Pros and Cons of Google Local Services Ads

July 22 , 2022 | BY admin


As is the case with many types of online advertising, there are pros and cons of Google Local Services Ads. In this article, we are going to look at these benefits and drawbacks. We will also discuss LSAs, the pay-per-lead model advertising that they fall into, and some other types of ads that might complement them in the overall context of your marketing strategy.

If you are planning on making important business decisions, it’s always best to base that on a personalized analysis rather than general information. Feel free to call Forward Lawyer Marketing at (888) 590-9687 to set up an appointment today. If you’re not quite ready to do that, please read on to learn more about the following topics: 

  • What Are Local Services Ads?
  • What Is Pay Per Lead?
  • Search Engine Results Pages Explained
  • Pros of Google Local Services Ads
  • Cons of Google Local Services Ads
  • Alternative PPL Options
  • LSAs and Other Types of Advertising
  • Combining SEO, PPC, and PPL

We provide management services for Google Local Services Ads for law firms across the country. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.

What Are Local Services Ads?

Local Services Ads for lawyers are a type of Google-specific pay-per-lead advertising. They help you connect directly with local clients who are looking for the types of legal services you offer. 

Interactions with the LSAs put you in contact with the potential client. This is in contrast with other types of ads, such as pay-per-click, that can have a variety of different goals and outcomes. The type of contact LSAs can generate include:

  • Phone calls
  • Appointment bookings
  • Instant messages

There are quite a few other unique things about LSAs. Here’s a short list:

  • Google verifies and approves all of the participants in the program
  • Only certain types of businesses are eligible (most law firms can apply)
  • LSAs appear at the very top of Google search results
  • Your success in getting approval and appearing in ads is partially based on your Google My Business review score
  • Your control over the message itself is negligible — Google standardizes these ads and only includes basic information

We will reiterate some of these points and go into more detail later on in this article. That’s the general overview of the LSA program, however.

What Is Pay Per Lead?

To understand whether or not LSAs are a fit for your firm, you have to understand the pay-per-lead advertising model. In general, PPL is a type of advertising where you pay for direct contact with clients, for example:

  • Calls
  • Instant messages
  • Contact form submissions
  • Forwarded contact information

PPL with LSAs will likely feel familiar to you if you’re used to other types of Google advertising services. However, it’s important to remember that you’re paying for something very specific and slightly different when you use this program.

Search Engine Results Pages Explained

Search engine results pages, or “SERPs”, are a key concept in search engine advertisements like LSAs. Generally speaking, SERPs are what you get after you perform a Google search on a computer or mobile device.

Many of the benefits of LSAs hinge on the position these ads get in the SERPS. The SERPs in which LSAs appear are slightly different from the standard. These types of pages trigger only when Google determines that someone is highly likely to be searching for local services.

These local SERPs have a special section at the very top that displays LSAs. They appear directly under the search field — above even the paid advertisements. To make this position even more attractive, the ads appear in a row of three on desktop SERPs and as two big tiles on mobile. 

Pros of Google Local Services Ads

Now that you have some context, we’re ready for the main part of the discussion. Here are the big advantages of Local Services Ads for law firms:

  • LSAs appear at the very top of SERPs. There’s no other way to get this position.
  • You pay for what basically every law firm wants: leads. These leads can come in various forms, including phone calls.
  • It’s free to apply for the LSA program. 
  • Google confirms to prospective clients that your business is reputable and legitimate.
  • When combined with aggressive paid advertisements and dedicated SEO strategy, LSAs have the potential to dominate the entirety of local SERPs.
  • These ads appear only to the people who are most likely to need your types of legal services in your area.
  • You can customize your Google My Business profile to reflect the leads you want through the LSA program.

That’s a lot to take in. To summarize, the benefit of LSAs is membership in a program for approved businesses to appear at the top of local results and get direct contact from clients.

Cons of Google Local Services Ads

LSAs also have some limitations. Here are some things to consider when allocating your budget:

  • LSAs generate impressions and leads, but they do not directly drive traffic to your website.
  • To be successful, you have to acquire and maintain a high review score.
  • You’ll have to have someone answering the phone to make the most of these ads.
  • You do not have much control over the ad’s appearance or content.

Most of the cons of LSAs aren’t that bad. These downsides just indicate that LSAs should be part of a comprehensive marketing strategy rather than the center of a single-tactic plan. 

For example, you can use PPC and SEO to generate web traffic while focusing on high-quality leads with LSAs. Reputation management can help you improve review scores, and the LSA system also has some built-in functions that could help you to build your reputation on Google.

Alternative PPL Options

Google Local Services Ads belong to a category of platform-specific pay-per-lead advertising tools. Your main alternative to this would be professional lead providers. You would probably want to find a lead provider for lawyers specifically.

The reason you want to be specific to the legal profession has to do with the way lead providers do business. Most of these agencies generate leads via PPC campaigns and affiliate partnerships with publishers and marketers. The more experience the provider has with attorneys, the better quality your leads are likely to be.

More experience with attorney marketing often means a stronger affiliate network. It also means that the company has larger proprietary analytics datasets: information that provides the backbone for PPC campaigns. 

Agency PPL can also often be even more reliable than advertising platforms when it comes to delivering a guaranteed number of leads per month. If that’s a priority for you, then you might want to consider buying leads directly.

LSAs and Other Types of Advertising

The type of advertising most commonly confused with LSAs (which, to reiterate, stands for “Local Services Ads) is local search. Google’s popular and powerful map service is also the backbone for many types of local advertising. Local search advertising strategies let you use the information in your Google business profile to show up in various types of ads, but this is different from LSAs.

Local search advertising can be an important addition to your overall marketing strategy because it lets you capture the attention of potential clients who are using Google maps. Like other types of online ads, it complements LSAs rather than competing. Here are some other examples of advertising and marketing that can support your Local Services Ads:

  • PPC: Coordinated PPC campaigns can help you saturate local SERPs along with LSAs
  • Website and SEO: Over the medium to long term, SEO can help you climb local search results and appear on the first page along with LSAs
  • Reputation management: Improving and maintaining your review score can help you qualify for the LSA program and appear more often in the ads

Combining SEO, PPC, and PPL

Success marketing online comes from a well-planned, multi-stage strategy. You’ll need to make the most of all of the tools at your disposal in a consistently shifting environment. Specifically, for building a long-term future while maintaining a steady stream of incoming leads, you will probably want to combine SEO with paid ads of various types.

It really all depends on your business goals. We’re standing by to help — let us put our extensive experience with law firms across the country to work for you.

Contact FOWARD Lawyer Marketing at (888) 590-9687 to get started. We do more than just set you up with advertising programs. We take the time to learn about your unique goals, analyze your business, and keep you updated on any changes that might have a positive impact on your firm’s success.