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.
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.
Google has specific requirements for businesses wanting to run local service ads:
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.
There are many potential benefits of using Google local service ads for businesses:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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 My Business and Google local service ads work very well together, but serve different purposes:
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:
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 and regular Google AdWords text ads also work well together but are different:
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.
Some common mistakes to avoid with Google local service ads include:
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.
Here is a handy checklist to help guide your Google local service ad campaigns:
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.
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.
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.