Google local service ads explained

You want to connect with local customers who are in the market for the services you provide. You’ve probably spent some time optimizing your website. You may have paid for Google Ads.

But if you don’t focus on Google Local Service Ads, you’re missing out on the most qualified leads.

What is a Google local service ad? Why should you care?

Read on to find out more.

What are Google Local Service Ads?

We talk to many small business owners and many of them are unfamiliar with Google’s local service listings. So let’s start with the basics.

Google local service ads are ads that appear at the top of the Google search engine results page when a user searches for a local service.

If you know anything about digital marketing, you know that having an ad for your business showing up at the top of Google’s SERP is a huge plus.

Google Local Service ads are not available to everyone. You have to earn a place in it based on your ratings and that’s because Google guarantees the services of the companies whose ads are displayed.

Components of a Google Local Service ad

The first thing you should notice about Google Local Service ads is that they highlight reviews by showing your average rating and how many reviews are available for potential customers to read.

Since nearly 9 in 10 consumers rely on online reviews to make purchasing decisions, it’s impossible to place a dollar value on showing a high rating at the top of the SERP.

When a potential customer clicks on a Google Local Service ad, they see additional information about your business, including:

  • Your business phone number and address
  • The services you provide
  • Your opening hours
  • The areas you serve
  • Business highlights such as your BBB rating or the awards you’ve received

Scrolling down allows users to see your Google My Business reviews.

While people check other review sites like Yelp or Angie’s List, Google My Business reviews are the most trusted and viewed reviews online.

One of the most common questions we hear about Google Ads concerns their effectiveness against organic search. This is a valid question.

There’s no denying that earning a spot at the top of Google’s organic search results is a huge plus.

Research shows that the top three organic listings get the lion’s share of clicks.

Here’s how it breaks down:

  • # 1 list gets 28.5% of clicks
  • File # 2 gets 15% of clicks
  • List # 3 gets 11% of clicks

In total, the first three ads capture 54.5% of all clicks. By the time you arrive at 10e spot, the listing only gets a 2.5% click-through rate. The companies on the second page are even lower – and most searchers never get that far.

You may have read that a lot of people jump straight to the ads that appear at the top of Google – and that’s true, as far as that goes.

However, Google’s local service ads are different. Here’s why.

The first thing to note is that typical Google ads include a title and what essentially amounts to a sales pitch, like this:

In other words, it’s obviously an ad – and just as many of us skip ads when we can, we also prefer to skip online ads when they’re trying to sell us something. We prefer to do our own research.

What differentiates Google Local Service ads from traditional ads is that they don’t look like ads. What they look like is a recommendation from a top notch company. This instantly makes them more valuable and reliable than regular advertisements in the eyes of consumers.

Another way to look at it is that they combine the benefits of advertising – more importantly, a place at the top of the SERP – with the benefits of organic search.

Differences between Google Local Service ads and Google ads?

You probably already know how traditional Google ads work. In order for your ad to show on the SERP, you must bid on the keywords you chose and beat other people (or at least most of them) who bid on the same words.

You must earn your spot for a Google local service listing, but there is no auction process.

The other key differences are:

  • Google ads are pay per click and Google Local Service ads are pay per lead. This means that you only pay when a potential customer contacts you through the ad.
  • Google Local Service ads are guaranteed by Google, which means Google will refund a customer’s money if they are not satisfied.
  • Businesses “rank” for local service listings based on the number of customers they serve and their average rating.

A Google Local Service ad is a seal of approval from Google and is more valuable than a traditional PPC ad.

How to Get a Google Local Service Listing for Your Business

Let’s go through the steps to get a Google Local Service ad.

  1. Verify your eligibility by going to the Google local service home page and clicking the Get started button.
  2. Create your Local Ad Services profile, including your name, the name of your business, the services you provide, and other relevant information. Note that you should only list the services for which you are licensed.
  3. Submit the required documents. Since Google guarantees your work, you must submit copies of your licenses and other documents.
  4. Complete the background check. Google checks your background and those of your employees. Google pays for the background checks and the process is straightforward.
  5. Define your advertising budget. Once you’re confirmed, you’ll need to decide how many leads you’re willing to pay for each week or month and submit it to Google.

Once you complete the steps, your ad will appear against other verified service providers in your area.

If you are eligible for a Google Local Service listing, we highly recommend that you take advantage of their benefits. They provide an easy way to get qualified leads every day.

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