Local Service Ads: The Ultimate Guide To One-Up Your Competition

Pareto Legal

February 19, 2024

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So, imagine you’re at the grocery store at night and there’s only one register open. 

The line gets shorter and shorter as people are being rung up for their groceries. 

You’re next in line when all of a sudden somebody cuts in front of you and says, “Sorry pal, I’ve got the front of the line pass.” and waves a gold card in your face. 

This is beyond frustrating but there’s nothing you can do about it besides accept it. 

Local Service Ads are the equivalent of the ‘front of the line pass’ but for Ads. 

And who wouldn’t want to cut in front of all their competitors?

You get to stand out on the top of the SERP (search engine results page) above all other Search ads with a picture of your attorney, star rating with reviews, hours of operation, and how long you’ve been in business. 

Throughout this article, I will be laying out the ultimate guide to Local Service Ads for your law firm so you can increase leads and cut off your competition. 

What are Local Service Ads? 

Have you ever seen a Google Shopping ad when you search for various products online? 

Notice how they are always at the top of the results page, above the Search PPC ads. 

Local Service Ads are the same, except now we are dealing with Lead Gen businesses like yours instead of e-Commerce. 

Through these paid ads you are able to show much more information than you could if you were only running Search campaigns. 

You can display a picture of a trusted attorney, your Google star rating with the number of reviews, how many years of experience your firm has, and the hours of operation.

Example of a Local Service Ad

From a prospect’s point of view, you can establish much more trust with a law firm where you can easily see who you might be working with, the amount of experience the firm has, and how other people rate your service. 

The more positive reviews and feedback you have, the more people will come to you wanting that same experience.

But we will touch on this more in a later section. 

For now, Local Service Ads are your ticket to the front of the line. 

Don’t let your competitors cut in front of you and take your cases. 

The benefit of Local Service Ads

There are many benefits to Local Service ads, as mentioned in the last point, the added features that add credibility to your firm are already a major win. 

But there are many other benefits: 

  • Pay Per Leads
  • Establishing trust and credibility
  • Relaying social proof

Unlike normal PPC ads where you pay for each click you get, Local Service Ads only charge for a conversation that lasts more than 30 seconds. 

This is an amazing feature because lawyer searches, no matter the practice area, are very expensive when running Search campaigns. 

However, utilizing LSA’s allows you to better control your marketing budget as you are realistically only paying for leads that come through, not clicks. 

Since these are generally phone call leads (other forms of conversion types coming out) these people aren’t looking to window shop. 

I mean when was the last time you willingly wanted to talk to a salesperson if you know that you aren’t going to buy anything?

These people need assistance, and they want it now!

So, make it easier on them by showing your firm at the top of the Search Engine Results Page. 

Local Service Ads also enable your firm to establish trust and credibility through the  “Google Screened Badge” and your reviews & rating numbers. 

Having the green check mark next to your ad shows prospects that you are a legit business with reputable cases.

While some may not think that’s a big deal… If you were in their shoes, would you take the chance of giving your personal information to a law firm that you don’t know if they are legit or professional?

Probably not! 

The ratings and reviews are also extremely important to your business rating. 

When you look on Amazon for products, what is the most important thing you look at before making that purchase? 

The reviews!

If somebody has a great result with that product or service, many other people want to have that same experience. Especially if they are already looking to buy or sign up!

The more reviews – positive ones – you can get the higher LSA ranking you achieve and the more trust and credibility you receive from the start. 

What kind of law firms can use LSA’s?

With Google being a full-on business, we know that they don’t discriminate in who is able to use their products and services. 

In fact, that would mean that they are missing out on valuable data and profits. 

Here is a list of law firms that are eligible to use Local Service Ads: 

  • Bankruptcy Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Estate Law
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • Malpractice Law
  • Tax Law
  • Business Law
  • Disability Law
  • Family Law 
  • Labor Law
  • Personal Injury Law
  • Traffic Law
  • Contract Law
  • DUI Law
  • Immigration Law
  • Litigation Law
  • Real Estate Law

Phew, that was a lot!

Now if you don’t see your practice area on this list, don’t worry!

Google has constantly brought updates to its Local Service Ads since its launch in 2015. 

So stay on the lookout and keep updated with us to see any major updates that can be relevant to you. 

How to set up your first Local Service Ad

The first step in setting up your first LSA would be to fill in your service locations specific to your law firm (Country, State,  Zip Code, and Job Category). 

Pretty self-explanatory here, just make sure to fill this in correctly and choose “Law” as your job category. 

