Imagine an advertising product that only brings you potential customers within your specific territory who have a legitimate need for a service that your business provides and are willing to pay you for it. Imagine an advertising product where you don’t have to pay for clicks, impressions or unqualified leads. Imagine being able to get to the very top of Google search results without having to develop a website or create content. Sound too good to be true? With Local Services by Google, you don’t have to imagine such a product anymore.
What is Google’s Local Service Ads?
Google Local Service Ads are a relatively new service being offered by Google in select markets. It matters because these ads completely change the layout of Google’s search results. Local Service Ads will now actually show up above Google Adwords or pay-per-click (PPC), Maps and every other organic listing. When a searcher enters a query, they may see several trusted professionals in their area positioned right above the traditional paid search ads; these new ads show a business number, hours, ratings, and reviews. Google’s Local Service Ads go one step further to ensure they’re connecting searchers to the right advertiser. Upon clicking on a local advertisers’ listing, Google prompts them to confirm the job they’re looking for as well as their service area. If you fit the job and serve that area, you’ll be matched to the searcher and they’ll be able to review your qualifications, ratings, and reviews before calling you. If you’re not a good fit for their job or you don’t serve their region, then Google will save you the costs and burdens and will connect them to a more appropriate Local Service Ad.
Local Service Ads was launched in 2015, but was largely unknown until the service was offered outside of California for the first time last year. Today, Google fully supports Local Service Ads for the following industries:
– Garage Door
– Air Duct Cleaner*
– Appliance Repair Service*
– Auto Glass Service*
– Auto Service Technician*
– Carpet Cleaner*
– Event Planner*
– Home Improvement Pro*
– House Cleaner*
– Junk Removal Provider*
– Lawn Care Provider*
– Pest Control Technician*
– Pet Care Provider*
– Pet Groomer*
– Roadside Assistance Service*
– Tree Service Provider*
– Upholstery Cleaner*
– Water Damage Service Provider*
– Window Cleaner*
– Window Service Provider*
*Not all services are supported in all markets.
History of Local Service Ads
The product was initially called “Home Services ads” and began as a beta test in the San Francisco area in 2015. Businesses that appeared in these Home Services ads were required to complete a screening process to make sure relevant insurance and licensing requirements were met. Criminal background checks for employees were also required as part of Google’s screening process. When looking for a contractor through Home Service ads, consumers could either call a business directly or select up to three businesses from the list to request individual quotes for comparison. The look and process have changed since then. A consumer no longer has options to request an online quote from a single business or select multiple businesses to request simultaneous quotes. Currently, the only way to contact businesses to compare service quotes is to call them. Google expanded the program to markets outside of California in 2017 and rebranded: “Home Service ads” became “Local Services ads” (LSA). The look and process have continued to evolve during the expansion, but one constant has remained. In order for a business to be “Google Guaranteed” they must pass Google’s screening process. This process continues the practices of license and insurance verification, as well as employee background checks performed by Pinkerton Consulting and Investigations. All employees that serve customers at their homes must complete background checks for the business to earn the “Google Guaranteed” badge. In addition to knowing these businesses have passed Google’s screening process, consumers that hire a “Google Guaranteed” business through a Local Services ad receive a satisfaction guarantee backed by Google. If they are not satisfied with work quality, Google will cover claims up to the job invoice amount (with a lifetime cap of $2,000).
Benefits to Local Service Ads
Hearing that the beta version of these ads was a success isn’t really a surprise, and the fact that Google is planning to expand significantly by the end of the year suggests the many benefits these ads provide to the businesses who use them. Some of the many benefits include:
Advertisers Pay Per Lead
If you have been trusting in pay-per-click ads, there’s something better for you. PPC advertisers know the pain of paying for a click isn’t a good fit or doesn’t convert (Local Service Advertisers with expensive CPCs – sometimes costing more than 5 times the average cost per click in Google Ads in particular). Google’s Local Service Ads helps connect the right job to the right advertiser and prevents the job mismatch that often happens when a user searches for broad terms for a very specific job or for an area outside your service zone. Local Service advertisers will only be charged for valid leads and depending on the job and the market, only cost $6 – $30 per lead. If you receive a lead that is either fraudulent, spam, or was a poor match, you can even dispute the charge for credit.
Gain Trust with the Google Guarantee
Searchers will notice that Local Service Ads appear with the green checkmark alongside the “Google Guarantee.” Beyond just catching users’ attention on a busy search engine result pages (SERP), this allows businesses to benefit from Google’s powerful endorsement. See, users trust Google’s, and its recommendation is backed by more than reputation; The Google Guarantee protects unsatisfied customers for jobs booked through Local Service Ads with a lifetime cap for coverage of $2,000.
Expand the Reach of Your Paid Search Ads
You’ll notice that Google’s Local Service Ads sit above the Paid Search ads and the Organic listings. That’s because Google Local Service Ads aren’t meant to replace your traditional search ads or even your organic local listings. Some searchers still turn to Google and expect to visit your website before deciding if you’re the best provider for their business. Even if they don’t convert via Local Search ads, their prime position on the SERP and user reviews may change how people convert later on.
Visible on Smartphones
One of the best things about Google products is that all of them are made keeping in mind that the world is moving to smartphones. In other words, all the Google products are easy-to-use and function perfectly well on all devices, including smartphones. On the initial search result, you will see three Local Services ads on desktop and two Local Service ads on mobile. Clicking on the “More plumbers” link will take you to a separate page showing a full list of both paid and free business listings in the Local Services ad unit.
