Google local service ads cover

Google Local Service Ads (LSAs) are a fantastic way for local service businesses to generate leads and customers fast. 

We're going to show you exactly who should take advantage of local service ads, and how to set them up for optimal success.

What Are Local Service Ads?

Google Local Service Ads

Google LSAs always appear at the top of Google search results for relevant local businesses.

They are ads which display information including the business name, reviews, phone number, opening hours, area served etc. The adverts come with a "Google guarantee" badge as well, which adds an element of trust.

These types of ads ONLY work with local businesses - Like plumbers, lawyers, dentists etc. You can’t use these ads if you’re a software provider for example. 

LSAs get pushed to the very top of Google, showing off your company’s reviews and making sure that you get priority over all the other local businesses. We use LSAs with many of our own local service clients, because it’s the absolute best way to ‘cheat’ your way to the top of Google. 

These ads feel super natural because they have reviews beside them as well.

Google guarantee LSA

The Benefits of Local Service Ads

With traditional Google ads, you pay every time someone clicks on your advert.

However with local service ads, you only pay each time you get a legitimate lead. 

This is great for local businesses - You only pay for customers, not clicks. 

The idea is therefore that your risk is greatly reduced since you don't have to pay for meaningless clicks. 

With LSAs, the customer is always pushed towards taking an action such as booking an appointment or making a phone call.

LSA schedule appointment

LSAs vs Google Ads

LSAs are completely separate to the Google Ads platform.

You'll sign in to manage local service ads in a separate dashboard, and these ads show up in a different location as well.

There are 4 key differences between Google LSAs and Google Ads:

  1. With Google Ads, you pay per click. 
  2. With Google LSAs, you pay per lead. 
  3. Google LSAs will always show up above traditional Google Ads for qualifying industries.
  4. However, with Google LSAs, targeting specific keywords is impossible, which causes challenges. 

Here's how they appear different in the search results:

LSA vs Google Ads

Downsides of Google LSAs

So far we have made Google LSAs sound amazing, but they’re often still not as effective as traditional search ads, primarily because you have limited control over: 

  • Keywords
  • Ads being served (can’t change text)
  • Landing pages

There are some additional factors that mean advertisers won't like LSAs as much as traditional Google search ads, and it all comes down to control.

1. Limited Control Over Keywords

  • LSAs are triggered based on the services you offer and the geographical area you define, with Google then automatically matching your ad with relevant searches. You have literally no control on keywords!  
  • Traditional Google Search Ads allow for very specific keyword targeting and adding negative keywords - You just don't have this control with LSAs.  

2. Limited Geographic Reach:

  • LSAs are designed for local services only, which is great for local visibility! But if you're looking to go National, you're going to have limited reach.
  • Traditional Search Ads have much more flexibility in terms of geographic reach. 

3. Pay-Per-Lead vs. Pay-Per-Click:

  • LSAs charge per lead (calls, messages, appointments), which sounds great in theory! However, one major complaint is that advertisers end up paying for leads that do not ever convert into sales, leading to some contentious arguments over paying for those leads in the first place.
  • Traditional Search Ads operate on a pay per click (PPC) basis. You pay for clicks, which means you pay for traffic. If you have amazing landing pages and conversion, then you'll often end up paying less in total for your leads. 

4. Less Creative Control:

  • LSAs offer very limited space for creative content. Ads pretty much all show the same thing like they would in the local map pack - your business name, reviews & location. So you can't really show off any exciting promotions or ad copy. 
  • Traditional Search Ads on the other hand give you far more control over creative ad messaging, headlines and different landing pages to push users towards. 

5. Dependence on Reviews:

  • LSAs heavily rely on your Google My Business (GMB) reviews for rankings! So if you have weak reviews, you're not going to get much success at all with LSAs. So for example if you're a newer business with few reviews, it's going to be challenging to use LSAs effectively. 
  • Traditional Search Ads rely more on relevance, post-click experience, bidding strategies etc. You have far more control to convince buyers. 

Google Local Service Ads Industries

Google LSA dentists

There's actually a very specific list of industries that are currently eligible to use Google Local Service ads.

Here's the current full list of eligible industries:

Education Services

  • Beauty school
  • Dance instructor
  • Driving instructor
  • First aid training
  • Massage school
  • Language instructor
  • Preschool
  • Tutoring

People Care Services

  • Child care
  • Funeral home

Beauty Services

  • Hair stylist
  • Barbers 
  • Beauty 
  • Nails
  • Lash extensions
  • Piercing studio

Pet care

  • Animal shelter
  • Pet adoption
  • Pet boarding
  • Pet grooming
  • Pet training
  • Veterinarian

