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What are Google Local Service Ads?

Published by Michael Burdsall on January 31, 2023

For many years, Google’s ad format allowed only for bidding by click. Utilizing the Google Ads platform, advertisers created campaigns based around keywords which displayed ads in search results for potential customers to click on ads. Advertisers were then charged by the click and hoped to generate leads from the traffic those clicks generated. Some advertisers found this system to be unsuccessful due to limited budgets, malicious clicks and inefficient keyword targeting. Google Local Service Ads offer an ad platform which is much different and only charges advertisers for qualified leads based on their profile settings.

Google Local Service Ads is a pay per lead ad format offered by Google. Local Service Ads are offered to businesses in select industries which are more inclined to have fraud and deceptive practices employed by businesses. In the Local Service Ad format, Google required background checks for businesses, verifies licensing and insurance among other screening steps to ensure the legitimacy of the business which wishes to advertise with them. Once approved for the Local Service Ad format businesses may select particular hours, locations and services for which they wish their business to appear in Google search results. Unlike Google Ad campaigns which required specialists or digital marketing agencies to optimize, Google Local Service Ads were aimed at being manageable by business owners themselves.

Why Are Google Local Service Ads Important for Businesses?

Advertising on Google has always been about maintaining real estate in the search engine results page (SERP). Google Local Service Ads appear at the top of search results and occupy the most valuable real estate the search results have to offer. Ignoring Google Local Service Ads entirely leaves that particular business at a disadvantage to their competitors as they are guaranteeing their business will not appear with other businesses at the top of the SERP.

How Does Google Determine Who Appears on Google Local Services?

Google has not released much detailed information on the ranking factors which go into the Google Local Service ad platform. There does appear to be the influence of general rotation in order to keep results fresh, however; communication from Google has determined that there are three main components to ranking within the Google Local Service Ad results.

  1. Location Proximity
    1. Location is one of the signals which Google takes into account when ranking GLS profiles, the closer you are to a user’s location the more likely you are to be returned at the top of the rankings.
  2. Amount of Missed Calls
    1. Google wants to see businesses actively answering the phone when customers do call them. Having a large amount of missed calls will result in your profile becoming less visible compared with others in the GLS ad format.
  3. Reviews
    1. Reviews are the final main ranking factor for Google Local Service Ads which Google has communicated to the public. The amount of reviews, the average star rating of reviews and the amount of verified reviews all impact how frequently your ad is shown. The total amount of reviews and average review rating mainly come from the linked Google Business Profile. However, verified reviews are native to the Google Local Services platform. A verified review is collected when a user’s email is input with that user’s lead information in Google and then is requested by the business to complete a review. 

Google Local Service Ads are being rolled out to many additional business categories than its original limited release. Locksmiths, HVAC and Plumbers were three of the main industries impacted by Google Local Services. Now businesses like Real Estate agents and tax professionals are also among the verticals which display Google Local Service Ads in search results. Business owners and advertisers who choose to ignore Google Local Service Ads are hurting themselves by missing out on valuable leads and valuable real estate in the search engine results page. Once active in the Google Local Service Ads platform it is crucial to be aware of the above three ranking factors to always ensure you are putting your best foot forward to generate the most leads for your business possible. Have questions about how Google Local Service Ads are impacting your business, contact Results Guaranteed today to discuss how we may be of assistance.

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