***UPDATE: Google recently informed us that these are being released for many more practice areas, nationwide (including personal injury, family law, criminal, medical malpractice, etc). The official announcement is expected early next week. The information below will be updated soon, but if you’d like to get a jump on the rush please reach out to [email protected] These are pretty involved to get set up since they include background checks, business license checks, etc and can take 3-4+ weeks to get launched – so it’s best to get things rolling sooner than later.
Local Service Ads are now available for law firms in select locations and practice areas.
And so it begins…
It’s true, Local Service Ads are now available for law firms in select locations and practice areas. While Google still has a limited offering on this platform for law firms, it’s almost certain to expand in the near future. As one of only a handful of agencies in the nation proactively working with Google to bring Local Service Ads to our clients, we’ll keep you informed as this ad platform develops for our friends in legal.
Here is an example of what these ads look like currently:
How Do Local Service Ads Work?
These ads are unique in a few ways. First, these ads are a completely separate platform from Google ads, meaning the setup is entirely different and allows you to capture additional real estate in the SERPs beyond your existing ad placements.
Second, these ads are a pay per lead structure, meaning instead of paying per click – you now pay for phone calls. There is a flat fee for these leads, and the price varies by metro and service type. What’s more, if these leads are irrelevant (for example – wrong number, wrong practice area, calling for a competitor, etc) the lead can be disputed with Google, and refunded.
Finally, clicking on these ads takes the viewer to a dedicated business page which can include:
- Business overview (business hours, languages, locations, etc)
- Customer Reviews
- Contact number
- Google Guarantee or “Google Screened” approval
- Attorney bios
What Law Firms Can Run Local Service Ads, And What Is Required?
At this moment Immigration and Estate lawyers in San Diego and Houston. However, looking to other industries, like pest control, these tests eventually rolled out to more locations and service offerings. It’s very likely the legal offering will continue to expand as well.
Google has made the screening process a bit more involved compared to their other platforms. This is partly to help improve the quality of the ad space and resulting leads, as well as to meet the criteria required to earn the ‘Google Guaranteed’ badge. Here is what’s needed as part of the on-boarding process:
- Business Check
- Owner Check
- Professional Check
- Malpractice Insurance
- State Bar Check
- Multiple Ind. Checks
How Does This Affect The Search Results Page?
As you can see in the image above, these local service ads are at the top of the page. That means Google Ad placements, local map pack ads, map pack listings, and organic all fall below. While these ads only show for very specific types of queries at the moment (strong local service intent), it’s likely their impact and offering will continue to grow.
The SERP has become extremely diverse, and you can no longer afford to focus your strategy on only one aspect (be it Google Ads, Google My Business, or organic rankings for example). Instead, the best strategy is to diversify your marketing channels within Google, thereby increasing your footprint and visibility to a potential search.
We are in constant communication with Google and working side by side with them to build out this product for lawyers. Let us know if you have any questions. If you are an immigration or estate attorney in San Diego or Houston, get in touch with us ASAP to take advantage of this offering in its beta phase.