Google Local Service Ads For Law Firms

In the changing landscape of digital marketing, it can be difficult to stay on top of the latest offerings, understand what they are, how to get them and how they can work with your law firm’s marketing strategies – or not.

The latest from Google is Local Service Ads (LSAs). These are not the same as traditional Google Ads – in fact they aren’t associated with Google Ads at all, other than showing above the search ads on search results.

Let’s take a look at what they are, what they aren’t and what lawyers need to know about this exciting new opportunity to generate more leads for your law firm.

What Are Google Local Service Ads?

The Local Services unit is shown at the top of Google Search results when people search for the services you offer in your area. Potential customers can click or tap on your ad to either call you or send you a message request (US only).

When a user clicks on a listing it will take them to a page like this:

They can also schedule a booking with you directly through your ad. Booking is only available for businesses backed by the Google Guarantee and through one of the affiliate providers such as HouseCallPro and ServiceTitan.

When a customer reaches out, you’ll get an email and notification from the Local Services Ads app. From this point on, the lead is yours to turn into a customer.

To ensure you continue to receive messages, respond to as many of them as you can (even if you decline to provide the requested service). If you regularly fail to answer calls or respond to messages, your ad ranking may be affected.

Google Guarantee vs Google Screened

Google Guarantee:
The Google Guarantee 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

We have confirmed with an LSA product team lead that the Google Guarantee Badge is NOT applicable to Law Firms. This was unknown at first, but because law firms are considered “professional services” who operate under a different payment structure than other services (example: electricians and plumbers), the lifetime guarantee/reimbursement of $2,000 does not apply to them. They are, however, still eligible for the Google Screened badges.

Google Screened:
This helps build a trusted reputation online. 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 customer rating or higher. In some categories, each professional in the business must also pass a background check. These checks ensure consumers that the professionals they work with have been thoroughly vetted and provide them added peace of mind as they work with you.

Who It Covers:Only firms that provide professional services including Law, Financial Planning, and Real Estate are eligible for the Google Screened badge.

General Requirements:

  • 3.0 star rating for reviews minimum
  • Business-Level background check
  • Business-Owner background check
  • Each professional must pass a license check

Specific Requirements for Law Firms:

  • Background check requirements:
    • Business check
    • Owner check
  • Insurance requirements:
    • Malpractice insurance *
  • License requirements:
    • State bar license checks for each lawyer in the firm

Example of an Immigration Lawyer’s Business Profile (clicking on an LSA ad): Law Office of Lindsey J. Harris

How “Targeting” works
This is not like Google Ads – you don’t have many options.According to Google, targeting is not by keyword, but by selected services you select for your profile. Google states: “Your ad will also be eligible to appear if someone searches for general categories related to your business.”

How Ad Ranking is Determined

The official guidance is,”All provider listings in the Local Services unit 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 we’ve received serious or repeated complaints about your business

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.”

About Costs & Payment
You are charged for each lead you receive through your Local Services ad. Lead prices may vary depending on your location, the job type, and the type of lead, but each lead received will count towards your budget. You’ll never pay more for leads than your monthly max.

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