The Ultimate Guide to Google’s Local Service Ads
Google’s reach may extend across the world but, for some local searches, we need a trusted solution in our own neighborhood (and quickly)!
Searchers watching their sinks overflow can’t wait for a plumber from across state lines, and they’re hesitant to call a stranger to help them get into their car when they’re locked outside in the middle of the night.
Local service advertisers often struggle to convert these searchers with just text ads.
That’s why they should be excited for Google’s newest search offering – Local Service Ads:
Google’s Local Service Ads are a great supplement to the local SEO strategy for specific industries such as locksmiths, plumbers, garage door professionals, electricians, and HVAC services.
When a searcher enters a local search query (such as the one below), 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 qualification, ratings, and Google 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.
Google’s Local Service Ads will display on desktop, tablet, and mobile searches, as shown above; they’ll also have reach 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.
Local Service Ad Industries
Local Service Ads are a dream come true for some industries. 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.
Local Service Ad Regions
Not all regions have access to Google’s Local Service Ads. However, most large metro areas in the United States have Local Service Ads. Google plans to continue to expand its coverage in the US and has plans to expand internationally later this year.
Today, the following markets are serving Local Service Ads:
- Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA
- Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD
- Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH
- Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC
- Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN
- Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
- Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
- Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
- Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV
- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA
- Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL
- Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
- Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL
- Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD
- Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ
- Pittsburgh, PA
- Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA
- Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA
- Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA
- San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX
- San Diego-Carlsbad, CA
- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
- Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
- St. Louis, MO-IL
- Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL
- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
Benefits to Google’s Local Service Ads
Advertisers Pay per Lead – not Click!
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 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.
Highlight your Positive Reviews & Ratings
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.
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.
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’re found on the 400 million devices powered by Google Assistant.
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.
Getting Started with Google’s 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 here.
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 created an account to manage your Local Service Ads. Local Service Ads are managed separate from the ads you create in Google Ads (AdWords) or Google Ads Express, so you’ll need to create a new account.
Create your business profile
Your Google Local Service Ads profile is different from your Google My Business account, which is connected to your your local listing on Google (and if you haven't already, make a note to create and optimize this account as well). Your Local Service Ads business profile will determine which jobs are matched to your Local Service Ads. Be honest about what kind of services you can perform 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 (“Locally owned & operated”) and special offers (“Military discount available”) to distinguish yourself from others in your industry. 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.
Managing Your Leads
Once your business profile is complete, you can launch your Local Service Ads and start collecting new leads. You can view and mange your incoming leads by visiting google.com/homeservices/inbox .
From this dashboard, you can navigate to the “Leads” tab via the drop down in the top right corner. Alternatively, you can always manage your inbound leads via the Local Services Ads app on Android and iOS.
Remember that leads aren’t necessary booked jobs! Be sure to follow up with your inbound leads. After selecting an individual lead, you can review the details of the lead, including the job type and location, as well as listen to the recording of call.
After reviewing these leads, you have the 3 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.
Managing Your Budget
From your business profile, you can adjust your Local Service Ads’ budget. You can manage how much you’d like to spend in your Local Services Ads by raising or lowering your average weekly budget. Like in Google Ads, Google may spend slightly less or more than your assigned weekly budget in any given week, but it will never exceed your monthly maximum budget.
Given that you’re charged per lead—rather than click—with Google Local Service Ads, increasing or decreasing your budget will directly impact the number of leads you generate. If you’re just starting off with Local Service Ads, it’s recommended that you budget for at least 20 leads per week to get the most out of your new ads.
Keep in mind that your Local Service Ads budget is separate from your AdWords budget, so if you’re running both, you’ll want to ensure you’re prepared for the combined costs of your campaigns.
Even with these new Local Service Ads, there’s still a limited amount of space on the SERP!
Up to 3 Local Service Ads will appear on Desktop, 2 on Mobile, and only 1 via the Google Assistant. Just like with your PPC campaigns, to ensure your listing shows you’ll need to have a high ad rank.
However, unlike your search ads where you have to worry about your ad’s quality score – formulated by a combination your ad’s CTR, ad relevance, and landing page, you don’t have to worry about those ranking factors. Instead, Google calculates your Local Service Ads’ Ad Rank by considering factors including:
- Your proximity to potential customers' locations
- Your review score and the number of reviews you receive
- Your responsiveness to customer inquiries and requests
- Your business hours
- Whether or not we’ve received serious or repeated complaints about your business
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!