Google Local Services Ads – Pay Per Lead – Not Pay Per Click

Book Local Jobs And Grow Your Business

Are Google Local Services Ads new to you?  Launched in 2017 in the US, and late 2018 in Canada, the ad platform is completely separate from the Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) platform complete with it’s own set of bidding, targeting and ad rank criteria.

We’ve all seen the Google Ads above organic search results, but these ads show up ABOVE the regular pay per click (PPC) Google Ads on the search results page.  Because these show for local results, this means they push down the organic search results into 4th place.

In the sales material from Google – they don’t hide that fact, they feature it!  Benefits of Local Services ads: Get seen at the top of Google.


How Do Local Services Ads Impact Search Results?

Let’s say you search for ‘Plumbers Dallas’

  • First place: Google Local Services Ads (below – under the “Google Guaranteed” text)
  • Second place: Google Ads
  • Third Place: The Local Search results pack, including maps and local search results.
  • Fourth Place: Organic Results.

Google Local Services - Plumbers Dallas


So why have yet another format of ads, above the ads, above the local results, above the organic results?  One of the reasons is fraud.

Did you know that one of the biggest online scams is perpetrated by so-called locksmiths? Google knows, and the issues are finally being taken seriously.

Google is concerned about people getting great service from the providers they find on Google.  In fact, there are entire websites like Angie’s List, Houzz, and Homestars that have made a great business of servicing the local marketplace.

Wherever there is a hole in the market, you know Google is going to try to plug it.


The Google Guarantee

So Google came out with the Google Guarantee badge program.  The badge is available for businesses that pass a Google screening and qualification process through Google Local Services.

If you’re backed by the Google Guarantee, and your customers (that came to your business through Google) aren’t satisfied with work quality, Google may refund the amount paid for the service. The following are the upper limits of lifetime coverage for claims:

  • United States: $2,000
  • Canada: CAD $2,000

What it covers:

The Google Guarantee covers claims up to the amount on the job invoice up to the lifetime cap for coverage.

Services must be booked through Google Local Services. The Google Guarantee doesn’t cover add-on or future projects, damages to property, dissatisfaction with price or provider responsiveness, or cancellations.


Google Screened

A newer offering from Google is being Google Screened.  Google Screened provides consumers added protection since all firms that have the Google Screened badge must pass a business-level background and a business-owner background check. Additionally, each professional in the business must pass a license check and the business overall must have a 3.0 star rating or higher.

On Local Service listings, you will see the Google Screened icon next to these businesses.

As this point only firms that provide professional services including Law, Financial Planning, and Real Estate are eligible for the Google Screened badge.

What About Google Assistant?

With a growing presence in the home market, if you’re Google Guaranteed, you may also be listed as a local provider on the Assistant. You won’t pay for this service and it could be a real game-changer for you.


Google Local Services Ads Profile

When you sign up for Local Services ads, Google will ask you to provide your business information, such as your business hours, service area, and services offered. This information is used to generate your business profile.

Your ad will show a preview of your business profile. When users click on your ad, they’ll see your profile.

Google Local Services Ad

Who’s Eligible to run Local Services Ads?

According to Google, only pre-screened local providers in most major markets which include the following:

In the US: 

  • Appliance Repair Service
  • Auto Service Technician
  • Carpet Cleaner
  • Electrician
  • Estate Lawyer
  • Event Planner
  • Financial Planner
  • Garage Door Pro
  • HVAC Pro
  • House Cleaner
  • Immigration Lawyer
  • Junk Removal Provider
  • Lawn Care Provider
  • Locksmith
  • Mover
  • Pest Control Technician
  • Pet Care Provider
  • Pet Groomer
  • Photographer
  • Plumber
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Roofer
  • Tree Service Provider
  • Tutor
  • Water Damage Service Provider
  • Window Cleaner
  • Window Service Provider


In Canada:

The Canadian market is limited at the moment to only the four following categories:

  • Electrician
  • HVAC Pro
  • Locksmith
  • Plumber


Local Services Ad Targeting:

To have effective ad reach, when you are setting up your local services listing, you can set the service areas and service types to determine where your Local Services ads can appear and what types of searches can make your ad appear.


When Do Ads Show?

You can define the services you’d like to advertise by choosing from a list of potential services (such as “install shower”) for each business category. When people search for phrases related to these services, your ads will be eligible to appear.

Your ad will also be eligible to appear if someone searches for general categories related to your business (for example, “plumber”). In some cases, your ad will only appear for general category searches if you offer common services for your category.


Where Do Ads Show?

You can set your service area by choosing cities and postal codes where you would like your ad to show. When you add a geographic area (for example, the city of San Francisco) to your service area, your ads will be shown to that area in two ways:

Estimated location of person at time of search and names of locations in searches.

When you add a particular city to your service area, your ad can show to people in both of the categories listed above (people estimated to be located in the city you added, as well as people who show an interest in that city by their search terms).


You Can Even Reach Users in Specific Postal Codes By Excluding Unwanted Areas

You can also exclude postal areas within a city where you provide services by deselecting them from the list of postal codes assigned to that city. For example, if you want to exclude 3 postal codes in the northernmost section of San Francisco from your San Francisco service area, you can deselect those 3 postal codes. If you do, your ads won’t show to people who are estimated to be located within those postal codes. Your ads also won’t show to people who show an interest in those areas based on their search terms.


Local Service Ad Rankings:

All provider ads are displayed and ranked based on a number of factors that help Google match service providers to consumers.  Factors that can affect your ranking within the Local Services unit include:

  • Your review score and the number of reviews you receive
  • Your responsiveness to customer inquiries and requests
  • Your proximity to potential customers’ locations
  • Your business hours
  • Whether or not Google has received serious or repeated complaints about your business


How Does Google Spend Your Budget?

In addition to these ranking factors, Google will attempt to spread out the leads you receive over time. This is to prevent you from spending your entire budget early in the budget period. If your ad is generating leads more quickly than your budget can accommodate, you may see your ranking affected or your ad paused temporarily in order to more evenly spread out your leads.


Local Services Reviews Are Important!

Your star rating and number of reviews affect how your business is ranked within the Local Services results. Providers with higher star ratings and more reviews stand out and typically book more jobs through Local Services ads.


How Much Does A Lead Through Local Services Ads Cost?

When I contacted Google on November 4, 2019 here are the costs per call:

  • HVAC – $30 per call
  • Plumber – $30 per call
  • Locksmith – $14 per call
  • Electrician – $20 per call

The costs will vary over time based on geography, seasonality, competition and the success of the program.  If lots of people are getting great leads, it’s going to get more expensive.  That’s just the way it is.


Google Ads vs. Google Local Services Ads

Local services ads are for you if you want to connect with potential customers who are searching for services you provide and are most likely to book, and if you only want to pay for leads related to your business and the services you offer.

For everything else, there’s Google Ads (and Microsoft Ads, and Facebook Ads…)