What are Google Local Service Ads or LSA’s? – Formerly What is Google Guaranteed?
Is no wonder that many businesses are looking at LSA’s or Google Local Service Ads right now. You may ask what exactly are Google Local Service Ads? Google LSA’s are ads from a select group of business categories that show at the very top of a Google search.
These businesses are vetted by Google which requires some government paperwork showing EIN or registration numbers and have to go through a background check to qualify.
These checks include licenses, insurance, and business background checks, see more detail from Google here. We help our clients qualify as well throughout this process and with the recent support issues this can help your business save time.
Google LSA’s show above traditional Google Ads. The advantage of them is obviously placement and they are noticed by your customers. People also have the perception that a Guarantee from Google means a business is more reputable and therefore works very well for certain service-based industries.
How to Get Google Guaranteed.
Only select business categories qualify for Google Guaranteed or Local Service Ads they call it now. The list of categories grows and changes each month so check this website for the latest list to see if you qualify. You will want to select your overall category, if an Orthodontist, you would start at Healthcare, then luckily orthodontist is on the list so you qualify. From there, the page lists the needed documents and checks the Google team will do to get you qualified.
Our agency helps businesses get qualified and makes the process as easy as possible for them. We work directly with Google and since we deal with many accounts as an MCC we have higher standing than if you were to do it yourself so we often get faster approvals and better support. That being said, it is possible to do it yourself. Running and managing ads is a different story if you do it yourself.
What Documents Are Needed for Google Guaranteed?
Businesses need to pass verification and submit documents such as IRS forms to verify their EIN, business licenses, and insurance documentation. Sometimes businesses also have to verify using mobile phone live video of their location as well with a Google team member on a live call. Years ago, this system was full of scammers and Google got tons of heat for not fully verifying those that used it. Due to that, Google has stepped up their verification needs for all businesses in the program; this also means it takes more time to get verified.
We find many businesses often have immediate success with LSA’s but then the dropoff is substantial afterward and support is about zero after the first week for those doing it themselves. The dropoff is common with Google Ads as well, it can occur while Google is in testing phase for your campaigns. The learning phase for Google Guaranteed is said to be 7 days so expect a ramp-up at first followed by a decrease especially if your budgets are low.
What is basically happening is Google LSA’s is testing your ad against others during this time to see how it leads to engagement, conversions, calls, clicks, and if people like your service. If your ad quality is high during this time you have better chances of remaining high. If it is low and people aren’t clicking or interested in your ad then Google is less likely to show it versus other advertisers. This is something our agency can improve for you to get you a better ad quality score to rank and lower your overall cost per lead.
Watch our video analysis of this article
What it looks like when someone clicks on your Google Guaranteed listing.
When someone clicks on your Google Local Service Ad, the ads at the top of Google that say Google Guaranteed, are taken to essentially a Google Maps-style listing of yours. From there, the action is usually directed for a call or to message your business. This makes it really easy for Google to classify Google LSA’s conversions based on people that click the call button or message buttons to initiate contacts. Note that your website is not often given here and instead Google tried to initiate a contact at this point.
What is the difference between Google Screened and Google Guaranteed?
You may have noticed that on some searches it shows Google Guaranteed and some searches shows Google Guaranteed. Businesses that are Google Screened have passed business checks, license checks, and insurance checks but their location has not been verified. Thus there is less qualification for getting Google Screened compared to Google Guaranteed. This is often good for Real Estate agents, Financial planners, and lawyers.
How Long Does it Take to be Google Guaranteed?
Typically it takes 2-5 weeks to be Google Guaranteed for the Google team to review your documents and get responses back to you. Lately, we have seen the Google support side completely drop off if you are not an MCC or agency unfortunately so be advised it could take longer if doing it yourself if you have any document issues or you submit the incorrect items.
Here are some quick facts:
- Many businesses are interested in getting that top spot on Google known previously as Google Guaranteed now Local Services Ads. They are those ads above everything else and you are charged by the lead. Most of our clients are essentially charged per lead anyways now as they pay for conversions that we track but flavor of the month so let’s talk about it.
- A current full list of supported businesses can be found here, see if your business is in one of these categories before reading on.
- LSA’s billing info from Google can be found here
- Offers trust to customers that see Google Guaranteed, helpful if in an industry affected by this
- Voice searches of Google Assistant can hear Google Guaranteed next to your name.
How am I billed for Google Guaranteed?
