As anticipated at the beginning of the year, Google’s Local Services Ads are now available for many types of law firms in Georgia. LSAs were first introduced in 2015 in California. Expansion has been much slower than other Google product launches, but we started to see legal services beta tests earlier this year.
The three most important LSA advantages are:
- Ads appear at the top of search results, even above Google Adwords listings.
- A new Google Screened badge adds an extra layer of credibility.
- The fee structure is based on business leads rather than views, clicks, or calls.
Even if advertising isn’t one of your normal marketing activities, you may want to take advantage of this new service while participant volume and prices are low.
Pay-per-lead vs. Pay-per-click
Where Google normally charges when an ad is clicked, Google claims that LSA advertisers only pay for valid “leads” – meaning someone actually interested in your legal services. Google provides call recordings, and a link to dispute invalid leads – wrong practice area, location, sales rep, etc. You may not win every dispute, but this is definitely a big improvement over Google Adwords.
Budgeting is also a little different. You set a weekly budget (monthly roll-up) that Google then associates with a projected amount of leads. This gives you better insight into the cost per lead, rather than the more general cost per click metric. Once you reach your maximum budget, your ad will stop appearing in the page-top display unless you adjust that budget.
Google Screened badge of approval
The Google Screened badge adds an additional level of credibility to each ad – an implied Google endorsement! Through third-party Pinkerton, Google performs a background check on the law firm and its owners. Google also verifies the state bar licenses for each lawyer in the firm. This screening process involves more manual interaction and coordination than traditional Google advertising, so it’s still a little flakey.
Take your time when going through the enrollment and background check processes, or ask PracticeProfs for help. Changes later on can be difficult, and Google response times during the pandemic are slower.
How LSAs can become (short-term) part of your marketing program
LSAs can be geographically targeted, similar to Google Adwords advertising, but advertisers also choose specific practice areas, which makes LSAs easier to implement and manage than other Google keyword-focused advertising. Also similar to Adwords, we expect LSAs to become saturated with competitors, which will ultimately drive up the prices.
There’s a short-term opportunity to enroll now and beat your competitors, especially those who use old-fashioned advertising vendors that are not able to quickly adjust their proprietary systems. Keep an eye on results, and continue while the cost-per-lead remains within your budget. Contact us now to learn more about how Google LSAs can play a role in your comprehensive marketing program.