How to get started with Google Local Services Ads
Connect with people who search on Google for the services you offer
Google Local Services Ads are a great feature to add on top of your existing local SEO and SEA strategies. The service is still only available in a selection of countries and only a few categories of services are eligible. But we expect this to be expanded soon. If you dive into it, you will notice you can get far lower CPAs with a minimum of effort.
In this blogpost, we will guide you through the initial set-up. Discover what prerequisites you need and what steps you have to go through to get the Google Guarantee badge.
What are Google Local Services Ads?
Local Services Ads help you connect with people who search on Google for the services you offer. Your ads will show up for customers in your area, and you only pay if a customer contacts you directly through the ad. You might think this isn’t so much different from regular Text Ads showing up in the SERP. However, there are some major differences. For starter’s: Local Services Ads will be shown at the very top of the page, even above the regular paid search ads. This ad format will display the business phone number, star rating, reviews and opening hours.
They also work with a pay-per-lead model. This also sets them apart from the traditional ad formats where you always pay per click, even with CPA bidding strategies. Contrary to ‘regular’ Google Ads, there is no hassle with writing ad copy, keyword lists or ad quality to determine the position of LSAs. Instead, the rank is based on positive reviews and proximity to the searcher. LSAs can be displayed on desktop, mobile devices, tablets and through voice search.
How do I know if I can use Local Services Ads?
As we already said: at the time of writing, Google Local Services Ads are only available in a selection of countries and for specific categories. Right now, you can use them in the following countries:
- United Kingdom
- United States
That’s still pretty limited so if you are advertising in one of those countries, the next thing you have to check is if your business belongs to one of the eligible service categories. This list will differ from country to country. It will also be expanded in the future. Some categories are very recurrent. These are typical verticals like locksmiths, roofers, cleaning companies, electricians etc…
If you can tick all the necessary boxes you are ready to get started. Note that Local Services Ads do not reside under your standard Google Ads MCC but are managed in a fully stand-alone admin panel. Now log in with your manager user name and password.
Once you’ve logged in, you will be greeted with a blank panel so let’s populate it! The first thing you will do now is creating an account. This process is very straightforward. Start by choosing if you want to advertise for a new advertiser or for an existing Google Ads account. Fill out all the required fields with the information required. Also select the country where you want to advertise.
Once you have created an account, it is time to complete your profile. This isn’t too difficult either but if you are doing this for a customer, make sure you have all the necessary information.
Set up your service area
This is very similar as to a regular Google Ads campaign set-up. Simply choose the regions to include. A small difference is that these aren’t the regions where you want your add to appear but the regions where you are offering your services! Remember we are dealing with locality here.
Set up your service types
Here you can go into detail and select specific services you are offering. The options here depend on you service category you selected in the initial set-up of your account.
Indicate the hours when you are available.
The final step is a generic preview of your ad how it will be displayed:
Completing the set-up
Now that you’ve walked through all the previous steps, it is time to tell Google that you really are a trustworthy business. That way you can try to get to a 100% score for the Google Guarantee Badge which will be displayed along with your LSA. Note you don’t have to get a perfect score for your LSA to appear in the SERP. But if the information is available, don’t hesitate to add it.
Proof of insurance
Google will ask for a proof of insurance that indicates the amount of liability insurance and the expiration date. Again: this can be different from country to country and from service category to service category
This simply the business registration number at the Chamber of Commerce and your VAT Number. Verification can take up two to three days.
Google will automatically start looking for reviews on your Google My Business account. You can also ask for verified reviews with a special link
Bidding and budget
Finally, it’s time to determine your budget and your bidding strategy. You can choose to maximise leads or to set a fixed amount per lead. Finally, set your weekly budget.
Normally, there isn’t anything to modify here. It will use the information from your manager account from Google Ads.
And that’s it! As you can see the workflow is minimal compared to research, set-up and roll-out of classic Google Ads campaign. After all your information has been verified, your Local Services Ads will start serving. Obviously, you want to stay on top of this to see how they are performing.
Following up on your LSAs
Go back to the MCC Onboarding panel and you will see a listing of all your accounts.
For each account you can see the status of different requirements, if they are applicable or not and whether you passed them or not. Now select an account so you can dive into it.
This needs some more explanation. As you know, a lead is something totally different than a customer. You want a lead to become a customer but to get to this, follow-up is key.
So if you select a lead in the overview, you get a detailed look. In this example it was a phone call and from here you can either book him or archive him. Note that a phone call is only considered a lead from a duration of two minutes. You can add additional information too if you like. This allows you to follow up on potential customers easily.
This will give you an overview of leads you received and the CPA you paid per lead.
The last pane is actually one of the most important since it’s a pivotal element where Local Services Ads revolve around. Getting those high quality reviews is paramount since this determines if your LSA will display or not, along with the proximity of the person who conducts the search.
Local Sercices Ads are a great way to amplify your local SEO strategies. They work in conjunction with Google My Business and are very accessible since they don’t require extensive research and set-up. The fact that they use a CPA model instead of a CPC model is the icing on the cake. It does require some paperwork but this is definitely wort the effort since it can get you the Guaranteed Badge which will give potential customers even more trust in your business.
LSAs are focussed on two things: user proximity and customer reviews. So follow up on those potential customers, get in a conversation with them, deliver first-class service and invite them to submit a review. This will add up over time so the confidence in your business will grow and the visibility of your Local Services Ads will improve even more.