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What are Google Local Service Ads (LSAs) and How do they Work?

As industry pros here at IdeaZone, we know that beyond all the apps, marketing tools and jargon is a business that just wants to reach its customers. Google Local Services Ads (LSAs) have been generating a lot of positive buzz because they do just that.

Meant to add another layer to your marketing roster, Local Services Ads allow the consumer to book or contact your company directly through the LSA company homepage (see below). Your LSA will show your business as a local option for customers searching for the exact services you offer.­

example of LSA local company landing page

 

Imagine showing up at the top of your customer’s search results. Not because of an elaborate keyword selection, but because you’re a trusted company located close to home. This is the premise behind LSAs.

How Do Google LSA’s Work?

First, you need to apply to Google to be eligible for Google Local Search Ads (and the vetting process is fairly in-depth…more on that later).

Because these ads aren’t dependent on keywords, it makes ad setup super simple as it’s just based on categories. For your ad to show up, all your potential customer needs to do is google your service while being in proximity of your business (or service area).

Your LSA is selected by business category. If your business is near the customer, your ad will be eligible to show in the search results. Rankings (ie. what position in the list your business appears) are based on company response time, reviews and the Google badge for Google Guaranteed and Google Screened listings (more on this later).

A search for “electrician victoria bc” immediately pulls up a carousel of “Google Guaranteed” electrical companies in Victoria BC who have been vetted for the Local Services Ads program.

 

google local services ads for electrician in victoria bc

 

These are shown at the top of Google search results as well as in audio search results from devices like Google Home or Google Assistant.

Searchers can instantly see (or hear!) the web address, contact number, tagline, and a short writeup on services offered. In five seconds, they could be on the phone, booking an appointment with your company. Just like that, your lead has come to you.

Google “Screened” and “Google Guaranteed”

There are two categories for consumer protection— called “Google Screened” and “Google Guaranteed.” Both require a thorough screening including a civic and criminal background check and license/insurance verification. Employee background checks are also conducted, free of cost.

Google Guaranteed

With so many rumours about businesses buying or otherwise manipulating their way to positive reviews, it can be easy for a customer to have trust issues. This is why Google offers a “Google Guaranteed” business option. If a customer is unhappy with the services provided, Google will start a claim, contact the business and work with them to find a resolution. Essentially, it’s a money-back guarantee.

If a customer is unsatisfied with a company’s services (who they found by clicking on an LSA), Google can refund the amount paid as shown on the invoice. It covers up to $2,000 once the claim between the business and customer has been thoroughly investigated. With Google Guaranteed, consumers are much more likely to proceed with the work since they know that Google has vetted the business and are guaranteeing the results.

Customers can easily see whether a business is “Google Guaranteed” with a green checkmark badge. This shows under the business name or is verbally confirmed via audio searches on Google Home or Google Assistant (the Google Guaranteed designation is required for Google Assistant).

google guaranteed local services ads

This service is currently available for limited types of businesses. In Canada, these include the following:

  • Appliance repair services
  • Carpet cleaning services
  • Cleaning services
  • Electricians
  • Garage door services
  • HVAC (heating or air conditioning)
  • Junk removal services
  • Lawn care services
  • Locksmiths
  • Movers
  • Pest control services
  • Plumbers
  • Roofers
  • Tree services
  • Water damage services
  • Window cleaning services
  • Window repair services


Google Screened

Google Screened is currently only available to certain verticals in the U.S.

Businesses that are Google Screened must also pass Google’s extensive background checks. This means they’ll still appear at the top of the search results page based on business category, reputation and location. Combined with the green check mark by the company name, this builds trust among businesses and customers.

The main difference is the there is no money-back guarantee for customers and there is no monthly fee ($50) for the business. Google Screened is currently available for professionals in the fields of law, finance and real estate in San Diego, CA and Houston, TX. Like “Google Guaranteed,” it’s likely to be offered in more verticals and areas as the program grows.

How Much Do Google LSAs Cost?

Sounds great, but how much does it cost? You only pay per lead if a customer contacts you directly through the ad or if the call lasts two minutes or longer. Lead costs vary depending on the location and business type. Here are some examples of the cost per lead for some common services here in Victoria, BC.

