If you’ve searched for your firm on Google, you’ve probably seen that there are a lot of different things that pop up on the search engine results page. Chances are that, among those elements, there are some local services ads.
This article will look at Local Services Ads for lawyers and examine why and how they work. In summary, LSAs are a pay-per-lead service for verified, reputable local businesses.
This article will cover general information. Feel free to reach out directly for a personal consultation on LSAs or any other online marketing needs your firm might have.
We’ll also discuss how you could qualify — even if you don’t have a perfect review score. Here’s the rundown of topics:
Table of Contents
LSAs are advertisements for Google-vetted businesses. They appear right at the top of the search engine results page.
There are a few qualifications — it isn’t a guaranteed free spot at the top of the list. For example, these ads only appear when local results would be relevant and when your business matches the searcher’s location.
Luckily, that’s exactly the type of traffic you’re probably trying to capture as a law office. You want people who are searching for legal help right now in your jurisdiction.
There are also some other requirements for using LSAs. The first is that you have to operate a certain type of local business. The list now includes most types of law firms, but feel free to contact us to see if your practice area qualifies.
You will also have to make an application, in which Google confirms that your business is legitimate. The good news is that there are no fees to participate in the program. The bad news is that it takes some time to be approved and that you’ll probably have to submit some documents.
Another requirement is that you have a good reputation. Google enforces this by requiring you to have a certain minimum rating on their business review system, Google My Business. You also have to be in a participating location — a list that’s constantly growing.
Before we go any further, please note that this is an important opportunity for all law firms. You especially want to take advantage if you are a relatively small company.
Large companies with huge advertising and marketing budgets tend to dominate search results. With LSAs, you stand on equal footing when it comes to searches in your territory.
In other words, you don’t get flushed out of search results by bigger firms that take up the whole results page with their aggressive SEO strategies. Each firm has a single, simple, informational entry in the LSA section.
There are many other benefits as well. For example:
Google is more than a search engine. It provides mapping data, business directories, traffic analytics, and much more.
At Forward Lawyer Marketing, we are members of Google’s partnership program. We recertify every year to make sure we have the latest information about all of the services our clients need. This helps give you the edge with online marketing for your law firm.
For example, we knew the minute that LSAs came out. We also knew that they weren’t immediately available for lawyers. Still, we participated in the early testing and training environment and we indicated our intent to use this service for our attorney clients.
When LSAs became available for lawyers, we were ready. Our clients were already positioned to successfully apply and, as a result, they had a head start on their competition.
If you are not in the LSA program, you’re missing out. LSAs empower some of your most valuable searches:
You might not have the resources to dominate the top of the page with pricey pay-per-click ad campaigns. You might not have the publication history and back-linking network you need to get multiple first-page results for generic, competitive search phrases.
You can still capture these searches — and capture them when it matters most. That’s what the LSA program is trying to do.
What is your ideal case? How do potential clients with these issues find you?
These are two of the central, enduring questions when it comes to law firm marketing. You need to be able to define the type of cases that grow your business and then seek those cases out actively.
The answers are different for everybody. For example, some divorce practices are great with contested child custody, others prefer complex asset division and yet others do best with alternative dispute resolution.
The commonality is that law firms tend to operate within well-defined jurisdictions. We can help you translate your jurisdiction into your most profitable territory, fit that territory into the context of Google’s ad services and then help you find the clients who will build your business, your community, and your future.
Apart from targeting local territory, LSAs have another important factor: They make you look credible. They don’t mean that you’re a Google-endorsed law firm. However, they do mean that your advertised information is accurate.
Accuracy is a big deal. Due to the proliferation of weird, wacky, and outright wrong information on the internet, many searchers have a hard time knowing whom they should trust. Having any manner of verification helps, whether it’s an SSL certificate for your law firm website, a listing on a professional directory, or a checkup by Google.
Trust is especially important in law, where trust between you and your client helps you get the best possible outcomes for your cases. Start off on the right foot — be trustworthy right at the top of the search results page with LSAs.
A brief note on Google My Business: This is a service law firms (and all businesses) can use as a central hub for their online presence. GMB manages physical location, service descriptions, operating hours, reviews, and much more.
You’ll want to set this up before applying for LSAs. If you have a GMB profile already, you might need to add information, correct it or optimize it. This can take some time, but it helps both in the short and the long term.
Especially when you are just starting out, a few bad reviews can make a large impact on your public reputation. Even if you are in good standing with your peers, people on the Internet will only see your business summary profile.
Apart from public image, your online review score is part of what qualifies you for LSAs. You cannot unilaterally delete bad reviews, but there is an appeals process that is often effective at helping remove false, exaggerated, or malicious statements made publicly against your firm. We know how to navigate the appeals process efficiently, but we don’t usually have to use this skill.
Another, a more common situation is when a law office has no presence on Google reviews. In these cases, we have proven strategies to establish a positive, honest set of testimonials as quickly and efficiently as possible.
LSAs are just one example of the vast network of online marketing and advertising services and techniques law firms can use. There are also search engine optimization campaigns, paid advertisements, social media, press releases, and much more.
At Forward Lawyer Marketing, we handle it all. We offer everything from services that help you win cases, such as video production for depositions, to those that help bring in clients, such as live, 24-7 chat for your website. Call us today at (888) 590-9687, and we can go over the best options to grow your business aggressively and sustainably.