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9 min read

Google Local Services Ads: What they are and how to use them

By Katie Paterson · June 12, 2024
A hero image for Google Ads app tips with the Google Ads logo on a blue background

Before Google rolled out Local Services Ads, I was always hesitant to use Google to search for local hires, like a plumber or locksmith. Because for these types of local services, holding a top spot on a search engine results page (SERP) doesn't necessarily mean you provide the best service. It just means you have a good marketing strategy. And in my experience, it's often the smaller businesses that don't have the means to compete for those top spots that are actually the best option in your local area. 

Of course, Google knows I'm not the only one who felt this. That's why it's rolling out Google Local Services Ads—a type of Google ad that prioritizes trustworthy local businesses.

Here's everything you need to know about Google Local Services Ads and how to use them. 

Table of contents

  • What are Google Local Services Ads? 

  • Google Local Services Ads vs. Google Ads

  • How to set up Google Local Services Ads

  • Tips for managing your Google Local Services Ads 

  • Google Local Services Ads: FAQs

What are Google Local Services Ads?

Google Local Services Ads (also known as LSAs) are a type of Google ad that allows businesses to advertise geographically-specific products or services to local leads. Businesses that advertise using LSAs then get listed at the top of related search results in the Google SERP and on Google Maps. 

Partial view of the Google search page with plumber near me entered in the search bar.

Like Google Business Profiles, LSAs display important business information, like your operating hours, the location you serve, and those all-important customer reviews (which are pulled from your Google Business Profile if you have one already).

Customers can also call, message, and book appointments with businesses directly through a Google LSA, reducing the number of clicks they have to make to get in touch. 

Google Local Services Ads vs. Google Ads at a glance 

Here are the main differences between Google Local Services Ads and regular Google Ads you see in your searches. 

Google Local Services Ads

Google Ads

Visibility 

Appears at the top of the SERP if a user's "near me" search is service-related and LSAs are available in their location; not visible on Google partner websites  

Appears below LSAs; visible on Google partner websites like YouTube

Ad spend

Set a monthly budget and pay only when someone calls or messages via the LSA; more expensive

Bid on select keywords and pay per click (PPC), even if the prospect doesn't convert

Screening and verification

Need to pass a screening and verification process to earn a trust badge

No verification or trust badge required—only a website

Calls-to-action

Goal is to get the customer to call or message the business

Goal is to get more traffic to your website 

Ad customization

Less customization (Google generates the ad based off your business profile)

Much more customization 

Customer protection

Customer is offered a guarantee (up to $2,000) if they book a service directly through a LSA

No customer guarantee 

And here's how LSAs and Google Ads appear together on a Google SERP. 

Comparison of a Google Local Services Ad versus a regular Google Ad on Google's search engine results page.

When it comes to choosing which type of Google Ad to use—Google Local Services Ads or Google Ads—it doesn't have to be one or the other. Experiment with both, evaluate your return on investment (ROI) on a regular basis, and then decide which ads to continue running from there.  

How to set up Google Local Services Ads

Here's the short version of how to set up Google Local Services Ads (assuming your business is eligible for LSAs). 

  1. Go to ads.google.com and log in or sign up. 

  2. Set up your business profile and details, including the geographical area you service and the types of services you offer. 

  3. Preview your ad. 

  4. Link your Google Business Profile (or create one if you don't have one yet), and upload any relevant business documents and registration information to verify your business. 

  5. Set your ad budget.

  6. Wait for your business to be approved.

Now let's take a closer look at the finer details of using LSAs. 

1. Sign in to your Google Ads account

To get started with Google LSAs, you first need to create a Google Ads account. Go to ads.google.com, and click Get started. Already have a Google Ads account? Click Sign in

Google Local Services Ads home page with arrows pointing to the sign in and get started buttons.

2. Check your eligibility

LSAs are currently available only for certain service categories across the U.S. and Canada. To check your business eligibility, enter your location and business category, and click Check eligibility

Google Local Services Ads welcome page with a few fields to determine business eligibility.

