Local Service Ads for Lawyers
In the ever-evolving world of Google, a new opportunity is shining over the horizon in the form of Local Service Ads for lawyers (LSAs). This new option is a lead-generation tool that connects prospective clients directly to you through call, text, or your firm’s intake software. It is designed to match potential customers with local firms and businesses.
There’s been a lot of buzz lately about Local Service Ads for lawyers. Google has beta tested LSAs in other industries, like home improvement, for many months; but only recently did it open up Local Service Ads for lawyers nationwide. So, let’s dig in and take a few minutes to explore Local Service Ads for lawyers and their potential impact on law firms.
Local Service Ads are different than Google pay-per-click ads because an LSA click does not route a local user to your firm’s website. An LSA click connects to a firm’s customized Google profile where a user initiates a phone call, text or appointment booking.
Get more local clients with LSAs. Google’s new Local Service Ads for lawyers connects users directly to your firm in one click.
The Nitty Gritty of Local Service Ads for Lawyers
LSAs are sponsored service placements that appear as a strip of highlights at the very top of a Google search results page – even higher on the page than the pay-per-click placements.
Google’s LSAs feature a credibility-type badge showing that Google has vetted and verified the businesses listed on the platform. Local Service Ads for lawyers require a background screening process, verification of law license/bar number, and proof of insurance. Each LSA is connected to one Google My Business address, which must have at least one client review and an average total of all reviews score of 3.0/5.
Cost Per Lead
The cost/payment model for LSAs is different than some of Google’s other advertising programs. Local Service Ads for lawyers are a “cost-per-lead” program rather than a “pay-per-click” program. This means that a firm pays only when it receives a call/text/online intake generated through Google’s LSA App.
Law Firm Info Linked to Your LSA
Local Service Ads for lawyers’ link to a Google profile of your firm with detailed information about your attorneys, services, address, office hours, and other critical information. Through the LSA profile, a user can book an appointment, call or text your firm.
Billing for Your Law Firm’s LSAs
To pay for LSAs, a law firm sets a weekly budget in the Google Local Service Ads App. Spending occurs when a potential client takes action (text, call, email, etc.), thereby generating a lead.
Local Service Ads for Lawyers Gives You a Chance to Shine
One of the great things about Local Service Ads for law firms is that it could allow smaller law firms to level the playing field when competing against large firms. Because these ads are hyper-focused on the local area, the Google algorithm recognizes that a nearby small firm with great reviews may be the better choice for a local query.
Google released Local Service Ads for lawyers in the following practice areas:
- Business Law
- Contract Law
- Criminal Law
- Disability Law
- Estate Planning
- Family Law
- Intellectual Property
- Labor Law
- Personal Injury
- Real Estate
How to Set Up a Local Service Ad for Your Law Firm
To set up an LSA account, you will be prompted by Google through a series of screens. One will allow you to choose the practice areas above that your firm specializes in. To complete the set-up, you will need the following information:
- Firm name
- Phone number
- Street address
- Owner’s name
- Year founded
- Languages spoken
LSAs appear to be a cost-effective advertising option for many law firms, especially since firms are billed per lead (call/text/appointment), rather than simply for every click on the ad. Pricing for LSAs may go up as more and more law firms pursue this option in the future. Gladiator Law Marketing professionals would be happy to answer your questions about LSAs and work with you in setting up an LSA account. Call us for a free conversation at 888-683-3212.
What’s All the Hype About?
Local Service Ads for lawyers are something new and shiny. The LSA program gives an insight into Google’s preference for managing the world through its family of platforms and apps. The LSA platform is a step toward Google being the “middleman” for all business contacts – like a call answering service for all businesses. It’s easy to see the advantages of the LSA platform for Google.
The more your law firm’s marketing efforts incorporate Google’s preferences and patterns, the more successful your marketing is likely to be.
