How and why do Local Service Ads benefit local businesses?

All business owners are linked by the common goal to start and grow your business into a dominant and well-established brand in your niche. However, the path to achieving such a goal is one that requires different approaches and strategies. While some businesses still cling to the promises of traditional marketing, others look to the future and invest in professional digital marketing solutions. Now, imagine having a way to advertise your business online without having to pay for clicks to your website. Google’s Local Service Ads are a way for your business to gather high-quality leads in your area, with a specific interest in the services your company has to offer.

It also offers a way for your business to stand out at the very top of Google search results without having to develop your website or optimize it with content. Digital Dot explores the definition, coverage, and benefits of Local Service Ads for businesses, as well as the role Google Guarantee plays in all that. Keep reading to learn all you need to take your local business to the top of search results on Google.

Person searching for a local business on Google Maps
Google’s Local Service Ads are a great supplement to the local SEO strategy for specific industries.

What is Google’s Local Service Ads?

  • Local Services by Google is a paid advertising channel that positions your business listing among others that appear at the very top of the search results page.

The ads display the Google rating for a business and can also include a “Google Guaranteed” badge to offer customers a refund of up to $2000 in case they are not pleased with your services. What makes these ads so effective is that they appear even above Google Ads and Google My Business (GMB) listings.

The benefits of Local Service Ads are many, the most notable one being that a business does not pay for clicks but rather for legitimate leads that call or message your business. Although this approach has its limitations in terms of the industries and areas it covers, it is expanding each year and is often recommended by professional Pay Per Click (PPC) agencies.

Which industries do Google’s Local Service Ads apply to?

Whether you focus only on these ads or use them to boost SEO for local businesses, they can make a big difference for certain industries. Today, Google fully supports Local Service Ads for the following industries:

  • 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.

Which areas do Google’s Local Service Ads cover?

This advertising program was initiated by Google back in 2015. Back then, it was still under beta trials and limited to the San Francisco Bay Area. Two years later, the program took flight, and Google decided to expand it beyond California and to other regions in the US and Canada. Today, most large metro areas in Northern America use Local Service Ads. There are long-term plans of expanding the program to other countries as well.

The benefits of Google’s Local Service Ads

As mentioned above, the program proved a success in a matter of two years, giving Google the chance to expand across the US and Canada. The fact that Google is planning on expanding Local Services even more only proves just how much it is contributing to local businesses. Surely enough, there are plenty of advantages of opting for this type of paid advertising solution:

Advertisers pay Per Lead and not Per Click

Google Ads are a well-established way to secure a flow of leads, depending on how good the strategy is, of course. However, PPC professionals also understand and appreciate the advantage that Local Service Ads bring to the table. Unlike your typical Google Ads where you pay for each click no matter the quality of the lead, service ads only charge per lead. That means that you can avoid having to lose money on false or low-value leads.

Google’s Local Service Ads offer a direct connection between the local business that is advertising and the people in that area searching for them. It prevents the chances of job mismatch while increasing the chance of conversion drastically. Since Local Service advertising campaigns only charge for valid leads only (direct calls or messages), the average per lead cost can vary between $6 and $30. In cases with false leads, mismatches, or scams – a company can dispute the charge and receive a refund from Google.

Higher chance of establishing trust with Google Guarantee

Example of Local Service Ads on Google Search
There are plenty of benefits Google’s Local Service Ads offer to local businesses

Local Service Ads often appear with a small green checkmark next to “Google Guaranteed”. This means that a business has gone through screening from Google and earned their endorsement. Users can stand behind the decision of Google to endorse a local business, giving them a big reason to trust in the local business from the very start. And this endorsement goes beyond simply putting a Google badge on the business listing. The Google Guarantee serves to protect unsatisfied customers for jobs booked through Local Service Ads with a lifetime cap for coverage of $2,000.

They boost paid ads and organic traffic

Google’s Local Service Ads appear above Google Ads and organic search results. The reason is simple – their purpose is not to replace the more traditional paid search ads or organic listings for your business. Instead, they serve to boost your credibility in the eyes of online users. While some will find Google’s endorsement of a local business to be enough for them to reach out, others will still need more convincing by exploring competitors or visit your website. And so, even if users don’t convert through Local Service Ads, they might come back to your business later on and hire you.

Visibility on smartphones

Google understands that more than half of online consumers are mobile phone users. That is why all marketers insist on creating websites, content, and campaigns that are responsive to mobile devices. Google’s Local Service Ads are easy to see and use on all devices, including smartphones. Initial search results will show three Local Service Ads on desktops and two on mobile devices. When you select the “See more” option, you get a separate page with a list of both paid and free Local Service business listings for your area.