Wellness Services

  • Acupuncturist
  • Personal trainer
  • Yoga studio
  • Weight loss center

Health Care Services

  • Dentists
  • Optometrists
  • Podiatrists
  • Primary care

Home Services

  • Appliance repair
  • Carpenter
  • Carpet cleaning
  • Cleaning service
  • Countertop pro
  • Electrician
  • Fencing pro
  • Flooring
  • Foundation pro
  • Garage door pro
  • General contractor
  • Handyperson
  • Home inspector
  • Home security
  • Home theater
  • House cleaner
  • HVAC
  • Junk removal
  • Landscaper
  • Lawn care
  • Locksmith
  • Mover
  • Pest control
  • Plumber
  • Pool cleaning
  • Pool contractor
  • Roofer
  • Sewage system
  • Siding pro
  • Snow removal
  • Tree service
  • Water damage
  • Window cleaner
  • Window repair

Automotive Services

  • Mechanic
  • Body shop
  • Installers

Finance Services

  • Financial planner
  • Tax specialist
  • Accounting services

Real Estate Services

  • Real estate agent

Legal Services

  • Bankruptcy lawyer
  • Business lawyer
  • Contract lawyer
  • Criminal lawyer
  • DUI lawyer
  • Estate lawyer
  • Family lawyer
  • Immigration lawyer
  • IP lawyer
  • Labor lawyer
  • Litigation lawyer
  • Malpractice lawyer
  • Personal injury lawyer
  • Real estate lawyer
  • Tax lawyer
  • Traffic lawyer

If your business doesn't fall under one of these umbrellas, then you won't be able to use Google Local Service ads.

Google is quite often adding to the list of eligible businesses, but the point is that it helps real local businesses that serves a specific geographical area.

How To Set Up Local Service Ads

Google has a very strict screening process in place for local service ads, and you'll only be admitted if you get Google guaranteed, which is fairly easy to get started with via the 

There's a process to get them set up:

  1. Eligibility - Tell Google about your business type and location.
  2. GMB - Ensure you have a Google my Business profile set up.
  3. Licenses - You'll need to upload various licenses to make sure you're all set up correctly, and Google will carefully check these.
  4. Background Checks - For many industries (like law for example) Google will also run background checks on your business and employees.

So there is quite a barrier to entry in terms of getting set up with Google Local Service ads - They won't give you the 'Google guarantee' without carefully assessing your company first to make sure you're legitimate. 

Cost of LSAs

Estimated cost local service ads

The average cost per lead from local service ads is between $25-45 per lead.

👉 Google has an LSA cost calculator (scroll down on this page) that will estimate your cost per lead based on your location and industry.

Various factors impact the cost:

  • Industry: High-demand and high cost services like plumbing will demand a higher cost per lead vs. other services like local services like a local yoga studio.  
  • Location: If your business is operating in a high-cost and competitive area like Manhattan, then cost is of course going to be higher. The good news is Google will let you know how many leads you should expect with your budget.
  • Lead type: The type of lead can also affect the cost e.g. message vs. scheduled appointment.

Here's how Google charges for Local Service Ads:

  • Cost-per-Lead Basis: Google charges businesses for each lead generated.
  • Budget Control: Advertisers will set a weekly budget and then Google will give you an estimate of leads based on that budget. 
  • Monthly Cap: You'll set a monthly spend cap that doesn't get exceeded. 

Keys to LSA Performance

Here are the best practices to getting strong performance from your local service ads:

  • Proximity: Businesses are judged based on their proximity to the searcher. 
    • Optimal radius for targeting varies by niche. For example, plumbers may have a 30-50 mile radius, while injury lawyers can extend up to 300 miles.
  • Reviews: The number of reviews received in a given period will impact your visibility. 
    • Aim for at least 1-2 good reviews per week.
  • Responsiveness: How quickly you respond and engage with leads will impact your visibility as well.
    • Answer phone calls within 30 seconds with real humans, not AI or automation. 
    • Respond to message leads within a few hours within the same day. 
    • Turn off ads during hours when you can't ensure a quick reply e.g. weekends, holidays.

Are Local Service Ads Worth It?

LSA costs

We've ran local service ads for hundreds of client accounts, so we have some strong insights on who should use them and when. 

We ONLY ever use LSAs if we’re confident that our client has an incredible sales pitch and process. 

They must also have excellent staff on hand to answer calls all day long. 

👉 This is because LSAs are much harder to target vs. traditional Google search ads, and encourage immediate calling / contact.

Google Local Service ads are absolutely worth it if you have a very strong sales process in place as well and exceptionally strong Google reviews.

We've been able to consistently generate leads for $30-50 for a whole range of local servie businesses, which is outstanding.

But on the flipside, we've had smaller clients try LSAs and suffered with low conversion rates because they simply can't close enough of the leads coming there way.

So if you're going to invest in LSAs, just make sure you have the infrastructure and capacity to fulfil all of your leads and commit to follow ups and a very strong sales & review collection process. 

Our recommendation is to carefully test local service ads and very closely monitor lead quality as well! 

Stewart Dunlop