If you’ve tried searching for local garage door repair, duct cleaning, or almost any other home service on Google recently, you may have noticed a new Local Services ad box at the top of the search results.
We wrote about Google’s Home Services Beta Test back in 2015, but the program is now beyond its initial test phase. Apparently the pilot program was a success. Now renamed Local Services and fully implemented in at least 17 major cities, with at least 13 more being added by the end of the year, it’s definitely a game-changer for the home service industry.
This new lead generation program will continue to gain power and influence, especially as we head into the new year. We recommend signing up for the service now to get a jump on the competition. Don’t get left behind; we want to help.
Which Industries Qualify for Google Local Service Ads?
As of this writing (11/16/2017), Google Local Services ads only available for specific industries and locations:
- Garage Door Services
In the application, however, there is an “Other” option where you can enter your business category. Other verticals they may accept are cleaning services, general contractors, painters, and auto glass services.
Roofers currently aren’t eligible for Local Service ads, however, that may change in the near future.
I am a Home Service Company – Am I Affected by Google Local Services?
If you are not affected now, you will be soon! Google Local Service ads (previously known as Google Home Service ads), are already active in 17 major U.S. cities. By the time the ball drops, Google Local Service ads will be active in more than 30 U.S. cities.
Here is a list of the cities where Local Services ads are currently running:
- Arizona: Phoenix
- California: Los Angeles, Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose
- Florida: Miami
- Georgia: Atlanta
- Illinois: Chicago
- Massachusetts: Boston
- Michigan: Detroit
- New York: New York
- Pennsylvania: Philadelphia
- Texas: Dallas
- Washington: Seattle
- Washington, D.C.
You can do a quick test to see if your service area is in the system already by googling the name of your city followed by a local service provider from the list above (for example: San Jose electrician).
As you can see, the Local Service ad box shows up at the top of Search, above the regular Google AdWords listings and organic Map Listings. These three sections absolutely dominate the search results. You have to scrolls pretty far to even get to the first organic search result.
Google got rid of their sidebar ads about a year ago.
Once you click on “More electricians in San Jose,” you will be taken to a separate results page which lists all of the participating local service businesses, along with a drop-down menu of relevant services next to a zip code look-up.
How Do Google Local Service Ads Work?
Google Local Service ads are competing with other big players in the home service industry, such as Angie’s List, Home Advisor, Yelp, Facebook Professional Services, Amazon Home & Business Services, and others.
In order to appear in GLS ads, you have to apply. It is currently separate from Google AdWords. One you are screened and approved, you will get a Google Guarantee badge and started showing up in the GLS search results.
You only pay if you receive a lead through message or phone call.
If the lead is a mistake or otherwise not valid, you can dispute it and recoup your money for the invalid lead.
Once your application is accepted (license, insurance, and background check), you can personalize your profile page and select the individual areas/geography and predefined services where your GLS ad will appear. You can simply check off the service you want to display. Searchers and companies can choose “Other” if they don’t see their service in the predefined service categories.
The GLS ad box will appear at the top of Search when people google a service in your area. Leads can come in either as a message or phone call. Google will notify you of the lead with an email and notification through the GLS app. Now that lead is your new customer.
Why You Should Consider Google Local Services
Instant Communication Via Local Services App – The Local Service app for business lets you communicate, schedule, and track leads. Everything you need is in one place.
Easy to Turn On and Off Ads – If you have too many leads (a good problem to have), it is very easy to turn on and off your ads when you need.
Guaranteed Trust Badge – Businesses get a green Google Guaranteed badge after applying and getting background checked and meeting certain insurance and licensing requirements. The background checks are provided by Pinkerton Consulting and Investigations, Inc. The trust badge, along with real customer reviews, helps customer feel peace of mind when contacting your business for service. The Google Guarantee covers claims up to the invoice amount, with a lifetime cap of $2,000, although they recommend reaching out to service professional first.
Customizable Profiles – In addition to the Google Guaranteed badge, your business profile also displays your Google reviews. You personalize your profile page with contact info and unique selling propositions (USPs), such as family-owned, BBB rating, same-day service, and years in business.
When Do GLS Ads Show Up?
In the 17 cities where GLS show up, they get triggered whenever someone googles a nearby service or business (for example, “best HVAC company,” “plumbing near me,” or something more specific “electrician to install new outlet.”). You can also search for a service plus a location to find a service provider not in your immediate area.
According to Google, your GLS ranking depends on:
- Your proximity to potential customers’ locations
- Your review score and the number of reviews you receive
- Your responsiveness to customer inquiries and requests
- Your business hours
- Whether or not we’ve received serious or repeated complaints about your business
Your weekly budget also affects your ranking. In order to spread out your ad spend, Google may lower your ranking or pause your ad completely to avoid using up your budget too early.
GLS App (Android and iOS)
Source: blog.google (The Keyword)
- Receive and manage leads
- Communicate with customers about their requests and record notes
- Track your leads and bookings
- View reports about your ad’s performance
- Pause your ad if you’re too busy to accept new leads
- Adjust your budget
When Do You Get Charged for Google Local Service Ads? Costs and Payment
You only pay when you receive a lead through the Google Local Service platform. The costs may vary depending on the type of lead you receive, your location, and job type.
- Set a weekly budget (based on how may leads you want to receive)
- Never exceed your monthly maximum budget (while your ad spend may exceed the weekly budget, it will never go over the monthly maximum budget you set, which is your weekly budget multiplied by the average number of weeks in a month). If you get leads that exceed your monthly max, they will be credited back to you.
- If one of your leads is not a true lead, you can dispute it with Google and potentially get it credited back to you.
- You can see your payment and charge history in the Billing menu of your leads inbox. Learn more about budgets.
How to Get Higher Rankings and More Calls with Google Local Services
We recommend getting a jump-start on the competition by signing up for Google Local Services. Some local service providers, such as Dan Travers of 1-800-ANYTYME Plumbing, Heating and Air have reported booking rate increases of almost 70% since joining the new Local Services ad platform (Google).
To maximize your results and get the most out of Google Local Services, we recommend:
- Maintain consistent NAP (name, address, phone number) across directory sites on the internet. This helps build trust with the search engines. Contact us to make sure your NAP is consistent acorss the internet.
- Optimize your Google My Business (GMB) page. Make sure you complete your GMB listing to rank higher and gain more prominence in Google Local Services, Search, and Maps. It should be correct and complete. Think about hiring a marketing agency such as 3 to update and manage your social/local presence for you. The better the profile, posts, pictures, videos, and reviews, the more likely the clicks and calls. Find ways to stand out.
- Get more reviews. Put together a review generation strategy to gain more testimonials. You need at least 5 Google reviews in order to display your star rating in search and AdWords results (locations settings pull info from your GMB). Contact us
- Increase your weekly budget. Google may pause your ad or rank you lower in the search results in order to spread out your ad spend and not spend it all in a short period of time. If you want more leads and better rankings, increase your budget.
- Respond to as many requests and messages as you can. Even if you are denying service for one reason or another, make sure you send a quick and courteous response. If your repeatedly fail to respond, Google may lower your GLS ad ranking or remove the messaging option from your ad.
VitalStorm knows how complicated running a home service business can be. Leave the marketing and lead generation to us. We specialize in the home service industry, providing everything from websites and social media to PPC and Local Services Ads.
Contact us to get set up with consistent Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) across the internet, Google My Business setup and optimization, reputation management, and building your Google AdWords, Remarketing, and Local Services advertisements.