.
Keep in mind that Google may spend slightly more of your budget on certain weeks. However, it will never go over your maximum monthly budget - it may just increase based on user activity. Perhaps one week, for example, more people than usual will be searching for your services. You can always manually adjust your budget on the LSA platform or via the LSA mobile app.
Another factor to note is that you have the option to dispute invalid leads and get a credit in return. Google will consider several situations for lead disputation, including soliciting, spam, or irrelevant location or service. This handy feature helps to further keep your budget on track.
Keep Up With Leads
After you've launched your Google LSA, the leads will start to come. To make the most of your leads, you'll need to keep up with them consistently. Luckily, you can easily do so through the LSA dashboard or app.
Google will notify you when a new lead comes in. From there, you can review the lead and contact them in the following three ways:
Reply: Send an interested customer an email or text message.
Call: Call the customer with the phone number they gave you.
Decline: Turn down the job. You can include a brief message that gives the reason, and the customer will then be notified.
The Local Services Ad dashboard will also show you active, booked, completed, and inactive leads. Even better, you can also schedule future jobs and ask for reviews from customers. In the end, remember to respond to leads quickly, no matter which answer you choose to give. Keeping up a fast response time can lead to a higher ranking for your LSA.
Incorporate Good Reviews
These days, 98% of consumers read reviews about local businesses. This staggering number proves that people are invested in reviews. Good ones show that a company is worth trusting and buying from, and bad ones will let customers know where to avoid spending their money.
The best LSAs will boast multiple high ratings. Luckily, getting reviews is an easy task. You can request a review from every customer you receive from your ad straight from the LSA dashboard. Once you start gathering positive feedback, you can highlight it across your LSA profile. Not only will this make your business even more trustworthy, but it will also bump up your ranking on SERPs.
Consider Ranking Factors
Talking about being bumped on SERPs, it's also good to consider LSA ranking factors. After all, with every local business search, only a few LSAs will pop up before users click on more. You want your business to be at the forefront of SERPs to increase the likelihood of clicks and conversions.
With that said, what influences your ranking?
Distance to search users: The closer in proximity to a user your business is, the better chance it has to rank higher. After all, the goal of local services ads is to provide a local service for customers.
Business hours: Your ad will decrease in visibility during your off-hours. Google does this because businesses are less likely to respond to users when their business is not in operation.
Responsiveness to customer inquiries and requests: Customers like fast response rates, and Google does too. The more often and quickly you respond to your customers, the greater your ranking.
Reviews: Both the number and quality of your reviews will determine where you stand among the LSA competition. It's another big reason why those reviews are so important.
Serious or repeated complaints: Google wants every business to uphold their Google Guaranteed badge, which helps to prove their trust and credibility. Receiving a number of serious complaints could hurt consumers' confidence in a business and lead to a lower ranking.
In the end, the key to having a prominent Google LSA is to provide efficient, fast, and quality customer service.
Build a Google LSA For Your Business
The best Google LSAs are accurate, thorough, and highlight the best a company has to offer.
Google Local Service Ads are a must-have for your local business. You'll get your business in front of the right eyes, deepen your customer trust, and only pay for leads, not clicks. Even better, Google handles the keyword work for you so that you can put your focus on providing quality service to new and loyal customers.
If you're ready to get started creating a Google LSA, check out Scorpion. Our seasoned marketing experts can guide you on your journey to achieving high-ranking and result-making Google LSAs.