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The Comprehensive Guide To Google Local Services Ads

The-Comprehensive-Guide-To-Google-Local-Services-Ads-screened

Sometimes you need to find a local service fast.  Like that time you locked your keys in the car in the middle of August with a full cart of bonbons and ice cream. 

Enter Local Services Ads…Google’s new advertising platform for select local service industries. 

In this article, you’ll get an overview of how Local Services works, who can use it, how your business will benefit, and how to get started.  

Overview

Up until now, pay-per-click ads were at the top of the SERP (search engine results page).  

As an advertiser, you would pay for each click, which led to a website visit and hopefully a phone call.  

This was the best way to find new clients online.  

Now you have a new option – if you enroll and get approved Local Services Ads, your business will be listed at the top of the SERP, with a Google Screened or Google Guaranteed badge of trust.  

Your ad will feature your photo, years in business, and your Google Review rating. 

Google Local Services is a great way to supplement Google Ads or any SEO strategy.  

The magic of Google’s Local Service Ads is that they’re connecting searchers to the right advertiser without managing keywords.  

They do this by creating the ad format using information from your business profile (we’ll get into this in just a bit).  They also prompt the user to confirm the job they’re looking for and the area. 

If you fit the job and serve that area, you’ll get matched and they’ll be able to review your qualification, ratings, and Google reviews before hitting the call button.  

But what if you’re not a good match or don’t serve their area?  No worries –  Google will save you time and money and connect the user to a better fit within their Local Service Ads.  

Who Can Use Google Local Services Ads?

You must have a Google star rating of 3.0 or better to apply.  Local Services is available for a wide range of industries including realtors, financial planners, as well as attorneys in the following fields:

  • Personal Injury Law
  • Family Law
  • Real Estate Law
  • Immigration Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Estate Law

And, a more comprehensive list:

  • Locksmiths
  • Plumbers
  • Garage Door
  • Electricians
  • HVAC
  • Air Duct Cleaner*
  • Appliance Repair Service*
  • Auto Glass Service*
  • Auto Service Technician*
  • Carpet Cleaner*
  • Event Planner*
  • Handyman*
  • Home Improvement Pro*
  • House Cleaner*
  • Junk Removal Provider*
  • Lawn Care Provider*
  • Mover*
  • Painter*
  • Pest Control Technician*
  • Pet Care Provider*
  • Pet Groomer*
  • Photographer*
  • Roadside Assistance Service*
  • Roofer*
  • Tree Service Provider*
  • Tutor*
  • Upholstery Cleaner*
  • Water Damage Service Provider*
  • Window Cleaner*
  • Window Service Provider*

*Not all services are supported in all markets.

Benefits

  • Pay per lead – not per click
      • Reduce costly clicks for leads that are not a good match
      • You’re only charged for valid leads 
  • Only costs between $6-$30 per lead (depending on the market)
      • For some industries, this can dramatically reduce CPA (cost per acquisition)
  • Expand the Reach of Your Paid Search Ads
      • Being at the top of the SERP has its perks.  Dominating the SERP with combined organic, paid and Local Services ads take your brand into a whole new realm.
  • Boost Conversion Rates 
      • Fast connection with customers at the very moment they’re looking for services you provide means an increased likelihood of the prospect calling you first. 
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • No ads or keywords to manage
  • The ad format will automatically be created using information from your business profile. 
  • Customers choose you (no chasing them)
      • This is the essence of great active marketing 
  • Gain trust with the Google Screened / Google Guaranteed badge
      • The Google Guarantee protects unsatisfied customers for jobs booked through Local Service Ads.  Customers have a lifetime cap for coverage of $2,000.
      • The Google Screened badge gives you the same street cred but does not include the customer satisfaction guarantee.  This is ideal for attorneys, real estate agents, and financial planners. 
    • Be included in voice search responses.  
      • Oh boy, this is huge.  We all know AI is playing a big role in how we do business, year after year.  This is especially true with voice searches as they are on the rise, big time.  Some sources are reporting an expected 10% increase in 2021With more and more voice searches taking a piece of the pie, now is the time to position yourself to take advantage.  
      • Google Assistant will even confirm the user’s job type and location to ensure a quality match.  
  • Highlight your positive reviews & ratings

How To Rank

There’s only a certain amount of space available on the SERP, so up to 3 Local Service Ads will appear on Desktop, 2 on Mobile & Tablet, and only 1 via the Google Assistant. 

Desktop

Mobile

Tablet

Just like with your PPC campaigns, you’ll need to have a high Ad Rank to ensure your listing shows.

However, ranking for Local Service Ads is much more simple than ranking for Google Ads.  You won’t have to worry about your ad’s quality score (which is calculated based on your ad’s CTR (click-through rate), ad relevance, and landing page).  Instead, Google calculates your Local Service Ads’ Ad Rank by considering the following factors:

  • Your verification status and whether you obtained a Google badge of trust (Screened (U.S. only) or Guaranteed) or not
  • The context of the person’s search – When calculating ranking they look at the search terms the person has entered, the time of the search, and other user signals and attributes
  • Your review score and the number of reviews you receive
  • Your responsiveness to customer inquiries and requests
  • Your proximity to potential customers’ locations
  • Your business hours
  • Whether or not they’ve received serious or repeated complaints about your business

How To Get Started

1) First, check and see if you’re eligible 

                     a) Add your business type and location hereYou’ll need to create a new account as Local Service Ads are managed separately from Google Ads.

    2) Create your business profile

                    a) Your Google Local Service Ads profile is different from your Google My Business account, so you’ll need to create a new account.

                b) From your business profile, you can edit:

      • Your business details
      • Your service area
      • Your service types
      • Your business hours
      • Your business bio 
Business Details

Service Area

Service Types

Business Hours

Business Bio

Your business bio is where you can add important aspects about your business to help users choose which provider to contact.  Use attributes such as “24/Emergency Services” and special offers like “Student discounts available” to distinguish yourself from others in your industry. Although these highlights are optional, you would be making a big mistake by not using them.  Google recommends including 2-5 highlights in your business profile.

     To add or edit highlights to your bio
    1. Sign in to your Local Services Ads lead inbox..
    2. Click the menu at the top, then click Profile & budget.
    3. Click the edit icon on the top right corner of the page.
    4. In the list that appears, select checkboxes for up to 5 highlights.
    5. Click Save. The selected highlights will appear on your profile page within a few hours.

3) Add your budget

4) Complete background check with Pinkerton

5) Add your license and insurance details

        a) You’ll need to submit proof that you’re a licensed and insured professional.

Boasting the Google Screened /  Google Guarantee badge means that Google wants to verify that its users are safe and can always trust their Local Service Advertisers.  The background check is free of charge. 

How To Get The Most Out Of Google Local Services Ads

The following best practices are really no brainers – but it’s good to review:

  • Be consistent with quality
  • Ask for  reviews in the Reviews Tab 
  • Respond immediately to your messages and phone calls (failing to do so may lower your ad ranking)
  • Maintain consistent NAP (name, address, phone number) across directory sites online
  • Optimize your Google My Business Listing
  • Always stay in good standing with Google. 

Conclusion

To recap, select industries now have the opportunity to get to the top of the SERP using Google Local Services, along with a Google Screened / Google Guaranteed badge.  This ultimately can lead to more conversions, which is exactly what great active marketing is all about.  

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