Recently, Google has rebranded their Home Services Ads as Google Local Services Ads (LSA). Our PPC team has been working with a number of our clients to set up and monitor their Local Services Ads, and we’ve learned quite a bit about this new service offering. Armed with that info, we wanted to let you in on everything we know.
In a nutshell, you need to know (and we’ll gladly tell you):
- How Local Services Ads show up in search results
- How they look on desktop and mobile sites
- The Google Guarantee and how to qualify
- How the ads rank
- How you pay for them
- How to get involved
- Where Local Services Ads are available
To learn more background about Local Services Ads, formerly known as Home Service Ads, check out our previous blog post or contact us now!
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How Do Google Local Services Ads Show Up in Search Results?
The number one question on everybody’s mind is “How do Local Services Ads work and actually show up in search results?”
Here’s how it works: advertisers choose from a list of services for their industry. When a person’s search matches criteria for those services, your ad will be eligible to show. Unlike AdWords, because you are selecting categories and not specific keywords, you can’t pick exactly what your ads will and won’t show for. So, your ads could show for some irrelevant searches, but this is less of an issue because you aren’t paying by the click.
When they do show, this is how they look on desktop and mobile
Google has recently updated the landing page when you click a desktop ad so it goes to a page for that company where you can verify the job type and location, rather than a page including a bunch of competitors.
On mobile, clicking on an ad will take you to a profile page just for that company.
You’ll notice that these ads don’t contain links to websites and only have phone numbers as a form of communication. Previously, there was also the option on desktop to send a message request to a company and a few of their competitors. Many of our clients did not like that feature because it was similar to past unsuccessful lead generation platforms, so Google may have removed that due to negative feedback. They also could still be testing that function. As recently as a couple days ago, we were still seeing the message request option for some industries.
Old ads with message request button:
New ads with phone number only:
As you probably have noticed, the top advertisers have a “Google guaranteed” badge next to their name. This means that Google backs the services performed by this company, with some restrictions (full details here).
In order to qualify for this:
- Your technicians must pass a background check performed by Google’s provider, which is actually a requirement for any Local Services company. The background check is free, for now at least.
- You must meet licensing and insurance requirements. These are also required by some, but not all, industries to participate in Local Services.
- Even if you are Google guaranteed, your badge may not always show, likely due to ranking factors.
- You are required to notify the background check company of any new employees or legal issues that may affect your eligibility, and you will be required to recertify for Local Services every 3 months.
- The Google guaranteed badge is not to be used on your website/marketing or mentioned in any context outside of Google Local Services.
How Do Ads Rank?
According to Google, some of the factors that determine how your ads rank include:
- Proximity to user
- Google My Business rating and number of reviews
- Responsiveness to the people that contact you through these ads
- Major or multiple complaints from customers
Additionally, Google controls when your ads show and will try to spread out how many leads you’re getting throughout the day, so they may lower your rank to keep you from getting leads all at once.
How Do I Pay For Google’s New Local Services Ads?
Unlike AdWords, you don’t get charged per click for these ads. You pay per “lead,” which Google considers when:
- You receive a text message or email from the customer.
- You receive a voicemail from the customer.
- You answer a phone call and speak with the customer.
- You receive a missed call (without a voicemail), and you return the customer’s message with a text message, email or call where you either speak with the customer or leave a voicemail. (You will not be charged for missed calls without a message that are unreturned, and you can dispute any returned calls that do not fit the lead criteria.)
Google does attempt to filter any contacts that aren’t valid leads and you are able to dispute and request a credit for situations like if the service isn’t in your profile, the location isn’t in your profile, wrong numbers, solicitation, automated recordings, and no way provided to contact the customer. You can find the full details here.
How much you pay per lead is determined by your industry and location. The range we’ve seen goes from less than $10 to under $30 with many HVAC and Plumbing clients in the mid-$20s.
Setting Up and Managing Local Service Ads
Local Service Ads are currently only available for certain industries in certain markets. The ones officially listed by Google are:
- Garage door services
- Arizona: Phoenix
- California: Los Angeles, Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose
- Florida: Miami
- Georgia: Atlanta
- Illinois: Chicago
- Massachusetts: Boston
- Michigan: Detroit
- New York: New York
- Pennsylvania: Philadelphia
- Texas: Dallas
- Washington: Seattle
- Washington, D.C.
Select cities may have additional job types.
Google has also announced that they will be increasing the number of markets available from these 17 to 30 by the end of the year, and we will update you when this happens.
To apply (or express interest if your market isn’t available yet) either go to the Local Services website, or contact a Google Premier Partner agency (like Blue Corona!) to help you apply directly with Google.
Want to Win at Google Local Services Ads? We Have Some Tips
It is important that you fill out your application accurately. Google uses the phone number and company intro you provide in your actual ad, and currently there is no way for you to edit that yourself. That means if you want to use a tracked phone line, submit that number during the process. Also, make sure your location and services are correct because those are used to determine invalid leads.
You can manage your ads through the website or using Google’s app. There you can turn your ads on and off, adjust some targeting settings, receive and respond to leads, and request reviews (if you have the customer’s email address). You also have access to phone call recordings in the system.
Regarding support from Google, during their testing phase, Local Services Ads were run for the most part as a separate entity from AdWords, but now AdWords support is handling their issues as well. In our experience, the support team is not fully up to speed on everything Local Services-related, and there are changes still being made to the platform itself, so some patience may be required to get everything set up and running.
To learn more about Local Services Ads from a Google Premier Partners agency, contact our experts today!