The second step would be to choose what practice areas you would specialize in for your law firm.

From Local Service Ads eligibility page (source)

Something to also remember is that depending on your practice area you might have some more options to refine and optimize to make this more specific to your law firm. 

For example, personal injury will have various different specifications since this is a broad category. 

  • Assault & battery
  • Auto accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Catastrophic injuries
  • Dog bites
  • Injuries from DUI
  • Medical malpractice
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Motorist insurance claims
  • Pain & suffering
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Product liability
  • Slip & fall
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Wrongful death

The third step would be to fill in your business information and if you have a physical location.

Bonus point if you realized this is from the TV Show ‘Suits’

Once you fill in all your business information as accurately as possible, the next part of this step would be to choose the specific services you offer within your practice area as mentioned before. 

Feel free to choose as many or as few as you would like as long as they are relevant to your firm. 

Following this would be choosing your business hours of operation. 

Most firms are usually open 24/7 to take in leads, but if this isn’t the case for you, this is the place where you would specify your hours. 

To finish off this step, you will see a preview of the ad and profile you have just created!

Don’t worry, you can adjust these at a later point in time. 

The fourth and final step would be to go through a verification process so that Google knows you are a legitimate law firm. 

Not just impersonating one of your favorite TV shows…

And that’s it! 

You’ve finished your first Local Service Ad for your law firm and are on your way to getting more leads!

The best practices to increase leads

Now that you have completed your first Local Service Ad and are reaping the benefits of appearing at the top of the SERP, what can you do to get more leads? 

Reviews. Reviews. Reviews. 

Your overall review rating (i.e., 4.5/5 stars) and the number of reviews is one of the key elements that tell Google that your service is trusted and rated highly by others. 

Since there are few areas for your business to show social proof when using LSA’s you want to maximize those areas to show your dominance over others. 

724 reviews with a 4.9/5 star rating vs. a 5/5 star rating but only 40 reviews

When looking at the screenshot above there are a few things to discuss…

  • Total number of reviews
  • The star rating based on reviews
  • Hours of operation

As we see the difference between the 3 businesses we have shown in the LSA’s above they all fluctuate in the amount of reviews and the star rating given.

If you are looking at this from a prospect’s perspective for a law firm to help assist with your case and have the best chance of winning, you will most likely choose the first one as seen above. 

The reason is that they have a high star rating based on the significant amount of reviews. 

724 reviews is no feat to underestimate, but what’s more impressive is that the star rating is almost a perfect 5/5. 

Seemingly, from almost every review that was left on this business that prospect had a positive experience. 

This is so important because as mentioned previously, when somebody has a great experience with handling their service, others want to have that same level of expertise and success as they did. 

Your social proof is the ticket to showing prospects your superiority. 

Next, the hours of operation are important to talk about because as you see here during the time of the search we see the third business is closing soon

An inquiry can happen at any time of the day and day of the week. 

While some law firms are not all open 24/7 we can see how that may affect the prospect’s choice to call that firm over the other that is available all the time. 

Should you call within the closing hours of the firm being open the thoughts that go through the prospect’s mind are: 

  • The call might not get answered since it’s late
  • Possibility of the phone operator being in a hurry to get through the call
  • The law firm that’s open 24/7 will be more receptive and understanding

So, while we are not saying you should adjust your firm to be open 24/7 if you cannot have anyone there to answer, but keep in mind that your Local Service Ads might start to lose traction in the final hours of the work day. 

Bonus: Things to keep in mind

As your law firm starts to gain traction from using Local Service Ads, in the Lead dashboard you see 5 different category boxes.

Find this menu from the ‘Leads’ section under your Local Service Ad

When your leads pile into the ‘New/Active’ category you want to make sure you follow up with these calls and mark them as either ‘Booked’ or ‘Archived’. 

You also want to make sure that you are not missing any phone calls due to any reason. 

The reason is that Google monitors the activity from your dashboard as it always wants to give users the most positive experience all around. 

So, if calls are being missed or not updated within the Leads dashboard, Google will rank your law firm lower in the rankings due to Google wanting to provide all prospects with the highest level of service.

Closing thoughts

Local Service Ads are a great way for your law firm to increase brand exposure and close more leads compared to just running PPC ads alone. 

The benefits of appearing at the top of the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) show social proof of your law firm to many more potential prospects including star ratings, reviews, business hours, and service areas.

Continue to get reviews and high ratings for your law firm because that is how you establish superiority and dominance over competitor firms. 

Use these best practices and step-by-step guide to set up your first successful Local Service Ad and take your marketing to the next level. 

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