What Are Google Local Service Ads?

    Reposition Services UK
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    By Dev
    January 5, 2024
    ~ 8 minutes to read

    Google Local Service Ads

    Google local service ads are a powerful way for businesses to promote their services and attract new customers in their local area. These ads appear at the top of Google search results and on Google Maps when someone searches for relevant services near them.

    How Do Google Local Service Ads Work?

    When someone searches for a service on Google, such as “plumber London” or “Italian restaurant Manchester”, Google will display a special ad section at the top of the results known as local service ads. This prime ad space is only available to businesses that meet Google’s eligibility requirements and pay to run local service ads.

    The ads contain important information to help searchers, including the business name, address, phone number and sometimes customer ratings or photos. By clicking on the ad, users can either get directions, visit the company’s website or call them directly from the ad. This makes it very easy for potential new customers to learn about and contact the business.

    Local service ads reach people when they are actively searching for related services in the advertiser’s geographic area. This means the leads generated tend to have very high conversion rates compared to other types of digital ads.

    Who Can Use Local Service Ads?

    Google has specific requirements for businesses wanting to run local service ads:

    • Physical location – The business must have a physical location, storefront and address in the area they want to advertise in. Online-only businesses are not eligible.
    • Service area – The business must provide services locally in the specified region. They cannot advertise for services provided nationally or in other faraway locations.
    • Verified by Google – All advertisers must go through Google’s verification process to confirm they meet the location and service requirements.
    • Good customer service – Google will check reviews and complaints to ensure the business offers good service. Businesses with very poor ratings will not be approved.

    Some examples of eligible services are plumbers, mechanics, hair salons, dentists, restaurants, lawyers and more. The key is the business must have a local storefront and provide services locally.

    Benefits Of Local Service Ads

    There are many potential benefits of using Google local service ads for businesses:

    • Increased visibility – By appearing prominently at the top of search results in the prime ad space, local service ads get much more visibility than regular organic results.
    • Targeted reach – Ads are only shown to searchers looking for related services in the local area, giving highly targeted leads.
    • Calls and directions – Ads make it easy for searchers to call the business directly or get directions right from the ad.
    • Improved SEO – Having an ad presence can also lift organic rankings. So businesses get the 1-2 punch of better ads and SEO.
    • Cost-effective – Local service ads are very affordable, with a typical cost per click of around £1-2 depending on competitiveness. The high conversion rates also make them very cost-effective.

    For any business relying on local customers, local service ads can be a powerful tool to boost new customers and revenue. They put your business right in front of people ready to buy your services.

    How Much Do Local Service Ads Cost?

    Local service ads are purchased through pay-per-click, meaning businesses only pay when someone clicks their ad. The cost per click varies based on factors like:

    • Competition – More competition for keywords drives up prices. Less competition means lower costs per click.
    • Service industry – Some service industries have more demand, which increases costs. For example, legal services usually cost more than general services.
    • Ad position – Getting displayed in the top ad position costs more than lower positions. Top positions get more clicks.
    • Location – Major metro areas with more demand cost more than rural or smaller towns.
    • Time of year – Relevant seasons or events can drive up demand and prices.

    Average costs per click tend to range from £1-2 for reasonably competitive keywords in most service industries and locations. However, the cost can easily go up to £10 or more per click for highly in-demand keywords in expensive areas like London.

    It’s a good idea to use Google’s keyword planner tool to research potential terms and see current estimated costs for your specific industry, service and location. The actual amount may vary once your ads go live based on the competition.

    Google Local Service Ads

    How to Create Effective Local Service Ads

    Follow these best practices when creating your local service ad campaigns:

    Choose the right keywords

    Research keywords potential customers would use when searching for your types of services. Include keywords for your specific service, location and industry terms.

    Optimise ad text

    Include your business name, precise location, key services and a strong call to action in the ad text. Emphasise what makes you better than competitors.

    Expand your reach

    Use radius targeting to show your ads to searchers in a wider area around your location. Start small then expand until you see diminishing returns.

    Refine and adjust

    Track performance and optimise your keywords, ad copy, bids and targeting over time to improve results and control costs.

    Promote calls

    Enable click-to-call on your ads to make it easy for searchers to call your business directly from the ad. Calls tend to have excellent conversion rates.

    Drive visits to your site

    Sending visitors to targeted landing pages on your website can also give good conversions for valuable actions like bookings, signups, downloads etc.

    Stand out with extensions

    Extensions like location, call, review and message extensions help your ad stand out and provide more ways to connect with your business.

    The key is starting small, tracking results closely and continuously optimising your local ads over time for better performance.

    Step-By-Step Guide To Setting Up Local Service Ads

    Here is a step-by-step guide to getting your local service ads up and running on Google:

    Step 1. Create a Google Ads account

    Go to ads.google.com and create a new account. Make sure to use an email and password you can access. Use a phone number with SMS capabilities for mobile verification.

    Step 2. Set your business location

    Confirm your business name, precise address and service areas in your Google Ads and Google My Business account settings.

    Step 3. Get verified by Google

    In your Google Ads account, go to the page to request local service ad verification and apply. Provide details to confirm your business. Approval can take a few days.

    Step 4. Create your first campaign

    Use the campaign type “Local services ads” and select your target location. Give the campaign a name like “Plumbing Services Leeds”.

    Step 5. Set up ad groups

    Within your campaign, create ad groups around the specific services you offer like “Leaking taps”, “Bathroom installation” etc.

    Step 6. Configure keywords and bids

    Add closely related keywords to each ad group. Set maximum cost-per-click bids based on the value of a customer to your business.

