"Understanding Google Local Services Ads: Setup Guide Included"

What Are Google Local Services Ads?

Google Local Services Ads are paid advertisements that appear at the top of Google search results, specifically targeting local service businesses. They prominently feature business information, ratings, and a Google Guarantee badge to build trust with potential customers.

Google Local Services Ads are paid advertisements designed for local service businesses, facilitating lead generation through phone calls and message requests. Exclusive to relevant local searches, they prominently feature at the top of Google search results, showcasing essential business details such as name, reviews, ratings, location, contact information, and operating hours.

The Difference Between Local Services Ads and PPC

With Local Services Ads (LSA), payment is based on leads generated, contrasting with pay-per-click (PPC) advertising where payment occurs upon ad clicks. LSA doesn’t involve direct keyword bidding; bids are either set by Google or manually adjusted to specify the maximum bid per lead.

Furthermore, there’s a distinction in ad placement: PPC ads appear above or below Google search results, illustrated as follows:

And on other Google search partner websites as well.

Unlike PPC ads, Local Services Ads consistently appear at the top of Google’s search results, exemplified below:

In contrast to PPC, where keyword research and A/B testing are essential, LSAs automate ad creation and ranking based on factors like review rating, response rate, and proximity. Payment is only required upon direct customer interaction through the ad, such as calls, bookings, or messages.

It’s important to note that LSAs complement rather than replace PPC ads or organic listings, offering a distinct opportunity to engage with customers at various stages of the marketing funnel.

How to Know if Your Business Qualifies for Local Services Ads

Currently, Local Services Ads are available in specific countries, including Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Supported service categories range from appliance repair and cleaning services to landscaping and plumbing, though availability may vary by location.

To utilize Local Services Ads, businesses must undergo Google’s screening and verification process, which includes background checks, business registration, insurance verification, and licensing. This process varies depending on the industry and location. Businesses should consult Google’s business screening and verification requirements for detailed guidelines.

Once eligibility is confirmed, businesses can set up their Local Services account and await approval to start running ads.

How Much Do Google Local Services Ads Cost? 

Local Services Ads operate on a pay-per-lead model, with an average cost of approximately $25 USD per lead. However, costs can vary significantly based on factors such as location, industry, and competition levels.

To obtain a rough estimate of your potential LSA costs, you can utilize Google’s cost tool.

One of the notable advantages of Google Local Services Ads is the control you have over your budget. You can determine your budget based on the desired number of leads per week. Once your monthly limit is reached, your ad will stop appearing unless you decide to increase your budget. This flexibility allows you to manage your advertising expenses effectively and adjust your budget according to your business needs and objectives.

What Is Google Guarantee?

The Google Guarantee is a badge featured in Local Services Ads for home service providers, indicating that Google has thoroughly vetted the business. Only home service businesses that have successfully completed Google’s screening and verification process are eligible for this badge. Displaying the Google Guarantee badge can instill confidence in potential customers, assuring them of the business’s reliability and trustworthiness. Below is an example of what the Google Guarantee badge looks like:

An added advantage of the Google Guarantee badge is that Google may reimburse dissatisfied customers for up to certain limits, depending on the country, with no cost to the business. Here are the lifetime reimbursement limits for select countries:

  • United States: $2,000
  • Canada: CAD $2,000
  • United Kingdom: GBP £1,500
  • Ireland: EUR €1,500
  • Spain: EUR €1,500
  • France: EUR €1,500
  • Italy: EUR €1,500
  • Germany: EUR €1,500
  • Austria: EUR €1,500
  • Belgium: EUR €1,500
  • Switzerland: CHF ₣2,000

Note: Customers must book services through Local Services Ads to be eligible for reimbursement, and Google holds sole discretion over reimbursement decisions. Reimbursement does not cover add-ons or future projects, property damages, dissatisfaction with price or provider responsiveness, or cancellations.

For more information on the reimbursement process, refer to Google’s reimbursement guide.

What Is Google Screened?

Google Screened is an endorsement badge indicating that a professional service business has successfully passed license checks, enhancing trust with potential customers. The free screening process ensures that professional licenses remain current, both upon joining Local Services and continuously thereafter.

The Google Screened badge is applicable to various professional service sectors, including:

  • Law
  • Financial planning
  • Real estate
  • Child care or preschool industries

Below is an example of the Google Screened badge:

Please note that the Google Screened badge is currently exclusive to businesses operating in specific verticals within the United States.

How to Set Up Google Local Services Ads

Setting up Google Local Services Ads is straightforward. Here’s a step-by-step guide

1. Create Your Profile and Check for Eligibility

To initiate the account setup process, visit the Google Local Services Ads page. If you possess a Google Ads account already, select “Sign in.” Alternatively, if you’re new to Google Ads, opt for “Get started.”

After accessing the Google Local Services Ads page and signing in or creating your account, proceed by entering your location details and selecting your job (services) category. Then, click on “Check Eligibility” to determine your eligibility to run Local Services Ads in your area.

Subsequently, construct your profile by inputting all pertinent business information, encompassing your business name, address, website, service areas, service types, business hours, and additional relevant details. While some fields may be optional, providing comprehensive information enhances your likelihood of approval by Google.

In the last step, you’ll encounter a generic preview of your ad, showcasing how it will be displayed in Local Services Ads. Please note that you won’t be able to make any edits at this stage; it’s purely a preview of the appearance of your ad in the Local Services Ads format.

2. Prove Your Business Is Trustworthy

In the subsequent step, you’ll have the opportunity to affirm to Google that your business is trustworthy.

Depending on your location and service category, the amount of information requested may vary. For instance, Google might require details such as your business license or proof of insurance.

