Small businesses are always searching for ways to increase visibility in search engine results. For some time, one of the best ways to do so was through advertising with Google Ads, a pay-per-click (PPC) platform that gives advertisers top placement in search engine results. Then, Google launched Local Services Ads, which gives local businesses even more opportunities to be found by customers via local search. Check out the differences between these platforms and how your small business can take advantage of them!
- What Is Google Ads?
- What Is Local Services Ads?
- The Differences Between Google Ads & Local Services Ads
- Benefits of Using Local Services Ads
What Is Google Ads?
Google Ads is an online advertising platform that allows businesses to rank at or near the top of Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) via paid advertising. These ads can show above organic search results, giving paid advertisers a chance to be found by customers precisely when they’re searching for a specific product or service. While there’s no guarantee your local business’ ad will be chosen to rank at the top, Google Ads increases the odds of consumers seeing your ad, clicking your link, and visiting your website.
What Is Local Services Ads?
Similar to Google Ads, Local Services Ads is another advertising platform offered by Google. The difference, however, is that by using Local Services ads, your business may actually rank above Google Ads in highly targeted searches. Select business types can quickly be found by searchers looking for a particular service in their local area, such as a plumber, roofer, or legal professional.
Advertisers select from a list of services within their industry, and when a consumer in their area searches for those specific services, their business will be eligible to be shown at the top of SERPs. To determine which local businesses show in the Local Services Ads results, Google uses a combination of:
- Operating hours
- Proximity to the searcher’s location
- Review score and number of reviews
- Responsiveness to customer questions, comments, and requests
Google Local Services Ads show up at the very top of the search results and display reviews, location, hours of operation, and the business’ phone number. Verified businesses can also earn a green checkmark called The Google Guarantee, further earning consumers’ trust. Up to three Local Services Ads can show for desktop results, while two ads can show for mobile results.
The Differences Between Google Ads & Local Services Ads
Though there are similarities between the two advertising platforms, there are also distinct differences between Google Ads and Local Services Ads. Keep these in mind as your local business considering your online advertising options.
Pay Per Click vs. Pay Per Lead
Google Ads uses traditional PPC advertising, in which advertisers pay each time a consumer clicks on their ad, regardless of whether or not they’re a good fit or if they convert. When using Local Services Ads, however, advertisers only pay for valid leads—that is, consumers who take an action, such as a phone call, text message, or booking request. The latter is a more cost-efficient way of reaching the right customers and only paying when they take the desired action.
With Google Ads, advertisers need to conduct keyword research to find the specific terms their target audience uses in search and then bid on those terms to determine their ad’s placement and how much they’ll pay for it. With Local Services Ads, however, Google does the heavy lifting on keyword research. Local business owners select job types that describe the products and services they offer. Based on those selections, Google decides which keywords are relevant. For instance, a local plumbing company could show up for search terms such as “plumber near me” or “leaky faucet underneath the sink.”
Local Services Ads remove the burden of requiring business to create quality ad copy. Unlike Google Ads, Local Services Ads prominently display a business’ name, information, rating, and, when applicable, the Google Guarantee icon. With these ads, you don’t have to come up with unique copy, conduct A/B tests, or monitor ad performance. Google handles it all for you and places your business in appropriate ads, all based on your location and industry.
As of now, Local Services Ads are only available for certain industries in select cities. Google continues to expand the reach of Local Services Ads, but they’re unfortunately not available across the country just yet. You can find a list of services Google covers and if they’re available in your area here.
Benefits of Using Local Services Ads
When used correctly, incorporating Local Services Ads can give your local SEO strategy a major boost. Here are a few reasons you should consider using Google’s local SEO services.
Better Visibility for Ads
Because they’re often the first thing a consumer sees when conducting a local search, Local Services Ads receive 13.8% of local SERP clicks. In fact, when Google LSAs are present, 25.3% of all clicks are on paid results.
Only Charged for Leads
You won’t pay unless a consumer takes a specific action, such as contacting your business. You set a weekly budget for how much you’d like to spend on leads that week (Google will never exceed your maximum budget). You can increase or decrease your budget, depending on the number of leads you receive.
Earn Trust with Google Guarantee
If you apply for and pass Google’s screening process, your small business can earn a coveted Google Guarantee badge (i.e., a bright green checkmark next to your business name). This type of endorsement from Google goes a long way in gaining consumers’ trust—and, in turn, their clicks and business.
Take Advantage of Targeted Searches
Because Google is trying to deliver the best results to searchers, it tries to put your business in front of them at the exact moment they need or want to find you. That makes them more likely to click on your ad or learn more about your business.
Highlight Positive Reviews
Local Services Ads prominently display the ratings for small businesses right under the company’s name. If your business has a good rating and strong reviews, you can instantly gain customer trust.
Stand Out in Google Maps
Google Maps highlights businesses with local search ads with a purple pin. These stand out from the traditional red pins and make it more likely that a searcher checks out your small business.
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