What are these new Local Services Ads from Google? And how can your business take advantage of them? Read on to learn about this disruptive new innovation.
Google rolled out Local Service ads in 30 cities in the US during Q4 2017. These ads are in the top position—above paid search, maps, and organic listings—and rather than using the cost-per-click model of AdWords, these ads are cost-per-lead. With just three placements available with eye-catching details like “GOOGLE GUARANTEED” and business’ star ratings, Local Service Ads are going to be a real game changer.
To be sure you make the right decisions for your business when considering Local Service ads, you need to understand these five details:
1. Cities Where Local Service Ads are Live
Google is starting Local Service ads in just 30 US metropolitan areas.
|Atlanta, GA||Baltimore, MD||Boston, MA|
|Charlotte, NC||Chicago, IL||Cincinnati, OH|
|Dallas, TX||Denver, CO||Detroit, MI|
|Houston, TX||Las Vegas, NV||Los Angeles, CA|
|Miami, FL||Minneapolis, MN||New York, NY|
|Orlando, FL||Philadelphia, PA||Phoenix, AZ|
|Pittsburgh, PA||Portland, OR||Riverside, CA|
|San Antonio, TX||San Diego, CA||Seattle, WA|
|SF Bay Area, CA||Sacramento, CA||St. Louis, MO|
|Tampa, FL||Stockton, CA||Washington, DC|
First, you’ll need to confirm that Local Service ads are even an option for your market. Then, as part of setup, you’ll define your specific service area within that metro. This is done at a zip code level. The searchers proximity to your service areas plays a major factor in whether or not you’ll show an ad in the top three positions, so getting this right is key!
2. Google Guaranteed Badges
Any HVAC company can use Local Service ads, but the winners will be those who achieve the Google Guaranteed badge. Appearing in all caps, the badge is a huge trust indicator—and it’s another of the ranking factors for your business to appear in one of the top three Local Service ad positions.
Google introduced the Guarantee badge to eliminate illegitimate companies from scamming consumers and poaching business from legitimate HVAC companies like yours. To get a Google Guaranteed badge for your company, you’ll have to provide evidence of your professionalism and high standards. This includes:
- Background checks. Three levels of background checks are currently required
- One on the business entity
- One on the business owner
- One on every field employee
- Proof of insurance
- Business license details including license type, expiration date, and license number
Getting this information together can be a bit of an ordeal, especially if you have a sizable field staff. But unfortunately, it is the only way to get the Google Guarantee badge. In our experience, once you complete the documentation, it takes two or three weeks for the badge to be added to a business account.
3. What You Pay For (and How Much)
Businesses using Local Service ads will set a weekly budget for the total number of leads they are willing to pay for. HVAC costs-per-lead vary slightly by market. At the time of publication, rates were as follows:
|Cost Per Lead||Cities|
|$22||Boston, Pittsburgh, Portland|
|$24||Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Minneapolis, New York, Seattle, St. Louis|
|$25||Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Orlando, Riverside, San Antonio, San Diego, Los Angeles, SF Bay Area, Sacramento, Stockton, Washington, DC|
|$26||Baltimore, Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tampa|
So what does your ~$25/lead get you? A phone call from a specific, tracked Google phone number. If you get a phone call through Google Local Service ads and it isn’t valid, you can immediately dispute it and get your money back.