If you’ve tried to connect to local clients, you’ve probably spent a portion of your marketing budget on a mobile-friendly website, as well as advertisements on social media platforms, and pay-per-click advertising.
But, if you’re not focusing on local service ads for lawyers, you’re definitely missing out on the most highly qualified leads around, considering 46% of Google’s searches are looking for local information.
Google local service ads are a new form of paid search ads that appear at the top of search engine result pages (SERPs), above organic and PPC results. They are only visible to potential clients in your geographical area.
Unlike PPC ads, you only pay if a potential client contacts you directly through the ad. Designed to match local businesses with potential customers, this lead-generation tool connects clients directly to you through call, text, or your intake software.
Google’s local service ads for lawyers are a great supplement to local SEO strategies. They display on desktops, tablets, and mobile searches, and they feature in Google Assistant’s response to relevant voice search queries.
Local service ads for lawyers undergo a background check by Google to ensure they deliver credible information to internet users.
Case in point: Law firms have to verify their law license/bar number and proof of insurance. Furthermore, businesses also need to have a Google My Business address with at least one client review with an average score of 3.0/5.
Local service ads are a game-changer for smaller firms because they allow them to compete on a level playing field against larger competing law firms. Through the prioritization of geographical location and positive reviews, Google recognizes many smaller firms provide excellent customer service and should be rewarded with search result prominence.
For example, if a user is searching for a criminal defense law firm in Boston, it doesn’t make sense to present them with information about a law firm in Chicago.
Local service ads for lawyers also operate on a pay-per-lead basis and are cheaper than pay-per-click ads. You are only charged for actual calls from potential customers that last at least 30 seconds, or if you receive a text or online intake generated through Google’s LSA app. It is estimated local service ads can reduce your monthly paid ads budget two thirds.
These ads are also placed at the top of all other search engine results, including regular Google Ads. This gives your law firm a true advantage since the top results generally receive the most clicks. More clicks = more traffic = a better overall website ranking.
Once you are logged into Google Ads, you will need to follow a series of prompts. These include filling in basic details such as your law firm’s work history, contact details, languages spoken, and founding date.
Next, you have to designate your service area on Google Maps and provide the zip code. It’s wise to designate several areas or “multiple offices” in nearby suburbs to broaden your reach. Be sure to include all the relevant information.
Lastly, you will need to complete a Google screening. Provide as much detail as possible, so Google can successfully complete the screening process and verify your firm. Local service ads connect search engine users with law firms that match their search queries; the more detailed, the more accurate their pairing.
Google Ads is synonymous with digital marketing. As a toolkit, it’s a one-stop-shop that provides almost everything for law firms to advertise online. However, smaller law firms may find pay-per-click advertising less effective, as larger firms usually have more budget to place higher bids.
Local services ads appear as blocks at the top of a search engine results page. They are formatted the same, with each ad showcasing the firm’s review rating, location, telephone number, availability, and Google’s green verification tick. This levels the legal services’ playing field because there is no image display to detract from competitors, and greater ad spend doesn’t automatically improve visibility.
There are a few key differences between local service ads for lawyers and pay-per-click advertisements. Namely, the factors that determine their rank on SERPs.
Local service ads first appear on search engine results pages, and their placements are unaffected by the price of Google Ad bidding.
Instead, the search engine evaluates the firm’s proximity to the searcher, the law firm’s online reputation, reviewing ranking, and quality of engagement with the local service ad app to determine its ads rank.
Following these small details can make a big difference in ROI and ensure you rank high in search results.
Besides location, your business review score is by far the most important factor in outranking competitors. An average rating of 4.5 stars and up, will 100% get you to the top of the page.
Review volume is also significant. The more positive reviews you have, the more reliable your professional services appear to Google. You can use the local service ads’ dashboard to collect reviews from happy clients.
A review strategy should also be part of your digital marketing strategy. Integrating review requests via email marketing is one way to collect reviews once a job is complete. Aim to get between five and ten 4.+ star reviews per month.
Your law firm’s responsiveness also plays an influential role in your local service ads’ ranking. Google favors legal firms that respond in a timely manner because they provide a good user experience.
Even if prospective clients are a good fit, you should always respond quickly, so your ad rank doesn’t take a hit. In fact, businesses that have a professional follow-up strategy increase their closing rates by at least 10%.
We’d also advise having an ad schedule that coincides with the business hours you’re available to respond to customer calls. If you’re out of the office, you can also pause your ads to stop them from displaying.
Getting Google Guaranteed and Google Screened are both free. Receiving this little green badge certification lets potential customers know your business has been verified by Google as a trustworthy company that provides satisfactory work.
In the legal industry, which is highly competitive, your top competitors are likely already certified by Google, leaving you with little choice but to follow suit if you want your Google local services ads to rank.
If other law firms have this status, and you don’t, your local service ads will be served lower in results, resulting in a loss of potential clients.
Your budget will vary depending on location, practice areas, and how many new leads your law firm can handle. Although you may be wary of setting aggressive bids, setting the bar too low won’t yield the greatest ROI.
As a general, rule of thumb, you should set your budget two-to-three times higher than what you plan on spending. When you specify your budget, Google will tell you upfront, based on their analytics data, how many leads you can expect.
Google offers two bidding modes:
The search engine will always recommend “maximize leads” for it to make the most profit, but we suggest selecting the “set max per lead” option. This lets you control what you’re willing to pay and familiarize yourself with how the platform works first.
It’s super easy to adjust your bidding amount at any time, once you figure out what works best for your local service ads.
If you want to set up local service ads for your law firm but don’t know how to, we can help. We’re a full-service digital marketing agency that specializes in marketing for law firms. We’ll carefully assess your data and tailor a strategic growth plan, including the implementation of local service ads, to help you stand out against local competitors. Call us now!
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