5 Tips to Dominate Local Service Ads for Contractors

Ben Levesque • June 21, 2019

 

 

Google’s ad format for home service providers, called local service ads (or LSAs for short) are a must if you want to dominate your local market.

And even though they can be a pain to get up and running, they are well worth the hassle. We’ve helped some of our customers increase their monthly lead volume by as much as 50% simply by implementing local service ads.

Still, that doesn’t mean LSAs are the easy fix to all your lead generation problems. Because like regular Google Ads, you’re still competing with other contractors in your area whenever someone searches for the services you offer.

In other words, there are a few things you need to be doing right, and doing better than your competitors, in order to make the most out of local service ads.

But first…

get more home improvement leads

What are local service ads?

If you aren’t familiar with local service ads, they’re a relatively new Google ad type created specifically for home service providers in which you’re able to pay per lead instead of per click.

These LSAs typically get triggered whenever someone searches for keywords related to home services (ie: roofing, window replacement, painting, etc.)

As of today (who knows what Google has in store for the future), up to 3 Local Service Ads will appear on Desktop, 2 on Mobile, and 1 via the Google Assistant.

These local service ads show up at the top of search engine results pages, in card-like boxes as seen below:

local-search-ad-desktop
source: Wordstream

As you can see, they take up a good chunk of first-page real estate, making them a must-have part of any contractor marketing strategy.

How to get set up with Google’s local service ads

Rather than reinvent the wheel, here are some useful resources that will walk you through how to get set up with LSAs for your contracting business:

With that out of the way, let’s look at the 5 factors that will allow you to outrank your competition with local service ads.

How to rank higher with local service ads

Just like with regular old PPC ads for contractors, you’ll also be competing with other advertisers for the top local service ad spots in your area.

Here’s what Google looks at when determining which ads to display for specific searches:

1. Your review score and the number of reviews you receive

By far the most important factor in outranking your competitors with local service ads is having a good volume of quality reviews.

After speaking with our Google representative about LSAs, he even went as far as saying that you need to have an average star rating of 4.8 to be considered among the first few local service ads shown at the top of the page.

Volume of reviews is important, but quality is the ultimate deciding factor. Make sure you go over and above for your customers to leave them no choice but to give you a stellar review.

To facilitate that process, use the local service ads dashboard to collect reviews once a job is complete:

getting-reviews
source: Wordstream

The takeaway: The more 5-star reviews you collect, the more exposure you’ll get through local service ads, and the more leads you’ll generate for your business. Consider training your staff to ask for a review after every completed job, provided the customer is happy with your service. Aim to add several 5-star reviews to your listing each month!

2. Your proximity to potential customers’ locations

Google will take into account how close your business is in relation to the customer searching for your services.

So if a homeowner in Arlington Heights, IL conducts a search for a roofing contractor, then roofing contractors in Arlington Heights, IL will be more likely to show up in the first few local service ad results than say a roofing contractor in Evanston, IL or further out.

HVAC marketing plan

This is technically a win-win for both homeowners and contractors: homeowners get to work with local contractors, and contractors get to book more jobs near their home base which reduces travel time and costs, making jobs more profitable.

The takeaway: Not much to do here! Your physical address will determine how “proximity” comes into play when ranking your local service ads.

3. Your responsiveness to customer inquiries and requests

An important factor in determining where your local service ads will rank is your level of responsiveness to new leads that come in.

Google wants contractors to respond in a timely manner in order to provide a great user experience, so it favors businesses that answer all inquiries and requests promptly.

Even if a lead is of low quality or isn’t a good fit, you should still respond quickly so that your ad rank doesn’t take a hit.

And besides, if you want to grow your business, you need to take your lead follow up process seriously!

The takeaway: Google takes both response rate and response time into account when determining local service ad rank, so make sure every new lead that comes your way gets addressed in a timely manner. If you’re too slow or leave inquiries unanswered, your ad rank will be affected.

4. Your business hours

Businesses willing to answer calls and deal with inquiries 24/7 have priority over those with more restricted schedules.

In other words, your local service ads will only be displayed during the business hours you select when setting up your account.

Keep in mind that responsiveness still comes into play, so don’t label yourself as “always available” if you’re not able to answer the phone when a customer calls in the middle of the night. This will obviously hurt you in the long run.

On the flip side, if there’s a way you can stretch your office hours or arrange to have a representative answer calls late into the evening, it can have a positive impact on your ad rank and help you generate more leads.

The takeaway: Be honest with your office hours but look to stretch them if at all possible in order to show up more throughout the day. Many homeowners search for service providers in the late evening and competition tends to be weaker during this time, so take advantage of this if you can!

5. Whether or not Google has received serious or repeated complaints about your business

Last but not least, Google wants to make sure the businesses it recommends to its users are legitimate and offer great service.

If one too many homeowners complain to Google about the experience they had working with you, your ad rank is going to take a serious hit.

This isn’t something you can recover from easily, so the best solution is to be proactive and go out of your way to make sure your customers are satisfied with your work.

And if they aren’t, it’s always best to try and resolve the conflict—even if it means losing money—before they take to the web.

All it takes are a few negative complaints and your business can be kicked to the back of the LSA line—or worse, you can be banned from leveraging local service ads altogether!

The takeaway: Be sure to offer great service and take good care of your customers so that they have no reason whatsoever to place a complaint. One complaint isn’t cause for concern, but repeated negative complaints can increase your chances of having your LSA privileges revoked.

Conclusion

Local service ads are a great addition to any contractor PPC strategy.

Even though they can be a pain in the butt to set up because of the paperwork and background check involved (Google wants to make sure you’re a legitimate business), they’re still worth the hassle.

By paying attention to the 5 things mentioned in this article and putting your best foot forward, you’ll be way ahead of other contractors in your area.

This should pay off in the form of more, better quality leads for your business!

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