Be Included in Voice Search Responses
Your customers are less likely to open a new tab and type a search query when they’re wrist-deep in their clogged drains! With over 20% of all searches coming from voice search, Local Service Ads are one of the few ways you can make sure that you’ve found on the 400 million devices powered by Google Assistant.
Google’s Local Service Ads will display on desktop, tablet, and mobile searches, as shown above; they’ll also have reached beyond traditional search ads. Local Service Ads will be featured in the Google Assistant’s response to relevant voice search queries! The Google Assistant will even inquire about the searcher’s job type and location to ensure a quality match for the advertiser.
Managing Leads is Easier
You have three options to follow up with an interested lead:
– Reply to the customer by sending your message as an email or text message to the customer.
– Call the customer based on the phone number they listed.
– Decline the job request. If you decline the request, it will be removed and the customer will be notified. You can send a response with more information about why the request was declined. Once declined, requests can be recovered if something changes.
After reviewing your leads, you can also mark a lead as booked to track your upcoming jobs. Use this feature to schedule your upcoming jobs, send confirmation emails, and gather customer reviews. Reporting on these booked deals will also help you determine your Local Service Ads’ overall ROI and profitability.
No Ads or Keywords to Manage
Paid Search advertisers know that keyword research and ad testing can be never ending tasks. Luckily, Google’s Local Service Ads require neither! Local Service Ads will automatically trigger when a customer searches for one of thousands of relevant search terms, be in as broad as “Plumber” or specific as “leaky faucet under sink.” The ad format will automatically be created using information from your business profile.
Highlight Your Reviews
Every Local Service Ad includes past customers’ ratings & reviews to help you earn searchers’ trust. Local Service Ads are one of the few ways to ensure your reviews appear on the SERP after Google retired Review Extensions on search ads. With reviews playing an important factor in your ad rank, it’s especially important to make sure you collect reviews from your satisfied customers. Luckily, Google makes it easy to reach out to the customers that book appointments through your Local Service Ads to ask for reviews. From the “Reviews” tab of your Local Service Ads manager, you can review the jobs you completed for your customers and directly ask them to leave a review on Google for you. Be sure to personalize the message to your customers to increase the likelihood that they leave a review for you!
How to Get Started With Local Service Ads
Confirm Your Eligibility
Google’s Local Service Ads are only available for certain industries in select markets (both of which are outlined above). To find out if you can connect to your customers with Local Service Ads, first confirm your business type and location. If Google hasn’t rolled out Local Service Ads for your region or job type yet, don’t worry! Google is expanding this service quicker than I can keep track of, so be sure to sign up to be notified when they are available to you. If you’re eligible, you’ll be guided through for creating an account to manage your Local Service Ads. Local Service Ads are managed separately from the ads you create in Google AdWords or Google Ads Express, so you’ll need to create a new account.
Create Your Business Profile
Your business profile will determine which jobs are matched to your Local Service Ads. Be honest about what kind of jobs you’re looking for services as well as which areas you want leads in, as you’re agreeing to potentially pay for any match leads from your Local Service Ads. From your business profile, you can edit:
– Your weekly budget
– Your business hours
– Your service areas
– Your job types
You also have the option to add highlights to your business profile, which will potentially serve alongside your Local Service Ads on the SERP and on your business details page. Use these to highlight attributes like special offers to distinguish yourself from your competitors. Although these highlights are optional, Google recommends including 2-5 highlights in your business profile.
Add Your License and Insurance Details
To earn the Google Guarantee and run Local Service Ads, you’ll need to submit proof that you’re a licensed and insured professional. Be sure your paperwork is up to date and then provide your general liability insurance details as well as your related professional licenses. If your city or state requires additional licenses, you can add them here as well to ensure you’re compliant in those regions.
Complete Background Check with Pinkerton
Before Google starts sending people into its users’ homes, offices, and cars, it wants to be sure its users are safe and can always trust the Local Service Advertisers covered under the Google Guarantee. For this reason, Google requires businesses and their fieldworkers to pass a background check. Google has partnered with Pinkerton to perform these background checks. There is no cost for these background checks, and you can manage them here.
Considering the priority placement and expanded reach, the ability to pay per lead with no additional costs, and the easy management, LSA are a no brainer (if you’re eligible). Even if you’re not — with the fast expansion of these ads — now would be a good time to master them so you can consider them moving forward. Google Local Service Ads are the next big thing in digital marketing. They offer businesses a low-cost strategy for generating leads, increasing online visibility, and improving profitability. As Google Local Service Ads venture into more markets and service categories, more enterprises will benefit from this amazing service. Do not be left behind by local service ads; contact the experts at Rapid Boost Marketing to determine whether your business can gain from Google Local Service Ads.
Ali Salman is an online marketing strategist who have worked with Coca-Cola, Extreme Pita, Mucho Burrito, KIA, Honda and other Fortune 500 companies. Ali Salman now heads Rapid Boost Marketing - Canada's fastest growing search marketing agency. RBM clients include Fortune 500's and medium size businesses across North America. Ali as RBM CMO leads his team in building and managing quality, high-performing and cost-effective interactive campaigns and programs for our company's customers and partners. In his career, he has significantly improved campaign performance for large brands such as Government of Alberta, Liberal Party, Workopolis, Cathay Pacific, as well as medium to large retailers and high-tech B2B-enterprise niches.
Ali and his team develop online promotional concepts that spark viral growth through search and social media for RBM clients, devising strategies that use search engines and more to reach key demographic segments in the ways they're most likely to be receptive. Ali Salman also oversees corporate marketing initiatives for Rapid Boost Marketing, including strategic communications counsel, public and analyst relations and client education programming.