    Step 7. Design compelling ads

    For each ad group, create text ads focusing on your service, location and calls to action to contact you. Use compelling messages.

    Step 8. Extend your reach with radius targets

    Under location options, extend your ads to a 5-10 mile radius around your location to reach more potential customers nearby.

    Step 9. Launch your campaign

    Review everything then enable your campaign and ads. They will start showing for relevant searches in your location.

    Step 10. Monitor and optimise performance

    Check your ad performance regularly in your Google Ads dashboard. Refine keywords, bids, ads, and targeting to improve results.

    Following these steps will get your Google local service ads up and running quickly so you can start generating valuable leads and new customers from local searchers.

    Google Local Service Ads vs. Google My Business

    Google My Business and Google local service ads work very well together, but serve different purposes:

    • Google My Business – Free profile displaying your business info, address, photos, hours etc prominently in maps and searches. Helps people find and learn about your business.
    • Local service ads – Paid ads that promote your business at the very top of search results when people look for related services in your area. More prominent than Google My Business but not free.

    All businesses should optimise their free Google My Business listing first to take advantage of the local visibility it provides across Google for relevant searches.

    Local service ads then take it to the next level by putting your business in the prime paid ad space for valuable clicks and conversions from the best leads searching for your services.

    The combination gives a powerful 1-2 punch:

    • Google My Business attracts searchers and helps them find and learn about your business for free.
    • Local service ads then actively promote your business to the most relevant searchers ready to buy right at the critical moment when they are searching for related services in your area.

    For any local business that relies on customer search traffic, using both Google My Business and local service ads together as part of an integrated marketing strategy is highly recommended for maximising local visibility and leads.

    Local Service Ads vs. AdWords Text Ads

    Local service ads and regular Google AdWords text ads also work well together but are different:

    • Local service ads – Special ad format only for local service businesses. Tighter targeting by location and service. Appear prominently at the top of results.
    • AdWords text ads – More flexible text ads that can promote any business, service, product etc. Appear on the side or bottom.

    Key differences:

    • Intent – Local service ads target searchers specifically looking for local services. AdWords text ads can target all types of searches and intent.
    • Location – Local service ads target by precise location and radius. AdWords text ads can target wider regions, countries and globally.
    • Appearance – Local service ads are more visually prominent. AdWords text ads are small and text only on the sides or bottom.
    • Approval – Local service ads require verification and approval. AdWords accounts can be created instantly by anyone.
    • Cost – Local service ads pricing is based on a cost-per-click auction. AdWords text ads use cost-per-click bidding.

    For local businesses, running both together provides maximum flexibility. Local service ads target hot local searchers, while AdWords text ads allow you to go after a wider audience and other search types.

    When used together strategically as part of an integrated Google Ads approach, local service ads and AdWords text ads provide a powerful advertising solution for local businesses looking to maximise their visibility and search presence.

    Mistakes To Avoid With Google Local Service Ads

    Some common mistakes to avoid with Google local service ads include:

    • Using overly broad targeting – Focus your location targeting tightly around the areas you service to get the most relevant clicks and conversions.
    • Having unclear ad text – Communicate your key services and location in your ad text. Strong calls to action also help.
    • Not monitoring performance – Check your campaign regularly and make changes to optimise results. Don’t just “set and forget” it.
    • Having a poor landing page experience – Make sure your website provides a seamless experience for ad clicks to become customers.
    • Not leveraging ad extensions – Extensions like location, call and reviews help your ads stand out. Use them.
    • Using bad keywords – Do thorough keyword research and regularly refine based on search query reports.
    • Overpaying per click – Set cost-per-click bids based on conversion value, not just to get the top ad position. Review costs frequently.
    • Not integrating with other marketing – Coordinate your local ads with your overall strategy and channels like SEO, social media etc.

    Avoiding these common missteps will help you get the best performance from your Google local service ad investment. Focus on precise targeting, optimisation and integration with other marketing efforts.

    Google Local Service Ads Checklist

    Here is a handy checklist to help guide your Google local service ad campaigns:

    • Research location targeting area based on service radius
    • Optimise Google My Business listing for local SEO
    • Verify business eligibility for local service ads
    • Brainstorm relevant ad keywords around services
    • Set initial cost-per-click bids based on customer value
    • Write compelling ad text focused on service, location calls to action
    • Extend reach with a radius targeting the location
    • Design landing pages that make conversion easy
    • Enable ad extensions like location, call and reviews
    • Continuously monitor performance and optimise as needed
    • Coordinate with your other marketing like social media and SEO

    Following this checklist will help you launch successful Google local service ad campaigns and get the most from your investment. Precision targeting, constant optimisation and marketing integration are key for the best performance.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Google local service ads:

    How quickly do local service ads get approved?

    Google aims to review and approve local service ad verification requests within 5 business days. However, it may take longer if your business registration details are complex.

    Can I run local service ads without location extensions?

    Yes, location extensions are optional but highly recommended. Location extensions prominently promote your address to boost clicks and directions.

    What happens if I stop paying for local service ads?

    Your ads will stop showing immediately after you pause your Google Ads campaign or account. You can start them again anytime by resuming payment.

    Do local service ads work for brand-new businesses?

    Yes, new businesses can run local service ads. Positive reviews and reputable business registration details help get approved faster.

    Can I run other Google Ads campaigns along with local service ads?

    Yes, absolutely. Running text, display and other Google Ads campaigns together with local service ads is a best practice for maximising results.

    Conclusion

    Properly leveraged, Google local service ads are a powerful tool for businesses to promote themselves in their local markets and attract new customers. Following Google’s recommendations and best practices will help maximise your return on investment.