Boosting Local Visibility: A Guide to Local Service Ads for Small Businesses

A Guide to Local Service Ads for Small Businesses

Table Of Contents

How much of the internet do you think Google controls? Would you believe it if we told you it was over 90%? That's right - Google is the undisputed king of search engines, with over 92% of the market share under its belt. This is great news for local businesses looking to get found online. But simply having a website isn't enough these days. To really make your business stand out on Google, you need a strong SEO strategy.

Typically, building search engine optimization (SEO) involves tactics like website optimization, content creation and link building. While many are familiar with pay-per-click options, there's a new competitor in town called Google Local Service Ads, which is gaining popularity among businesses in specific categories. If your business is eligible, Local Service Ads should absolutely be a part of your marketing strategy - it's pay-per-lead advertising at its finest!

What Are Google Local Services Ads?

Local Service Ads (LSAs) by Google redefine how local businesses connect with customers in their vicinity. Unlike conventional ads that span Google's vast advertising network, LSAs strategically position businesses at the top of Google search results, guaranteeing prime visibility and optimal engagement with local audiences.

These ads go beyond the typical business details. Each LSA showcases essential information such as the business name, customer ratings, operating hours, direct messaging, and a convenient click-to-call button. What truly distinguishes LSAs is the coveted "Google Guaranteed" or "Google Screened" badge. This badge serves as a trust mark, assuring consumers that Google has authenticated the business's identity and attests to its credibility, making it a reliable choice for customers in need of local services.

How Do Local Services Ads Operate?

Local Services Ads (LSAs) operate as an efficient and user-friendly way for businesses to connect with potential customers in their local service areas.

User Search: When users search for local services, such as plumbers or electricians, on Google, the Local Services section is prominently featured at the top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

Ad Selection: Users can review the Local Services Ads displayed and choose the one that best fits their needs. The ad format is designed to provide essential information at a glance, such as business name, ratings, and contact details.

Contacting Businesses: When a user decides to contact a business, they can do so directly through the Local Services Ads platform. This could involve a phone call, direct messaging, or other contact options facilitated by the ad.

Business Notification: Upon receiving a customer inquiry or lead, the business owner is promptly notified through the Local Services Ads platform. This notification ensures that businesses can respond promptly to customer inquiries.

Local Service Ads and Pay-Per-Click - What's the Difference?

Pay-Per-Click ads and Local Service Ads (LSAs) might seem similar at first glance. After all, they both aim to boost your online visibility and bring in potential new customers. But when you dig a little deeper, these two advertising options are actually quite different in how they work and what you pay for.

With traditional PPC, you foot the bill every time someone clicks your ad - regardless of whether that click turns into real business for you. LSAs take a different approach, only charging you when a click becomes a high-quality lead that turns into a phone call, message, booking or other tangible engagement with your business. So the costs directly align with the results you get.

PPC focuses on the quantity of clicks while LSAs are all about quality. This shift in billing reflects a smarter, more outcome-focused method of advertising for local businesses looking to attract customers who are ready to take action.

Top Factors Influencing Local Service Ads Ranking

What Makes Local Services Ads a Strategic Choice for Your Business?

Cost-Effective Lead Generation

Advertisers pay per lead, not per click, with Google Local Services Ads. This means you only pay when you get a solid lead. This unique billing model makes sure businesses are charged only for valid leads, reducing the risk of irrelevant clicks. Depending on the job and market, the cost per lead can range from $6 to $30, offering a cost-effective way to acquire potential customers.

Trust Building with Badges

The "Google Guaranteed" or "Google Screened" badge adds a layer of trust and credibility to your business. This tells potential customers that Google has vetted your business, adding a big dose of trustworthiness. Now, who wouldn't feel better hiring a "Google Guaranteed" company?

Effortless Management

Unlike traditional paid search advertising, Local Services Ads do not require any management of ads or keywords. The system automatically triggers ads based on relevant search terms, eliminating the need for ongoing keyword research and ad testing. You just have to keep your business profile up to date.

Expanded Local Reach

Designed to target users based on their geographic location, Local Services Ads are highly effective in reaching local customers actively seeking your services. They provide a powerful tool to connect with potential clients in your immediate service area.

Prime Position on SERP

Local Services Ads secure a top spot on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), appearing prominently above paid search ads and organic listings. But don’t be mistaken - their role is to complement, not replace, traditional search ads or organic local listings. By occupying this prime position, Local Services Ads guarantee increased visibility, giving your business an extra edge in attracting potential customers.

Inclusion in Voice Search Responses

More and more people are using voice assistants like Siri or Alexa to search for local businesses these days. Getting your business listed in Local Services Ads is a great way to get your business included in the voice search responses people see when they ask their voice assistant for recommendations.

Is Your Business Eligible for Local Services Ads?

Google's Local Services Ads are available in some countries and for some types of businesses. Right now, you can run these ads in places like Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the US.

A wide range of service businesses, including appliance repair, carpentry, cleaning, electricians, landscaping, and many others, are eligible for Local Services Ads. But the exact services allowed depend on where you are - for example, legal services may be allowed in the US but not in the UK. To find out if your specific business qualifies, check with Google directly to get the latest on which locations and categories they support.

