Service-based businesses can use Google’s local service ads to increase visibility and drive sales in a specific geographic area. Local service ads differ from other Google ads in that they show up above all other results on search engine result pages, and you pay per lead, not click. Additionally, ads display in order of region, relevance, and reviews. Find out whether local service ads can generate leads for your business and learn how to set them up.
Reasons to Use Local Service Ads
Not all regions in the United States show local service ads in search results, so before you set up any ads, make sure your business serves one of the metro areas that has coverage. Local service ads are also limited to specific services—but the list has been extended to 67 services, including real estate agents, lawyers, housecleaning services, and lawn care, among others.
There are several benefits of using local service ads instead of (or in conjunction with) Google Ads and other local advertising options. Some of these include being better positioned in online search results, gaining improved consumer trust with a green Google check mark, and the low setup and account maintenance needed to identify and advertise for appropriate search terms.
Rise in the SERPs
When someone searches for something on Google, they are taken to a set of search engine results pages (SERPs). SERPs often include a mix of regular Google ads and local service ads, local results (which are often mapped), and organic search results.
Local service ads are placed at the top of all of the other types of results, including regular Google ads. This gives your business a true advantage since the top results generally receive the most clicks.
Improve Consumer Trust With Google Guarantee
Something else you may notice with local service ads by Google is the little green check mark in ad results indicating some type of Google verification, which inspires trust. The green check mark with the term “GOOGLE GUARANTEED” or “GOOGLE SCREENED” may show at the top of the three sponsored service ads.
The Google guarantee or screening verification benefits both your business and consumers. For example, if a customer books your service through Google Local Services, they might be able to get their money back if they aren’t happy with the service. This type of satisfaction guarantee could make them more likely to use your business vs one of your competitors.
For service-based businesses, the Google Guarantee ensures you get qualified leads—not just clicks. Ads also link to reviews your business may have on its Google My Business profile and your customer star rating (which can further instill trust), as well as your general location, which can appeal to consumers wanting to buy local.
Pay per Lead With Local Service Ads
Unlike regular search ads, with Google’s local service ads you don’t pay per click—you pay per lead. For your ad to qualify for the Google Guarantee, you have to provide proof of liability insurance or agree to a background check. Doing so not only increases trust of your brand, it also increases the odds that a customer chooses your service over those of competitors that aren’t advertising through Google’s service ads.
Customers book your services through Google Services, which makes it possible for Google to track the leads generated by your ad. This not only ensures you get higher quality leads, it will also likely reduce your overall cost for advertising as you won’t be paying for random clicks from people who might just be curious about your business and want to see your website.
Set Specific Search Terms for Leads
Setting up and using local service ads by Google requires low maintenance on your part. For example, unlike with regular Google ads, you don’t need to select target specific keywords to show up in specific SERPs. All you have to do is indicate which services your business provides within its service category.
For example, if you run a childcare business, you might see options including preschool programs, after-school care, and full-time daycare. Check the ones that apply and your local service ad will show up when a search targets those types of services in your region.
How to Set Up Local Service Ads by Google in 6 Steps
Getting started with local service ads by Google is easy, and you can set up a local service ad in only six steps. You’ll first make sure you’re eligible to use the service and then add your business information, region, the services your business offers, and your business hours.
Before publishing, you will have a chance to preview your ad. Make sure you take time to review your ad and make any changes before it goes live. Google will also verify everything before your ad goes live, and then leads should roll in.
Pro tip: Before publishing local service ads for your business, search for businesses or services like yours to see what type of ads your competitors are running. Use what you learn to improve and optimize your own ads to maximize your return on investment (ROI).
Use the Google Services budget calculator to see how much your company’s local service ads will cost. Enter your ZIP code, how many leads you want per month, and the industry in which you work. The calculator will display a monthly advertising cost estimate that takes into account your service area, demand, and competition for your industry.
If you’d prefer to leave advertising to the professionals, you can work with Hibu, a marketing company that focuses efforts on your local area. In addition to ads, Hibu can help with search engine optimization (SEO), business listings, and social media.
