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Google Local Services

Everything You Need to Know About Google Local Services Ads

Google Local Services

Example of Google Local Services Ads

With Google Local Services Ads now available in most of the country–even in my tiny market of Christiansburg, VA–I thought it was about time I did a podcast episode explaining what these ads are, how they work, and why I think every eligible business needs to participate in the program right away.

I highly recommend listening to the episode using the embedded player below, but if you just want the “Cliff’s Notes” version, here are some bullet points giving you a quick overview of Google Local Services Ads.

What are Google Local Service Ads?

  • Google’s version of pay-per-lead ads, comparable to Home Advisor
  • Appear at very top of search engine results page for home services-related searches
  • Three ads appear on the page, the rest appear after clicking a “more pros in XYZ city” link under the ads
  • Ads feature basic information about the business, photos provided by the business reviews, and contact phone number.
  • Two types of listings—paid & free. Paid listings are “Google Guaranteed”, free are not.

How do the ads work?

  • Ads appear when people search using keywords Google deems relevant for the category in question.
  • People click on the ads to get some basic info about the company and see reviews.
  • If they want to contact the company, they can call the phone number listed (which is provided by Google).
  • The call is recorded by Google and the recording is provided to the business via the back end of your portal.
  • The business can challenge the lead if the call is not valid.
  • If the call is valid, the business pays for the lead (rates based on the industry).
  • If you close a deal with the lead, you mark the deal as “closed” in your portal.
  • Once the job is complete, you send a message to the customer through the portal asking for a review, which is then considered a “verified review”.
  • You can set a budget for how much you want to spend on the ads, but minimum of $50 per week.
  • You can pause the ads at any time, but once paused your ad will appear without the “Google Guaranteed” badge, and will be much less likely to appear in the top three ads on the SERP.

Why should every local services business in an eligible category participate in this program?

  • There is no cost to apply and once in the program you can pause your ads and not pay anything for the leads.
  • Once in the program, there is no complicated management process like there is for Adwords (split testing ads, keyword research, creating ad groups, dynamic ads, landing pages, etc.)
  • If you are not in the program, your organic listings in search results—including your Google My Business listing in the 3-pack—will all get fewer clicks once these ads are introduced to your market.
  • In short, once your local area is in this program (and most areas now are), you will either get less clicks (for those not participating) or you will get more clicks (for those participating).  There is no “middle option” where you can elect not to participate but also not be negatively affected.