Presence on Voice Search Responses

Customers might not always be in the best position to open a new tab and type in a search query for a plumber or electrician. Recent voice search data shows that over 20 percent of Google searches come from voice searches. With more than 1 billion devices that use Google Assistant, Local Service Ads are one of the few ways for consumers to find your local business at all times. This offers a deeper pool of potential leads, especially those that rely on last-minute voice searches.

Tailored to adapt to the needs of online users

We’ve already explained that Local Service Ads are responsive to all devices. They are placed above organic search results and local search ads. In addition to all this, you can use Google Assistant to explore the local businesses in your area. You can even get a match based on job type and location, to ensure the best possible match between searchers and local businesses.

Lead management is much easier

Managing leads through Local Service Ads is simpler and comes down to three options:

  • Reply to customers via email or text message.
  • Contact customers directly via the phone number they list.
  • Decline the job request. If you decline the job request, the customers will be notified automatically. You have the option to respond with additional information as to why you declined the job, and you can even recover the request in case something changes.

Upon reviewing and booking your leads, you can track their progress, schedule upcoming jobs, send confirmation emails, and gather customer reviews. All these reports will help you establish your Local Service Ads ROI and profit margin.

You don’t have to stress over keywords or ad campaigns

One of the most challenging aspects of PPC is having to conduct keyword research and plan the campaigns based on that research. With Google’s Local Service Ads, this is not a concern. The program automatically triggers on searches that are in any way relevant to your services. Whether someone types in ‘Handyman’ or ‘Broken TV set’, your business will appear if you are in their area. The format of the ad uses the information from your business listing to appear to searchers.

The option to highlight your local business reviews

These ads include reviews and ratings from previous customers, which can earn you extra points from potential clients. And since Google retired the Review Extension on Local Search Ads, this has become one of the few ways to showcase your ratings on search results. Seeing just how essential online reviews are in the eyes of modern consumers, collecting all those positive reviews from satisfied customers should be an objective for any business.

With Google’s Local Service Ads, reaching out to customers for feedback on your services is simple. You have the option to book appointments with customers through your Service Ads account and ask for reviews. Since you can easily manage all the jobs you booked and completed through Service Ads, you can manage them as you see fit. Just make sure to offer a personalized outreach to your customers when asking for reviews from them.

Getting Started with Google’s Local Service Ads

Man in a suit looking at his phone
Applying for Local Business Ads is a simple step-by-step process.

Step #1: Confirm that you qualify

As we explained previously, Local Service Ads are still limited to a list of industries. So, the first thing you need to do is go through the list and make sure that your business falls under one of the industries available. Of course, there is a faster way, and that is to confirm that your business type and location are eligible directly on Google Home Services.

If your industry or location are not currently eligible, it’s just a temporary setback, since Google is planning on expanding this option in the future. On the other hand, if your business is eligible, you’ll be guided through created an account to manage your Local Service Ads. You’ll need to create a new account since Local Service Ads are managed separately from the ads you create in Google Ads (AdWords) or Google Ads Express

Step #2: Create your business profile

This profile is not like your Google My Business (GMB) account – it is not linked to your local listing on Google. The only thing you need to ensure is that the information you provide is accurate. After all, you are creating an account and accepting to pay for any match leads that you receive through your Local Service Ads. Therefore, you don’t want to waste funds on leads for services that you can’t provide or regions that you don’t operate in.

From your business profile, you can edit your:

  • Weekly budget
  • Business hours
  • Service areas
  • Job types

In addition to all this, you have the afore-mentioned benefit of Local Service Ads to add highlights to your business profile. Terms such as “Family Owned and Operated” or special deals such as “Discount for Seniors Available” are great ways to distinguish yourself from other competitive businesses. Google recommends 2-5 highlights in your business profile, but it is only optional.

Step #3: Add your license and insurance details

You can’t hope to apply for a Google Guarantee badge without the proper certification. You need to provide proof that your business is licensed and insured. That means that your paperwork needs to be up-to-date, alongside your professional licenses and liability insurance details. And if the city, state, or province you operate in requires additional licenses, make sure to submit those as well in order to present your business as compliant to the region you advertise in.

Step #4: Complete a 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.

Make your local business stand out with everything Google offers

Local Service Ads are the source of leads that gives your local business the advantage it needs. So long as your industry and location fit into the criteria and you have all the paperwork required, you can start showing up on local search results pages tomorrow. If you have additional questions, you can always consult with reliable PPC professionals or reach out directly to Google Support.

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