Here are the six steps to set up local service ads by Google:
1. Check Your Eligibility to Use Local Service Ads
The first step to get started with Google’s local service ads is to make sure your business is eligible. To determine eligibility, add your country, state (if in the U.S.), and service area ZIP code(s). Choose your business or service category, and then click “Check Eligibility.”
Not all services or regions are supported. Most metro areas in the United States are available, but you may find that smaller towns or less-populated areas aren’t available. Likewise, Google local service ads support many services, but not all. Some of the services not covered include seamstresses and tailors, massage therapists, and hair stylists.
2. Add Your Business Details
On the next screen, add your business details, such as your business’ name, phone number, your first and last name, number of people working at your business, and the year it was founded. Some of these details are used by Google to confirm your company’s legitimacy, others tell consumers more about your organization, like how long you’ve been in business.
3. Choose Your Service Area Based on ZIP Codes
To add the area you serve, enter the ZIP codes or names of cities your business serves. This can be as narrow as a single city or you can cast a wider net to include cities all around your business.
The map will highlight your chosen service area in red. To remove any areas, just delete a ZIP code or city from the list. This ensures that your ads will only be displayed to people in your service area, so you don’t end up paying for leads outside of the region your business serves.
4. Pick the Services Your Business Offers for Your Local Service Ads
Next you’ll choose the specific services that make the most sense for your business. It can be tempting to choose all, so your ad shows up for multiple different searches, but you want to be careful with that. If you add services that don’t quite line up with what your business offers, you could end up paying for low-quality leads. Stick to the services your business can and most wants to fulfill.
In the yellow box, check the box that gives Google permission to request proof of applicable licenses or registration. Google may also contact you for permission to run a background check. This is all necessary to help Google provide that guarantee and vouch for your business being legitimate.
5. Set Your Business Days & Hours of Operation
Whether you have a brick-and-mortar business or you provide in-home services, you should provide the hours you or your employees are available to customers. There is a 24-hour option, but be sure you choose accurate hours of operation to ensure you aren’t making a false promise to customers about when they can reach you or obtain services.
6. Verify Information & Preview Your Local Services Ad
On the final screen, you’ll see a preview of what your local services ad will look like. It’s possible that Google will change a few things to make your ad perform better, but your content won’t change. You should see your business name, service area, phone number, the Google guaranteed or Google screened check mark, your Google My Business star rating, and a link to your reviews.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are local service ads worth it?
For many businesses, Google’s local service ads are definitely worth the time and money. The quality of leads generated from a local service ad will likely be higher than those produced by a typical digital display ad or regular Google pay-per-click (PPC) ad.
The cost will also probably be higher per lead. But if you budget accordingly and are able to convert the influx of qualified leads, you should be able to manage the expense easily. Alternatively, you might want to learn more about local SEO and how to use it to improve your online visibility without ads.
Where do local service ads appear?
Local service ads by Google appear at the very top of SERPs. They’re placed above regular Google ads, organic search results, and Google My Business or mapped listings. This gives you a huge advantage in terms of visibility and increases the likelihood of your business getting a quality lead. Additionally, there are many other local advertising ideas you can use to grow your small business effectively.
What’s the difference between Google ads & Google local services?
Google ads and local service ads are each a form of search engine marketing (SEM), which can be a cost-effective way to generate high-quality leads for your small business. The main difference is that Google Local Service Ads are designed specifically for generating local leads, where advertisers only pay for leads (e.g., when a user books a service). With Google Ads, geographic targeting is possible, but unlike Google Local Service Ads, advertisers pay per click, rather than per lead. For this reason, Google Ads are less expensive, but Local Service Ads can be a more effective use of ad spend for particular businesses.
Using Google’s local service ads could increase your leads significantly and give you more visibility and trust with your target audience. Plus, while the cost is higher, it returns high-quality leads—not just clicks, thereby increasing the odds of your business gaining new customers.
However, learning how to use local service ads effectively involves a degree of trial and error. Avoid wasting ad spend and leave it to the ad experts at Hibu. With no management fee, 100% of your budget goes toward ad spend, making it a great value, while saving you time and putting your ads in the hands of the pros.
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