Improving your performance for Local Service Ads might seem a little confusing, as no data is provided for click volume, impressions, nor specific search queries that triggered your ad. Since Local Service Ads are not triggered by keywords and there is no ad copy, you might ask yourself- how can I increase my exposure and lead volume?
With the Google Ads platform, we work with Quality Scores and bidding that determine the ranking for each action. However, there are no Quality Scores, nor bidding within the Local Service Ads platform. So, how does Google determine your ranking?
In order to be able to answer that question, let’s first look at the five factors that Google takes into account when ranking your local service ad.
- Proximity: Google will take into account how close your business is to the potential customer’s location. The closer, the higher the ranking.
- Reviews: Reviews are the key factor when it comes to the ranking of your Local Service Ads. Google takes into account your business review score and the total number of reviews. It will compare both numbers to your competitors to determine the ranking.
- Responsiveness: Google will be tracking your responsiveness to potential customers that contacted you via the Local Service Ads. If you respond in a fast and timely manner, this will help you rank higher. Delaying the responses will negatively affect your ranking.
- Business Hours: In order to determine your ranking, Google will review your opening hours. If you are available at the moment of the potential customer’s search, this will allow you to rank higher. Likewise, if you are not available at the time that a potential customer is looking for your service, this will negatively affect your ranking.
- Complaints: Google will review major or multiple complaints again you, which will negatively affect your ranking and could even lead to overall suspension from the Local Services Ads platform.
In addition to these five factors, your ranking will depend upon your budget. Google will attempt to spread out the leads you receive overtime to prevent you from spending the entire budget early. If your ad is generating leads more quickly than your budget can accommodate, you may see your ranking affected or your ad paused temporarily.
#1 Increase Your Five Star Ratings and Reviews
Increasing your five-star ratings and reviews is the fastest way to improve your ranking. Businesses with a higher star rating and more reviews stand out and are usually able to book more jobs. From our experience, we’ve seen that newer reviews over a period of time matter more than the total reviews. There are several options for you to encourage your customers to leave a review:
- Ask for a review by using the Google Link: When you sign up on the Local Service Ads platform, you’ll receive a personalized Google review link. You can share this link with your customers directly to ask for a review.
- Have Google ask for reviews: The Local Service Ads platform allows the option to mark a lead as booked. Once you do so, you have the option to ask for a review through Google. When you select this option, you authorize Google to send an email to your customer with a link to leave you a review. You’ll be asked to provide your customer’s email address (if not provided) and confirm that they agreed to receive this email from Google.
- Use the “add a review” feature: The purpose of this feature is to get reviews from customers who didn’t book your service through the Local Service Platform in order to increase your review volume. Your customers can go to the “reviews” section in your business profile and add a review.
If you are new to the Local Service Ads platform, it is highly recommended to link your Google My Business account. By doing so, the reviews on your Google My Business account are eligible to show on your Local Service Ad.
#2 Optimize Your Service Types
In addition to increasing your ratings, there are a few other options to optimize your ad.
Choosing the right ad settings can help you reach the right customers for your business. The job types and service areas that you select will determine where you Local Service Ads can appear and what type of searches can make your ad appear. In the Local Service Ads platform, you will be able to select the service types from a list of potential services for each business category. By selecting services that are directly related to your business, your ads can appear when a customer searches for a particular service.
Let’s say you are an electrician in Miami. In this case, you would include service types, such as “install ground wire”, “relocate outlets or switches”, “restore power,” etc., to not only reach customers that are looking for general search terms such as “electrician”, but also have your ads appear for customers looking for these specific service types.
# 3 Optimize Your Service Areas
The proximity to your potential customer’s location is an important factor in determining the ranking of your local service ad. You can set your service area by choosing cities and postal codes where you would like your ad to show. There are two different factors that Google takes into account when it comes to the service area:
- Estimated location of person at time of search: Your ads can show people who are estimated to be located within a particular geographic area at the time of the search. For example, if someone is searching from a location in Miami for “electrician” or “outlet repair”, your ad will be eligible to show. This means that if someone is in the physical area, there is no need to add the location in their search query to trigger the Local Service Ad.
- Names of locations in searches: Similar to what you are used to in Google Ads, in addition to showing ads to those potential customers that are physically in your area, you can also show your ads to people who are not physically located in your area but interested in services in your area. Google determines this interest based on search queries that include cities or zip codes. For example, someone that is physically in Hialeah at the time of the search and who searches for “outlet repair Miami” would be able to see your ads, if you added “Miami” to your service area.
By adding a particular city to your service area, your ad is eligible to show to people in both of the scenarios listed here above.
In addition to adding specific service areas, you also have the option to exclude specific zip codes within a city where you provide services. For example, if you would like to exclude 4 zip codes in South Miami from your selected Miami service area, you can deselect these zip codes. By doing so, your ads won’t show to people in those zip codes or to people that are including these zip codes in their search query.
#4 Update Your Business Information and Bio
Your business bio allows you to showcase important aspects of your business to customers and can give you a competitive advantage. The business bio is shown on your profile page and you can select up to five highlights. These highlights are segmented into two categories:
- Standard Highlights: These are highlights that are true for your business. Examples of standard highlights are: 24/7 service, 10 years in business, locally-owned and operated, military discount available, free estimate, flat rate pricing, etc.
- Google-controlled Highlights: These are highlights that are controlled by Google. Examples of these highlights are: BBB Accreditations, On-Time Guarantee, etc.
These highlights will possibly give you competitive advantage at the moment of a potential customer choosing which provider to contact. Also ensure to update other information, such as your business hours and photos.
# 5 Improve Your Response Time
Last but not least, in order to improve your ranking on the Local Service Ads platform, it is imperative that you work on your response time. The faster you are responding to the leads coming in from the Local Service Ads, the better your chances are at ranking at the top. Just the same, long response time will negatively affect your ranking. Not only would we advice to connect the tracking number to a phone number that you are able to respond to in a timely manner, but also to work on your ad scheduling within the platform.
Within the Local Service Ads platform you can choose your ad schedule by selecting the days of the week and times of the day that you would like to show your ad. You should select those days of the week and times of the day that you are able to respond to your customer calls and leads in a timely manner. In case you have to step out of the office, or you are not able to take leads, you can also pause your ads to stop them from displaying, regardless of your schedule.
Be sure to take into account that a free version of your listing might still be displayed outside of your ad schedule or if when your ads are paused or ran out of budget.
One Last Word
Local Service Ads is a great way to directly reach people searching for businesses just like yours. Implementing these five tips in your Local Service Ads optimization strategy will help improve your ranking and start increasing your local lead volume. The higher your ranking, the more people who will see you, the more leads will choose to contact you, and the more new customers you will get- it is that simple! If you would like to learn more about Local Service Ads, contact White Shark Media to discuss your strategy further.