3. Create your profile

If LSAs are available in your location, you'll be taken to a page where you can fill out basic information about your business, such as your business name, number, and address. 

Google Local Services Ads page to set up a business profile.

Heads up: there are a lot of fields to fill in when setting up your profile. And while not all of them are required, I'd recommend providing as much information as possible at this stage—it reduces the time needed for the screening process. 

4. Set up your service

Follow the next few prompts to provide more details about the service your business provides—for example, the geographical locations you serve and the type of services you offer. If you notice your service doesn't appear as an option when setting up your service type, it means that particular service isn't available for LSAs in your area. 

Google Local Services Ads page to set up your service area and types of services offered.

5. Preview your ad

Once you've set up your business profile and service, Google will generate a preview of your ad based on the details you've entered. Need to edit the ad? You can't. The only way to change anything in your ad is to update the information in your profile. 

Preview of a Google Local Services Ad.

6. Verify your business 

Now it's time to prove to Google that your business is trustworthy by providing details, such as proof of insurance and business registration. 

Google will then automatically scan your Google Business Profile to find customer reviews. If you don't have a Google Business Profile or any reviews yet, click See link options on the Customer Reviews page. This will generate a link that you can send to previous customers to ask for reviews

Learn how to automatically follow up on customer reviews.

7. Set your budget 

Next, you'll be asked to set a weekly budget for your LSA campaign. If you don't already have billing details associated with your Google Ads account, you'll also need to set that up. 

Google Local Services Ads business verification page with ad budget types displayed.

8. Link your Google Business Profile

If you have an existing Google Business Profile, Google will prompt you to connect to it. If not, you'll need to create a profile (a matching profile is required for LSA verification). 

9. Wait for your business to be approved

Using all the information you've entered, Google will start the screening and verification process, including background, business registration, insurance, and license checks. The process can take anywhere between a few days to weeks before you receive approval. 

Tips for managing your Google Local Services Ads 

Now that you've gone through the effort of setting up your business profile and getting verified, here are some tips to help you manage your Google Local Services Ads. 

Activate your ad 

Once your business is verified for Google LSAs, you need to manually launch your ads—they won't run automatically. 

From your Google Local Services Ads profile, click Account name > Edit profile, and then click the toggle next to Your ad is paused to run it. 

Add all your job services 

In your LSA profile, be sure to add all the different services you offer. This way, if someone searches for something like "unclog drain near me" (instead of "plumber near me"), you'll still appear in these more service-specific searches. 

List of carpentry-related services that are available for Google Local Services Ads.

Manage your budget 

By default, Google sets your bidding style to automatic—this means that Google will try to maximize the number of leads you get by automatically adjusting your bid while staying within your monthly budget. If you prefer a more hands-on approach, click Manually set a max bid. This way, you can set the max bid. If you go this route, it's worth noting that there's no safety mechanism to prevent you from going over your monthly budget. 

Bidding options for Google Local Services Ads.

No matter which bidding style you choose—automatic or manual—keep an eye on your cost per lead to decide if LSAs are the right type of ad for you. For example, if each lead costs your $25 and your business charges a flat $40 service fee, LSAs may not be ideal in the long run. You can also use Google's LSA cost calculator to get an estimate of what you might expect to pay per lead.

Add photos to your profile 

While adding photos of you, your team, and demonstrations of the services you offer may seem frivolous, high-quality, professional photos help customers understand who they're working with and what they can expect. It's an easy way to build trust without directly interacting with a prospect. 

  1. Go to your Google Local Services Ads dashboard.

  2. Click Profile & budget

  3. Click Add photos.  

Choose how you want to be contacted 

Google Local Services Ads allow customers to contact you via direct message or phone, but Google charges you differently based on the type of contact. Leads acquired through direct messages cost roughly half of what leads from phone calls cost. 

Here's how to give customers the option to call or message you. (You can't set it so that customers can only message you.)

