Not all leads are created equal. Check out our new Leads AI.

Franchises Franchises

3 Ways Google Is Expanding Local Services Ads: What Home Services Franchises Should Know

Man laying down bricks

May 2020 brought some important new developments for Google’s Local Services Ads (LSA) program. In addition to making these ads available to more home services professionals, Google also found a couple of other ways to build upon their usage.

If you’re not familiar with Local Services Ads and how they can help your home services franchise, read the recap below. Or, if you already know the basics about LSAs, skip to the next section covering the three latest updates.

Quick Recap: What Are Local Services Ads?

What are LSAs?: Local Services Ads (LSAs) refer to a certain type of ad that Google shows in its search results. These ads currently appear at the top of the search results page, above the pay-per-click (PPC) ads, and they feature a “Google Guaranteed” badge. The badge shows potential customers that the advertised business has been thoroughly verified by Google, and that the services booked through the ads are backed by a money-back guarantee.

These ads help local consumers find trusted service providers right in their local communities, and they also help businesses book more jobs. LSAs are charged on a pay-per-lead model, meaning the business pays for each call or message lead instead of for every click.

What do LSAs include?: Your ad and profile will show basic information about your business (name, phone number, services offered, years in business, etc.), your “Google Guaranteed” badge, and your average Google review rating to help boost credibility for your business. Potential customers have the ability to call or message your business straight from the ad to schedule service.

How can I run LSAs for my business?: If you want to run LSAs, you have to apply and get approved by Google. The process includes background checks and other forms of verification. Only certain types of home services providers are eligible for LSAs.

Now that you know more about LSAs, let’s review...

3 LSA updates from May 2020

Six more home services business types are now eligible for LSAs

These include:

  1. Carpenters
  2. Fencing professionals
  3. Flooring professionals
  4. Foundation professionals
  5. Landscapers
  6. Siding professionals

Google first launched its Local Services Ads program in beta in 2015 for locksmiths and plumbers, and since then, it has expanded to include 24 home services business types in total. If you would like to find out whether your home services franchise qualifies for the LSA program, contact Scorpion and we can assist you.

2. Google expands use of the LSA estimates feature

If you have been keeping up with the latest developments concerning LSAs, you may have heard that a new estimates feature was introduced this year. The feature was initially only available for house cleaning businesses, but as of May, locksmiths and window cleaners are now added to that list.

With the estimates feature, a business can log into their LSA dashboard and add pricing estimates for their most common services. Not only do these estimates better equip potential customers with the information they need to make more informed hiring decisions, but they can also result in better leads for the advertiser (due to more realistic expectations from the prospect of how much a job will cost).

It’s important to keep up with developments like these for LSAs, even if they do not apply to your specific industry. When Google introduces changes to its ads, the company usually starts by testing them out in a few niche markets before rolling them out at a much larger scale — so there’s always a chance that your industry could be impacted in the future.

3. Google introduces a pre-badge ad pilot for LSAs

The normal process for the LSA program requires businesses to pass background checks before they can start running their ads. However, Google is now offering a pre-badge ad pilot for its LSAs for certain home services business types (appliance repair, lawn care, tree services, and window cleaning). The pilot allows businesses to begin showing their ads before they pass their background checks, with the caveat that the ads will not include a “Google Guaranteed” badge (or the financial guarantee that comes with it).

Businesses can qualify for the pre-badge ad pilot as long as they pass initial verification, which includes:

  • Proof of licensing
  • A certificate of liability insurance
  • A minimum of one review on Google
  • A valid payment method attached to their LSA account for billing

The pre-badge ads will appear where the non-Google-Guaranteed ads are usually listed (toward the bottom of the results page) until the business passes its background checks and qualifies for a badge.

A Local Services Ad with the "Google Guaranteed" badge shown above a line and another LSA with no badge

Participants in the pre-badge pilot should note that they will still be charged for LSA leads, and there will not be a way to identify between pre-badge leads and Google Guaranteed leads within their LSA dashboard.

Bringing your franchise more business with LSAs

Over the past few years, home services businesses from all over the country have been using Google’s Local Services Ads to maximize their visibility in online search and book more jobs. If you’re interested in applying for the program or building on your current LSA strategy, our team would be happy to help. As a Google-designated LSA partner, we can guide you through the application process and help you manage your campaigns for optimal results. Contact us today to learn more!