What do Google Local Services Ads (LSA) mean for my business?
Google Local Services Ads are a new ad format being rolled out onto Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP). As a service-based small to medium local business Local Service Ads are only part of the compelling reason why all small businesses need to be participating in paid advertising on Google. Google understands that local advertising on Google needs to be geographically refined, and, as such, small businesses in regional cities such as Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and Warrnambool need to jump onto the Google Local Services Ads (LSA) opportunity when it becomes available in Australia.
At Goop Digital, keeping up with the changes at Google is part of our daily lives. Google is a commercial business and it’s in Google’s interest to derive income from its search engine. The interesting part is Google endeavours to increase income whilst continually striving to enhance the user experience. With Google Local Services Ads we think Google has smacked it out of the ball park. If you are a small business now is the time to start participating in paid advertising on Google.
As Google continues its stranglehold on being the premium contact point when consumers need to find a local business, product or service, the search engine company is forever finding new ways to capitalise on commercial opportunities. Those commercial opportunities will also benefit local business that grasp these opportunities and ultimately provide a premium result for the Google user. History shows that those businesses bold enough to grab new ideas in the digital marketing space first can typically drive a huge advantage before the market gets too cluttered with several players. With the complexities of bidding systems on the Google network with elements such as AdRank and Quality Scores, those who get involved with paid advertising on Google first tend to reap the greatest rewards.
Google Local Services Ads is the newest kid on the block and it really is honing search experience for those users performing local searches. At the time of writing this blog, LSA is currently only available in America and Canada and a limited version in the UK, but rest assured it’s coming Down Under.
Things to note about LSA
Google reviews are major highlight. If you look at the following example you will see that local reviews gain even more prominence. If you don’t have Google reviews or you have poor Google reviews it’s time to get some good ones or fix your current ranking ratings. If you need help here reach out to your digital marketing agency. They should know what to do.
The Google Guarantee is a massive leap forward in digital marketing and gives the consumer an enormous reason to book a local service provider via the LSA ad.
What the Google Guarantee Covers
Part of the terms of service for the Google guarantee (see Local Services help for more information)
- “If you’re not satisfied with the quality of service, Google will cover claims up to the cost of the initial service, with a lifetime cap for coverage of $2000.”
- “Your service must be booked through Local Services. Add-on or future services, damages to property, dissatisfaction with price or responsiveness of the business, and cancellations aren’t covered. Claims must be submitted within 30 days of the initial service completion date.”
These terms and conditions relate to the US market and may vary for different countries and regions.
As usual, Google is releasing LSA for specific industries, and locksmiths and plumbers have again come in on the test platform. It has expanded to other industries in the US now but Google is keeping LSA capped by industry category for the time being.
How do I register to become Google Guaranteed?
In Australia at the time of writing this blog you can’t yet register for LSA but it won’t be long and as a small to medium business you will need to get onto this quickly when the opportunity to Australian businesses becomes available. So what you will need to do in the interim as recommended by Goop Digital is:
- Set up a Google Ads account (do this now as a priority)
Once the opportunity becomes available:
- Check your eligibility and estimate your spend
- Create your Ad and Local Service profile
- Upload your licence and insurance details (critical for the Google Guarantee)
- Get verified and background checked (by Google)
Will Google Local Services Ads make a difference?
Whilst the format is still relatively new, Bright Local has written an excellent blog and revealed key findings about Google’s LSA. The blog, even at this early stage, really drives home that local businesses need to get involved. I believe that for small to medium businesses in regional cities and towns in Australia, Google Local Services Ads will be a game changer. Some key points form the Bright Local blog include:
- “Local Services ads by Google receive 13.8% of local SERP clicks”
- “When LSAs are present, 25.3% of all clicks are on paid results. When LSAs are absent, this is 14.6% – a difference of 10.7%”
And as pointed out by Tom Waddington in the blog:
“If Google decides to educate consumers about LSA and what ‘Google Guaranteed’ means, LSA is where consumers will go.”
How do I activate Google Local Services Ads (LSA) for my business?
In Australia there isn’t a lot you can do for the time being but if you would like updates on what is happening, feel free to contact us and leave your details and we can get in touch with you to keep you updated.
What to do next as a small business in Australia wanting to activate Local Services Ads.
Currently there are a couple of things you can do in preparation for the roll out of Google LSA, especially if you are a plumber or a locksmith. These tend to be Google’s go-to favourite beta testers.
- Focus on generating Google reviews. Now more than ever this is something you need to focus on.
- Set up a Google Ads account and ideally start running Google Ads as a priority (don’t scrimp on your budget)
At Goop Digital we believe Google’s Local Service Ads has the potential to be a gamechanger for small to medium businesses Australia wide. This could well be the tipping point for small businesses to becoming actively involved in participating in paid advertising on Google. As we say at Goop Digital “it’s not a matter of if, but when” you start paid advertising on Google.
Ballarat, Bendigo, Dubbo, Geelong, Echuca, Shepparton? It doesn’t matter. If you want to grow and actively generate new business from Google you will need to participate. Call us now so we can at least get you started in preparation.