GOOGLE’S NEW LOCAL SERVICE ADS 101
IMPROVING THE CRITICAL DIGITAL PRESENCE OF YOUR BUSINESS
Google is ever-changing, and today, aside from overall service quality and customer care, there is arguably nothing more important for your business than it’s digital presence. When someone is in a pinch and they need plumbing services, they will do a quick google search for “plumbers near me”. Not only do you want to be sure your business is one of the ones that pops up, you want the immediate information provided to be good and accurate.
What are Google Local Service Ads?
Google local service ads are a new section of ads on Google, displaying above the existing paid ads, focused on matching verified, local businesses and services to qualified leads in their area. When someone conducts a Google search for “plumbers near me”, they are now instantly provided with local business ads that pop up directly above the traditional paid Google ads we are used to seeing. These ads include a star-based rating, address, and phone number. In addition to this basic information, each service ad states that it is “Google Guaranteed”. Essentially, this means that Google has performed a background check and verification on each business shown in the service ads, providing a more reliable set of results for the consumer.
The new service ads go one step further than traditional ads by prompting the searcher to confirm what type of service they are looking for after they click on a business. This feature saves both you and the customer time and frustration. If you are a good match, then the person can click through to your website, call you from the ad, or request a service. If you aren’t a match, Google provides them with another local service that better fits their needs.
Why Should You Use Local Service Ads?
Traditional PPC (pay per click) advertising on Google can be a pain since oftentimes the advertiser ends up paying for clicks that don’t translate into sales due to under-qualified customers clicking on their ads. Google services ads helps eliminate mismatch situations by connecting the right advertiser with the right searcher. Local service advertisers will only be charged for valid leads and if you feel like you’ve been given a lead that isn’t valid or seems like spam, you can easily dispute the charge. Depending on your market, local service ads can be as cheap as $6 per lead, and keep in mind, that’s $6 for a valid lead in your service area, not just a longshot click.
The best part about local service ads? There are no keywords to manage or need for ad testing. Local service ads will automatically trigger when any one of thousands of keywords are typed into the search bar, ranging from very broad terms to specific services. From there, the service ads are populated based on information in your business profile.
Another way that local service ads simplifies things is by taking away the need to worry about your ad quality score and landing page. With traditional PPC advertising, your ranking on Google comes from these factors, but with local service ads, Google automatically ranks you based on things like your proximity to the customer who is searching, your reviews, and your responsiveness to customer leads and requests.
Getting Started with Local Service Ads
The first step when starting with these ads is to complete your business profile. Your business profile is vital to ad success as it is how Google determines what kind of searches you should pop up for. Your business profile includes your service area, job types, hours, and contact information. This is also where you can set your weekly budget for ads. Having a weekly budget ensures that you don’t over-spend your advertising budget; Google will automatically notify you when you’ve spent your weekly budget.
Google also allows you to ad “highlights” to your business profile. These will show up on your service ad under the rating and can say short phrases like “locally owned and operated” or “senior discounts available”. Utilizing highlights will help you stand out from other local businesses and Google recommends that you add 2-5 highlights into your business profile.
The final step in completing your business profile will be adding in your license and insurance information. Make sure your paperwork is up-to-date and provide your general liability information. To earn the “Google Guarantee” checkmark mentioned earlier, you must prove that you’re a licensed and insured professional.
From here, you must agree to a background check through Pinkerton. For a limited time, Google is performing business background checks free of charge, so now is a great time to get started.
Once you’re up and running, you’ll have an easy-to-navigate dashboard.
Your Google Ad Dashboard
Once you’re up and running on Google local service ads, you’ll have an easy-to-navigate dashboard where you manage your ads. On the dashboard, you can manage ad leads in the following categories: new, active, booked, completed, and inactive. After you see a new lead, you can follow up by replying to the customer via email or a phone call. You can also decline the service request and the lead will be removed.
Your dashboard is also where you will manage your budget. Since you’re being charged for leads, and not clicks, the amount you budget per week will directly impact the number of leads you get. Google may spend slightly more or less per week than your budget states, but they will never exceed the monthly ad budget you choose.
Since your business’s reviews are one of the ways Google ranks where you show up on local service ads, it is important to pay attention and manage them properly. Google allows you to ask customers that you have completed a job with for a review. You should always respond to both positive and negative reviews on Google.
Unfortunately, negative reviews will happen, but it’s how you handle them that can save your business’s reputation. Respond to the reviews publicly, so future searchers can see that you care and take the time to respond. NEVER respond to a negative review emotionally; no one online wants to see a defensive or aggressive business owner.
Keep your eye out for questions that need to be answered to keep your response rate high, this will also help your ranking with local service ads. If a review is sub-par or negative, take it as an opportunity to gather more information about the situation and find out why this customer wasn’t satisfied.