  1. Go to your Google Local Services Ads dashboard.

  2. Click Settings

  3. Click the toggle next to Message Leads

Gather customer reviews 

Google reviews are key to running effective Local Service Ads, so the more reviews you get, the better. You can manually request reviews from recent customers directly from your Google LSA dashboard. 

  1. Go to your Google Local Services Ads dashboard. 

  2. Click the menu icon, which looks like three horizontal bars stacked vertically ().

  3. Click Reviews

  4. Click Send personalized message

Learn how to automatically gather and track customer reviews

Manage your leads 

To view all the leads you've acquired through LSAs, go to your dashboard, click the menu icon (), and then select Leads

You'll be able to view every customer who's contacted you through your LSA and reply to them. If they sent you a message initially, you can respond via email or SMS directly from your dashboard. Google LSAs also allow you to decline requests without incurring a charge for it. And if you're actively working with a prospective customer, you can change the status to Active or Booked

Google Local Services Ads dashboard with an expanded view of the menu and an arrow pointing to leads.

Manage your reports 

Equally as important as staying on top of your leads is staying up to date with how your campaign is performing with Google reports. 

Go to your dashboard, click the menu icon (), and then select Reviews. From here, you'll get an overview of booked appointments, your ad spend, and how many leads you've acquired. You can also learn more details about your leads to see how relevant they are. This way, you can make decisions about how to optimize your profile to attract leads that are a better fit, if necessary. 

Automate Google Ads 

When it comes to running ad campaigns, keeping up to speed with all the moving parts can be exhausting. Use Zapier's Google Ads integration to automate your most time-consuming ad-related workflows. For example, you can automatically sync your Google Ads data with your CRM and marketing apps. Or notify your team about new leads via email or Slack. Learn more about how to automate Google Ads, or get started with one of these premade templates. 

Create Google Sheets rows for new Google Ads leads

Create Google Sheets rows for new Google Ads leads
  • Google Ads logo
  • Google Sheets logo
Google Ads + Google Sheets

Add new Mailchimp subscribers to Google Ads customer lists

Add new Mailchimp subscribers to Google Ads customer lists
  • Mailchimp logo
  • Google Ads logo
Mailchimp + Google Ads

Add new HubSpot contacts to Google Ads customer lists

Add new HubSpot contacts to Google Ads customer lists
  • HubSpot logo
  • Google Ads logo
HubSpot + Google Ads

Zapier is the leader in workflow automation—integrating with 6,000+ apps from partners like Google, Salesforce, and Microsoft. Use interfaces, data tables, and logic to build secure, automated systems for your business-critical workflows across your organization's technology stack. Learn more.

Google Local Services Ads: FAQs 

Do I qualify for Local Services Ads?

LSAs are currently available only to businesses offering certain types of services across Canada and the U.S. You must also prove that you have adequate licensing to perform the services you offer. 

If you're not sure if the service you offer qualifies, you'll be able to determine this in the first few steps of setting up Google Local Services Ads

How much do Local Services Ads cost?

The cost for LSAs vary based on a number of factors, such as your location, industry, and how competitive your services are in your location. For example, you can expect to pay anywhere between $25 to $40 per lead for beauty services and $80 to $100 for legal services. 

What is Google Guarantee?

A Google Guarantee badge is granted to businesses that pass a Google screening and verification process through Google Local Services Ads or its partners. 

While having a Google Guarantee is likely to get you more business, it's worth noting that if someone books your services through an LSA and they're not satisfied with their experience, they can request to be reimbursed for up to $2,000. 

What is Google Screened?

A Google Screened badge is given to businesses that need a license to operate—for example, a gas-certified plumber. It's another way to build trust with customers, showing that your business's professional license is up to date. The screening process for Google Screened is free for service providers. 

Related reading

  • Google Ads examples (and how to use their strategies)

  • Google Ads tips to get the most out of your advertising campaigns

  • Google Ads mistakes that will drain your ad spend

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