Even if you seem eligible based on location and category, Google still has to verify and approve you. They want to make sure all businesses listed on the platform meet their standards so customers can find reliable service providers they can trust.

Take the time to review Google's requirements and complete the verification process. Doing that will unlock the potential of Local Services Ads for your business.

What is Included in Google’s Screening and Verification Process?

All businesses participating in Local Services Ads must pass a background screening process conducted by Google. This includes criminal background checks on all business owners and employees who do on-site work. For businesses like financial planners or real estate agents that require professional licensing, Google will verify those licenses are valid and current. The screening aims to give customers peace of mind that the local service providers advertising through Google have been thoroughly vetted.

What is the Google Screened Badge and Who Needs It?

The Google Screened badge is a green check mark that appears next to "Google Screened" in some Local Services Ads. This badge indicates that the advertising business has passed Google's background screening, including verification of professional licenses if required.

Businesses like real estate agents, contractors, electricians, and other service providers who need professional licensing in order to operate can display the Screened badge if they've passed the license verification. The badge provides customers with visual confirmation that the local business has met Google's standards.

How Can Providers Get the Google Guaranteed Badge for Extra Trust?

Local service providers who want the Google Guaranteed badge, which indicates their services are backed by Google, simply need to complete the background screening process. Once Google has verified a provider's credentials and licenses (if applicable), they will be eligible to display the Google Guaranteed badge in their Local Services Ads.

This green checkmark next to the words "Google Guaranteed" tells potential customers that the service provider has passed all necessary checks and their work is guaranteed - if customers are unsatisfied, Google will provide reimbursement. Completing Google's screening shows commitment to quality service.

How to Begin with Google Local Services Ads?

Now that you've got a basic understanding of the essentials of Local Service Ads (LSAs), let's look at the process of setting up your account and optimizing your presence on this dynamic platform.

Check Your Business Eligibility

Checking whether your business qualifies for Local Service Ads or not is an essential first step in taking advantage of this powerful advertising platform. Go to the Google Ads homepage and click "Get Started" in the top right corner. This will take you to the Eligibility page. Google Ads works for many types of businesses, but eligibility depends on your profession and location.

To see if you qualify, carefully fill in the requested eligibility information. Depending on your business, you may be able to select more than one job category to cover your range of services. Once you've entered all the relevant details, click "Check Eligibility". This critical process confirms that your business meets the requirements to use Local Service Ads as an advertising tool.

Create Your Business Profile

When setting up your business profile for Local Services Ads (LSAs), keep in mind that it's different from your Google Business Profile, and both are important for your online presence. Be clear about what services you offer, where you operate, your business hours, and the types of jobs you can do. Edit key details like your budget, service areas and job types.

Set a Budget

Once you have created your business profile, the next important step is to set a budget for your Local Services Ads (LSAs). After updating your profile with information like insurance proof, background checks, and customer reviews, go to the "Set budget" option. Here, you can decide how much money you want to allocate for advertising.

Google provides two options: you can let Google automatically set the bid based on customer demand and your monthly budget, which helps protect your overall budget, or you can manually set a maximum bid if you have a good understanding of the market demand or if you have multiple ads in different industries. This decision-making process allows businesses to customize their advertising approach so that it aligns with their specific goals, budget limitations, and marketing strategies.

Review Your Leads

After setting up and verifying your account, the next important step is reviewing the leads generated through Local Services Ads (LSAs). It's important to understand that these leads indicate interest but do not guarantee confirmed customers. The key to maximizing the potential of each opportunity is to promptly review each lead and take appropriate action.

Responding quickly, whether it's through email, text, or a prompt phone call, can have a significant impact on your success. It's also important to decline any jobs that don't align with your business requirements. By being decisive and taking quick action, you can make the most of each lead. Google facilitates this process by notifying you of new leads and providing convenient access to manage them through your LSA dashboard or mobile app.

This streamlined approach ensures that you stay on top of potential business opportunities and effectively engage with users who express interest in your services.

Prism Digital - Your Key to Business Success Online

Local Services Ads serve as the gateway to success for your business. Once you have a proper understanding of how to leverage these ads effectively, you can seize the opportunities that come your way and propel your business to new heights. However, it can be challenging to set up and optimize these ads optimally. This is where experts can assist you. Whether you need help optimizing your account for Google Local Services Ads or you want to organically place your business in Search Engine Results Pages (SERP), Prism Digital is your trusted partner.

As the best digital marketing agency in Dubai, we have the expertise and experience to help you navigate the complexities of online advertising. At Prism Digital, we understand that every business is unique, and our services are tailored to meet your specific needs. Whether you require assistance with keyword research, content creation, website optimization, or managing your online advertising campaigns, we have the expertise to deliver results that align with your business goals.

By partnering with Prism Digital, you can benefit from our industry knowledge, cutting-edge tools, and data-driven approach to digital marketing. Contact us today to take your business to the next level and unlock its full potential!

Lovetto Nazareth

About The Author: Lovetto Nazareth

Lovetto Nazareth, owner of Prism Digital, brings over two decades of experience in advertising and digital marketing. Renowned for managing countless successful campaigns, he has generated millions in new leads. An avid adventure sports enthusiast and singer-songwriter, follow his diverse pursuits on social media @LovettoNazareth.