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Google Local Services Ads for Law Firms: An Overview

Vanessa Villa's Headshot Vanessa Villa LSA Manager

It’s no exaggeration to say that Google’s Local Services Ads have been a game-changer for law practices looking to generate more clients and cases.

When they were first introduced, Local Services Ads (LSAs) helped businesses dramatically increase their visibility on Google and bolster client confidence, and all at manageable costs — making them one of the most significant search engine marketing advancements in recent history.

Currently, Local Services Ads 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 Local Services Ads nationwide.

Local Services Ads can be a tremendous asset for a firm’s 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 Local Services Ads, 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.

Local Services Ads 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 Local Services Ads so effective and how your firm can get started with them.

What Are Google Local Services Ads?

Local Services 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.

Local Services Ads also 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 Local Services Ads, 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.

Local Services Ads 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 Local Services Ads?

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 broad availability of Local Services Ads within the legal industry, thousands of attorneys are jumping on the 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, Local Services Ads:

  • 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, Local Services Ads present consumers with a fast, easy way to find a trusted, local attorney. Legal Local Services Ads 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.

In addition, Google now gives attorneys the option to place ads via an auction-based pricing system, providing greater control over your budget and results. Google offers two types of bidding:

  • Maximize Leads
    • This option allows Google to set a bid for you. You will be giving Google the authority to raise your bid depending on your competitors’ bids.
  • Set Max Per Lead
    • This option allows you to set the amount of money you’re willing to spend on a single lead. The minimum and maximum bid amount allowed varies per profile. If you choose to run a set max per lead, you will then be asked to choose your weekly budget.

How Can I Get Started?

The one “drawback” of Local Services Ads is that setting up a campaign involves a little more work than it would for PPC ads. However, without this pre-screening process, they 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 owner 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.
  • Depending on state law, firms may also need to provide a Certificate of Liability Insurance (COI) that meets the following requirements:
    • Valid within the next 30 days
    • General Liability box checked, expiration date, certificate holder, and signature must be present

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 Local Services Ads, the time to start the verification process is now. And as a Google Premier Partner with years of experience running successful Local Services Ads campaigns, Scorpion is equipped to help you every step of the way.

For a more detailed look at how Google’s Local Services Ads fit in your practice’s marketing strategy, or for help applying to become “Google Screened,” contact us today or visit Scorpion.co/LegalLSA.

About the Author
Vanessa Villa's Headshot Vanessa Villa LSA Manager

Vanessa Villa is an LSA Manager at Scorpion. She helps businesses with the approval process for Google’s Local Services Ads (LSA) program. Vanessa also helps them manage their LSA campaigns so they can obtain a steady stream of high-quality calls from potential clients in their local communities. When Vanessa isn’t working, she enjoys going to concerts, attending Dodgers games, and traveling.

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