When we say Google’s latest announcement could revolutionize your law firm’s digital marketing strategy, it’s not an exaggeration.
When they were first introduced in other industries, Local Services Ads (LSAs) helped businesses dramatically increase their visibility on Google and bolster client confidence, and all at manageable costs — making LSAs one of the most significant search engine marketing advancements in recent history.
And now, LSAs are available nationwide to law firms in nearly every legal practice area, including:
- Bankruptcy law
- Business law
- Contract law
- Criminal law
- Disability law
- DUI law
- Estate law
- Family law
- Immigration law
- IP law
- Labor law
- Litigation law
- Malpractice law
- Personal injury law
- Real estate law
- Tax law
- Traffic law
Click here for the full list of professional services that are eligible for LSAs nationwide.
LSAs are a game-changer in the realm of legal digital advertising because they allow attorneys to place ads directly at the top of the search engine results page on Google, even above pay-per-click (PPC) ads. Additionally, with LSAs, firms only pay when one of their ads actually generates a lead (via call or direct message) rather than when someone clicks on their ad.
LSAs were originally released to home services companies in 2015 and were rolled out to immigration and estate planning law firms in select markets in summer 2019. Now, attorneys in almost every practice area all across the country are able to take advantage of these ads, giving them more opportunities to stand out to potential clients and attract more cases.
Read on for details about what makes LSAs so effective and how your firm can get started with them.
What Are Google Local Services Ads?
Local Service Ads appear at the top of Google’s search results page, making them the first thing prospective clients see when searching for attorneys in their area. The ads come before the PPC ads, maps results, organic search results — everything. They include a few quick pieces of information: your firm’s name, your attorney headshot, how long you’ve been in business, and your average review rating and overall number of reviews.
Additionally, LSAs include a “Google Screened” badge that appears with the ads. This badge tells prospective clients that your firm has gone through an extensive verification process by Google to confirm that your practice is reputable. (Scroll down the last section to learn more about what that process entails.)
When a user clicks on one of your LSAs, they’re taken to a page that includes your attorney bio, reviews, frequently asked questions, and other information that is meant to help the prospective client assess your firm. From there, they can contact your practice directly.
LSAs give you an opportunity to introduce your practice to more potential clients in your community (as proximity is an important factor in how your ads are shown) and quickly earn their trust.
Why Should Your Firm Use LSAs?
As the world’s largest search engine and the leading platform law firms use to strengthen their online reputation, Google’s offerings normally quickly become the gold standard for current legal marketing. With the expanded availability of Google’s LSAs within the legal industry, thousands of attorneys will be jumping on this opportunity to maximize exposure to their target clientele — and you don’t want your firm to get left behind.
In addition to their ability to grab your potential clients’ attention with high visibility in search, LSAs:
Allow your prospects to contact your firm straight from the ad, removing barriers to action and improving the client experience.
Only cost you money when they actually bring you leads — if the user doesn’t tap the call button, you won’t be charged.
On top of that, LSAs present consumers with a fast, easy way to find a trusted, local attorney. Legal LSAs determine ad placement based on factors like proximity and online reputation in order to give potential clients access to the best attorneys in their area. People have quickly come to trust them in the home services industry, so as Google expands this advertising channel within the legal industry, consumers’ trust in LSAs will only grow.
How Can I Get Started?
The one “drawback” of LSAs is that setting up a campaign involves a little more work than it would for PPC ads. However, without this pre-screening process, LSAs wouldn’t work as intended — it’s essential for establishing trust between you and your potential clients, as well as necessary for some of the ads’ functions.
Here’s an overview of the process:
1. Background Checks
- A law firm’s founder, its attorneys, and the firm itself must undergo a third-party background check.
- The background check searches for felony charges up to 7 years back.
- This process can take 2 to 5 weeks and applications expire after 90 days of first submission.
2. Required Documents
- Each attorney must provide proof of active bar membership in their firm’s state.
- Firms must also provide a Certificate of Liability Insurance (COI) that meet the following requirements:
- Valid within the next 30 days
- General Liability box checked, expiration date, certificate holder, and signature must be present
3. Positive Reviews
- In order to run LSAs, law firms must have an average review score of 3.0 stars or more.
Completing this process will earn your ads the “Google Screened” badge, which ensures potential clients that your firm is upstanding and reliable.
If you’re ready to take your firm’s advertising to the next level by incorporating LSAs, the time to start the verification process is now. And as a Google Premier Partner with years of experience running successful LSA campaigns, Scorpion is equipped to help you every step of the way.
For a more detailed look at how LSAs fit in your practice’s advertising strategy, or for help applying to become “Google Screened,” contact us today.