If prompted, ensure to complete those sections with thorough detail. Additionally, with the provided information, Google will automatically initiate the process of seeking reviews on your Google Business Profile. It’s essential to note that your review score and the quantity of reviews significantly influence how Google ranks your business.

If you haven’t accumulated customer reviews yet, click on See link options.

You can utilize these links to solicit reviews from past or present customers. Any review received through these links will be displayed as verified reviews. Following this, you’ll proceed to select your preferred bidding type and set your weekly budget. You have the option to either select one of Google’s suggested budgets or define your own.

The last step involves adding your billing information.

If you already have a Google Ads account, Local Services can utilize your existing payment information. Otherwise, proceed to fill in this section with your billing details. Once completed, you’re all set!

3. Wait for Approval

The duration of Google’s screening and verification process varies, ranging from a few days to several weeks. The timeframe is influenced by factors such as your business type and the location of operation, including the state, province, and country. To understand the specific requirements for completing the screening and verification process, refer to Google’s requirements page. On this page, scroll down to select your country and business category.

How to Manage Your Local Services Ads

Once your account is approved, you’ll find it listed in the “Live Accounts” section within your dashboard. However, Google Service Ads don’t commence automatically. To initiate your ad campaign, click on your “Account name” and select “Edit Profile.” Subsequently, you’ll encounter a switch button labeled “Your ad is paused.” Simply toggle it on to launch your Local Services Ads.

Manage Your Account

After activating your ads, navigate to the bottom of the page to access and modify your account details. In the “Budget” section, you’ll find information regarding your bidding mode, weekly budget, and leads.

To adjust your budget, simply click on the pencil icon located at the top right corner of the “Budget” section. From there, you can increase or decrease your budget as needed.

In the “Job types” section, you’ll find a list of all the services you offer. If you add or remove services at any point, make sure to adjust them here accordingly.

Below that, you ll encounter two sections that are not part of the approval process. The first one is Photos.

Below that, you’ll find two sections unrelated to the approval process. The first one is “Photos.” Upload high-quality images showcasing your team, work, or equipment, as they provide potential customers with an insight into your business, helping to establish trust and reputation. Refer to the Local Services Ads photo guidelines for more details.

The second section is “Message Leads,” located under “Settings.”

Enable this option to allow leads to contact you via message and email, in addition to calls. Messages are priced at 50% of the cost of a phone lead. Please note that messaging is currently only available in the U.S. and Canada.

Afterwards, scroll down further to confirm your service areas and business hours.

Manage Your Leads

Leads represent individuals who have expressed interest but have not yet become customers. Promptly following up with leads increases the likelihood of converting them into customers. To view and manage your leads, navigate to the “Leads” section in the left-hand column.

Please note that you can also manage your leads using the Local Services app, available on Android and iOS platforms. Within this dashboard, you can view your new, active, booked, and completed leads. Each lead is accompanied by details such as customer information, job type, location, lead type, and last activity.

Clicking on a lead provides a summary, including status, lead type, business category, and sections for adding additional information. In regions like the U.S. and Canada, you can even listen to call recordings.

After reviewing your leads, you can take the following actions:

  • Reply by sending an email or text message (U.S. and Canada only)
  • Call the lead using the provided phone number
  • Decline the request

Once you respond to a lead, its status changes to “Active,” and you can find it in the “Active” section of the dashboard. After booking a job, mark the lead as “booked” to track upcoming jobs.

This feature facilitates scheduling upcoming appointments, sending confirmation emails, and collecting customer reviews.

Manage Your Reports

To review your budget and lead performance, navigate to the “Reports” section.

In the “Reports” section, you’ll find an overview of your budget, including details on how many leads you’ve been charged for, as well as any appointments booked.

Scrolling down, you’ll find detailed information about your leads, such as phone number, name, lead type, and business category. This data enables you to assess the quality of incoming leads and identify any adjustments needed to improve results.

Moreover, since this data originates directly from the ad platform, it provides insights that aren’t available in regular Google Ads campaigns. You can further refine your analysis by using the drop-down menus to adjust the “charge status” and “lead status,” allowing you to access more granular information.

Manage Your Reviews

Your star rating and the number of reviews significantly influence how Google ranks your business within Local Services Ads. Businesses with higher ratings and more reviews tend to stand out and secure more jobs. Therefore, one of the most crucial aspects of managing your Local Services Ads is generating reviews and following up on them.

To begin, navigate to the “Reviews” section in the left-hand column. Here, you’ll find an overview of the reviews you’ve received, along with a list of completed jobs for your customers. Under the “Action” column, click on “Ask for review” to request customers to leave a review on Google for your business. Customers are more inclined to leave a review when the request comes directly from you, so don’t hesitate to reach out and ask them directly.

Additionally, it’s essential to respond to every review, demonstrating to customers that you value their business and feedback. However, note that you can’t respond to reviews directly from your Local Services Ads account; you’ll need to do so on your Google Business Profile or via a tool like Sem.co Listing Management.

You’ll have access to all your reviews in one centralized location, allowing you to respond promptly and effectively, thereby enhancing your business’s online credibility and trustworthiness.

Improve Your Local Services Ads Performance

Despite Google Local Services Ads consistently appearing at the top of Google’s search results, there’s limited space available. On desktop, up to three Local Services Ads may appear, while on mobile, only two are displayed. This underscores the importance of optimizing your profile extensively to achieve higher rankings.

Google ranks Local Services Ads based on several factors, including your maximum bid amount per lead, proximity to the searcher’s location, responsiveness to customer inquiries, and your review rating and number of reviews. It’s crucial to experiment with your budget to identify the optimal range where you feel comfortable paying for incoming leads.

Moreover, paying close attention to your reviews is essential. Aim to accumulate as many reviews as possible and ensure timely responses to each one. This proactive approach can significantly enhance your business’s online visibility and reputation.