Introduced in July 2020 for the legal vertical, Local Service Ads (LSAs) are a cost-effective way to drive leads. Google LSAs are unlike the more commonly known ad platform, Pay-Per-Click (PPC), as they are pay-per-lead (PPL) versus per-click and they differ in format as well.
The Local Service Ads platform is structured to get the user to call versus going to the business’ website. LSAs are highly visible at the top of Page 1 of search, pulling information from your Google Business Profile (GBP) including the firm’s name, aggregate star rating, number of reviews and number of years the firm has been in business at that location.
Of the LSA call leads that a firm receives, Google will only charge for those over 30 seconds. Calls can also be disputed with Google for a variety of reasons; here are some examples:
- Not relevant to the firm’s practice areas
- Comes from a location the firm does not serve
- Is a sales call or solicitation
- Is spam or bot traffic
- Repeat phone call from the same caller
Over the last two years, competition for a featured position on the LSA platform has increased significantly. In many markets, numerous firms are vying for limited ad space. Ensuring that your listing is optimized can be the difference between being seen or not.
Key LSA Ranking Factors
- Quantity and Quality of Reviews
Similar to organic search, Google has placed increased importance on user reviews on your GBP when ranking Local Service Ads. Google considers both the number of reviews and the average star rating. To be LSA competitive, it is important to maintain a solid review strategy and build quality reviews.
- Proximity to a User’s Location
Distance is a factor. Firms closer to the user are more likely to be displayed in the LSA featured-pack.
- Responsiveness to Customer Inquiries/Requests
Google considers the percentage of LSA call leads that are answered. Missed calls and/or calls going to voicemail will be evaluated when Google determines future LSA placement. If Google determines there are a number of calls going unanswered, your ad will likely not get placed in the featured positions. Remember, Google makes money when you answer the calls. If they don’t think you will answer calls, they will give the featured position to a firm that is more responsive.
Budget plays an important role in ad placement. An aggressive bid strategy, coupled with favorable performance across other ranking factors, will likely set your business up to be competitive on this platform.
- Other Factors
There are several other factors that contribute to LSA positioning and placement, but they are less significant than the aforementioned. These include business hours, photos, and whether Google has received serious or repeated complaints about your business.
To win in LSAs, you need more than just advertising dollars
It is important to note that throwing thousands of dollars at LSAs but lagging in other ranking factors, such as reviews, does not “guarantee” placement.
Though Google wants to make money, it will not sacrifice the efficacy of its search platform. Google will continue to ensure it is providing value to users by serving the best possible results based on the search query. Again, it is important to remember, LSAs are a highly competitive platform with only a few featured positions for hundreds of law firms in a given market.
A solid performance marketing strategy includes both Google Local Service Ads and Pay-Per-Click Ads with the goal of having an ad placement in each ad section at the top of search. Be seen. If you are not participating in paid media, be assured your competitors are.
If you would like to learn more about paid advertising opportunities, contact us.