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Local Service Ads: New SERP Feature for (Some) Lawyers

Local Search Marketing

Local Service ads allow potential customers or clients to directly connect with businesses that offer the services they are looking for. Google is now allowing certain law firms to use Local Service ads; it’s a can’t-miss opportunity to find new clients.

What Is a Local Service Ad?

When people search for services in their area, they now see Local Service ads at the top of Google Search results. These ads display a company’s name, location, review rating, phone number, and hours of operation. Users can click or tap on an ad to call or send a message to the local companies showing those ads. Each business they contact receives a notification of a new lead, which can then become a client. Businesses pay a flat fee per lead, and Google charges them when contact is made. If a lead is irrelevant, businesses can request a refund.

This type of ad is separate from Google ads. Local Service ads focus on getting leads rather than clicks. The ad has a click-to-call option and a web-based email form for users to reach out directly. Before reaching out, potential clients can check out the company’s Google My Business page to be sure they’re making the right choice.

Local Service ads are expanding to new industries and verticals. Most recently, Google added estate lawyers and immigration lawyers to the list of eligible businesses.

Benefits of Local Service Ads

The biggest benefit of using Local Service ads is being seen at the top of Google on both desktop and mobile – above pay-per-click ads, Google Maps 3-pack, and organic results. And, since Local Service ads are separate campaigns from those within Google pay-per-click, firms that utilize both will enjoy more real estate in search engine results pages (SERPs).

In addition, Local Service ads offer these benefits:

  • A more direct connection to potential clients who are searching for their services and are likely ready to hire. They only hear from clients who have specifically selected their profile out of all the rest.
  • A mobile app to quickly and easily communicate with prospective clients.
  • More client trust with the Google Guarantee and Google Screened. As an added perk, firms that are Google Guaranteed may also be listed as a local provider on the Assistant.
  • With the pay-per-lead structure, firms pay only for leads related to their legal services.

The Google Guarantee

To participate in the Local Service ad program, a firm must pass Google’s screening and qualification process. Verified firms will then receive a “Google Screened” badge.

For both immigration and estate lawyers, the following are the screening requirements to begin using Local Service ads:

  • Background check:
    • Business check
    • Owner check
  • Insurance:
    • Malpractice insurance where required by law
  • License:
    • State bar license checks for each estate lawyer in the firm

Firms that pass a Google screening and qualification process through Google Local Services also receive a Google Guarantee badge. When a business is backed by a Google Guarantee, Google may refund a client who is not satisfied with the quality of the work or service.

When Will Local Service Ads Be Available to Other Firms?

Google has not indicated a timeline to roll out this feature to firms in more diverse fields. However, firms should take a few steps to ensure they are well positioned when they can begin using Local Service ads. Roll-out in other verticals has shown that early adopters get the best value; as with any marketing channel, it will eventually be saturated.

Here is our strategy for getting ready to leverage Local Service ads once they are available for your legal field:

  1. Make sure your marketing company is set up for alerts to when Local Service ads are rolled out in your geographic region and practice areas.
  2. Continue to work on obtaining positive, high-quality reviews.
  3. Track leads from this channel, so your firm is getting accurate data.
  4. Evaluate the impact quickly to make adjustments to marketing. As these ads are above paid ads, national brands may see bids increase as search results are triggered. Firms’ marketing teams may need to pay closer attention to their position on the page.

Firms may need to revise their strategy and budget allocation to get the best results from this new advertising source. If you have any questions about effectively leveraging Google ads, we welcome you to give us a call.