Google Local Service Ads will bill you based on the same principles as Google Ads of 30 days or $500 spent whichever comes first. For new accounts, this amount might be lower and some accounts it could be higher based on ad spend. In fact, your Google Ads account can be linked to your Local Service Ads account and can use your same billing information making things easier. At Kow Abundant we are able to create new accounts and link accounts to your existing Google Ads through our MCC agency account making things easier for you.
You probably have heard that for Local Service Ads you are only charged for “valid leads”. Google has certain criteria that it considers valid leads.
- Google has certain things they agree are considered “valid leads”
Google also has criteria for what won’t be considered a lead.
From the above, you can see that essentially Google is charging you based on what is called conversion-based bidding. The ironic thing is that traditional Google Ads can do exactly the same thing.
- Most agencies don’t track conversions correctly
- Most Google Ads users don’t have bidding strategies set up correctly
- LSA’s are Google’s way of saying, you all messed up so we are doing this for you now.
That doesn’t mean that mistakes wont be made with Google LSA’s. One of the things we pride ourselves of at our agency, Kow Abundant, is conversion tracking abilities. We make sure that our bidding strategies match our conversion strategies to get the best possible Cost Per Conversion overall. This leads to a note on some disadvantages.
How Much Does Google Guaranteed Ads Cost?
Costs vary widely depending on your industry. There is a lead estimator tool from Google but I cannot recommend it now as the overall lead cost is wildly inaccurate in our experience. We have seen dentists for example our local area of Ohio go for as much as $120 per lead. Exterminators are another high-cost lead as are lawyers where the costs can even be several hundred dollars in a very competitive area and industry. Garage Door Installers is a very high cost per lead and can go for $300+ per lead. There are sometimes though when you can get lower costs per lead and we can help you with that.
We recommend thinking that a lead cost will be $50-150 per lead so you can budget appropriately; sometimes they can be lower sometimes more it really varies per location and industry. For more specific lead costs for your location and industry please contact us. It is a great experiment to try if you are willing as you might be surprised as Google is pushing this service heavily now. When you start with Google Local service ads you have to spend a minimum of $500 per location per month so that is your starting point. If you have lead costs you want to share please comment below as we would love to hear them and we can update this section.
What are the disadvantages to Google Guaranteed?
Nothing is perfect and Google Local Service Ads and Google Guaranteed is no exception. Some disadvantages of using Google Guaranteed include:
- Only available to certain industries
- Requires separate Google Ads budget but paid using same account
- Multiple locations have to be approved with separate budgets each of $500 minimum per month
- Initial cost can be high for some, requires high budgets in some categories to be meaningful and work.
- Lead costs can be very high for some businesses (upwards of $120+ per lead)
- Support is not the best if issues arise
- Possible for customers to take advantage of Google Guaranteed after a job; complaints must be filed within 30 days of job.
- Google Guaranteed offers max customer refund of $2K per job.
- Business must meet certain criteria ongoing, if not meet you can be removed from program.
Read what Google says about being Google Guaranteed.
What if I have multiple locations? Can I use one budget for all my locations?
Google does state that every location has to be vetted and approved in order to qualify. This means that each location would have a separate budget. The minimum budget to start is $500 per month so that would be per location. Lead costs will vary based on your industry as well some have been as low as $50 but some go upwards of several hundred dollars. Talk with Kow Abundant to learn more about your particular industry, if you qualify, and what expected lead costs might be in your area.
Do I need an agency to help me with local service ads or get Google Guaranteed? What if my account already was removed from the program of has another issue?
It is not absolutely necessary to enlist the help of an agency to begin Google Local Service Ads or to be Google Guaranteed. Many businesses call the Google help number to get started and go from there. However, there are many businesses who want guidance through the process and to ensure they can be verified without issues and quickly or maybe in a more competitive industry and want to have the best chance of success.
If you do run into issues with your account, it is actually best to contact us and let us contact Google on your behalf as we have higher account standing than most being an agency and are more likely to get faster responses from Google. It is very important to contact us immediately as most issues not resolved within 30 days will often fall into automated falloff by Google and are much more difficult if not impossible to resolve.
If this sounds like your business then contact us and we can create a LSA account for you.
If you are ready to get started with Local Service Ads, LSA’s and want to be Google Guaranteed but don’t want to deal with all the hassle, then contact Kow Abundant and we can help create an account for you and get you started today. Contact us or Call 614-230-2308