  • HVAC ($24/lead)
  • Locksmith, plumber ($28/lead)
  • Garage door, electrician ($18/lead)
  • Housecleaner, carpet cleaning ($26/lead)
  • Pest control, tree services, junk removal, window cleaning ($13/lead)
  • Appliance repair, lawn care, moving services, roofing ($22/lead)
  • Window repair, water damage restoration, carpenter, countertops, fencing, flooring, foundations, landscaper, siding. ($22/lead)

When you set up your own Google LSA, you’ll know exactly how much your leads run at, depending on your industry and location.

What are the top 5 Benefits of Google Local Service Ads?

To the point, here are the top 5 (of many) reasons to get yourself a Google LSA account today:

  1. Cost-effective – You’re only charged for leads when the customer contacts you and a job is booked or the call lasts 2 minutes or longer.
  1. Calls route through a Google forwarding number – When you receive a call from your ad, you’ll hear “Call from Google.” This way you know how well your ad is working. Google also notifies customers that the call will be recorded for quality and research purposes.
  1. LSAs build trust – They will only show if the business has been vetted by Google. This means it has positive reviews and feedback from real customers. It also means that it’s passed a stringent background check for the owner and all employees.
  1. Easy on the budget – For local businesses who may not have the budget for Google Ads, this makes it easy to stay well within your marketing budget. Incidentally, we have an awesome post for 33 FREE marketing apps and tools.
  1. You get to enjoy high-quality leads – Tired of tire kickers? Well, these are people who specifically search for your services are ready to book their appointment. They’ll be glad that your ad takes the guesswork out of deciding who to hire.

How to Get Started Using Google Local Service Ads

Ready to get started? It’s simple to DIY, but you can also have an expert Google rep help you out. LSA’s are designed to be as user-friendly as possible – from the initial application to fine-tuning your selections via dashboard or mobile app.

To see if your business is eligible, enter your location information into the signup page here. If your business type qualifies, you’ll be directed to fill in your profile. This includes basic information like business name, year founded, total number of workers and more.

As you fill in your profile, you’ll be directed to the following pages:

  • Business details
  • Service area
  • Service types
  • Work hours
  • Preview the ad

When it’s done, your ad will feature the most important highlights. This includes reviews from real customers, the number of reviews, whether you’re Google Guaranteed or Google Screened (CA and TX only), any photos, business hours and more.

The complete list from Google:

Business name The name of your business.
Phone number A tracking number will be displayed. Calls to this number will be forwarded to your business phone number.
Location Your business city may be displayed. This is either the address of your business, or the city where you live or work. In some cases, we may show the cities you service instead.
Reviews Your reviews include reviews from Google My Business as well as reviews collected directly through Local Services Ads. Partner affiliate listings will include reviews provided to us by the partner platform.  All ads will show an average star rating.
Number of reviews The number of your reviews you’ve received may be displayed in parentheses next to your average star rating.
Business hours The hours that your business is open.
Google Guarantee or Google Screened The Google Guarantee badge or Google Screened badge  shows customers they can trust your business.
Photos Photos to show customers your business and your work. These will show in your profile when available.
Business bio Highlights about the important aspects of your business, such as whether you are locally owned or offer free estimates.

 

In the Google LSA dashboard or mobile app, you can also customize your LSA. Just a few of the options available:

  • When you want to run your ad (always on, only during business hours, custom hours)
  • Manage and respond to ads
  • View reports
  • Sort through leads
  • View and edit budget information
  • Update your business details

Google Local Services Ads present so many excellent options. We’re really looking forward to seeing the difference it makes with bringing customers to local businesses just like yours.

Do you have questions about LSAs, Google and Facebook Ads, SEO strategies, or do you need a new site made from scratch? Based out of Victoria, BC, Canada, we’ve been building sites, developing marketing plans and creating eye-catching graphics for over 20 years. Browse our case studies and portfolio then contact us or call us toll free at 1-844-651-9333. We look forward to designing the perfect digital marketing solution for your business.