Clearing Up Confusion About LSAs for Lawyers
Let’s define what LSAs are not:
- LSAs are NOT Local SEARCH Ads: These are NOT Local SEARCH Ads that run in Google Ads/AdWords, which are the location/map-based ads that are triggered with a Search Ads location extension.
- LSAs are NOT Google AdWords: Google Local SERVICE Ads (LSAs) do NOT run in Google Ads/AdWords. LSAs are a completely separate program. The LSA ads show up on the search engine results page, but only allow for direct calls, text messaging or online calendar appointment booking.
Yes, we know that some of Google’s names for programs and platforms sound similar, but it’s important to understand the differences so businesses can make informed marketing decisions and leverage each tool to their advantage.
Local Service Ad Example
How Does a Local Service Ad for a Law Firm Work?
Let’s take a closer look. Consider a search with the key word phrase “divorce attorney near me” or “local car accident lawyer.” This would trigger a Local Service Ad from, say, Jones Law Firm or Smith Personal Injury Attorneys. The keys to your LSA being highlighted at the top of the search results page are 1) being located very close to the user’s geographic location and 2) being a highly reviewed firm with a strong online reputation. The nearer your address is to the searcher, the better.
A row of 3 LSAs will be displayed on desktop computers and 2 LSAs will appear on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
Take a look at the following screen shot to get a better idea …
Clicking on an LSA makes it easy for a user to immediately call or text a law firm and/or schedule an appointment. Speed is the key. The idea is that law firms can grab a potential client quickly so that a user doesn’t have time to meander, get distracted or go to a competitor’s web site.
How Does Google Decide Which LSAs to Display?
Good question. As you can imagine, there are many more law firms with LSAs than there are spots to display them for each individual user query. Google has signaled that it decides which verified Local Service Ads for lawyers to display based on a rankings algorithm that considers the following:
- Proximity to the searcher.
- Online Reputation — Google is clear that it rewards law firms and businesses with strong local business brand awareness. Think EAT, again (see article).
- Reviews— Consideration is given not only to Google My Business reviews, but also to reviews written by customers (satisfied or displeased) in the LSA App.
- Engagement on LSA – This means the law firm’s regular, routine engagement with the LSA App. For example, how quickly do you respond to leads (e.g., minutes, hours, days)? How active are you in following up and responding to client reviews or concerns within the LSA App? How much business are you securing through the LSA program?
Once again, we see that proactively managing your brand’s online reputation and seeking out client reviews equal rewards in the world of Google. This remains true with Local Service Ads for lawyers.
Do I Get to Decide Which Keywords Trigger My LSA Ad?
Unfortunately, no. Google decides that. Law firms don’t get to participate in algorithm targeting or generating keyword lists. Once the firm is verified, Google independently decides when a search query matches a law firm. As discussed above, Google does give LSA law firms a list of practice areas to select from that indicate the services a firm offers.
Here’s the Takeaway on LSAs for Lawyers
Local Service Ads for lawyers is one more tool in your law firm’s toolkit. If you’re primarily focused on attracting clients in your own town or county, LSAs may be a good choice for you. If your marketing focus is statewide or beyond, then LSAs would likely not be your top choice.
There are also cost matters to consider. Because Google LSAs do not allow for any type of targeting by a law firm, LSAs could turn out to be a free-for-all based on spend, which is not good news for smaller law firms with limited marketing budgets. These firms’ dollars may achieve a better ROI through Google AdWords, which allows the targeting of thousands of possible keywords, or through online SEO enhancements provided by an outside agency. A strategic assessment of your firm’s goals could determine this.
Additionally, law firms have to manage the LSA App/platform by themselves, similar to the Lead Docket intake platform (read: one more task on your plate). The LSA platform is a funnel for attracting potential clients, but this is useful only if a firm has the time and internal processes to follow up and convert that lead into a client.
The most in-the-know professionals at Gladiator Law Marketing can answer your questions and tell you more about LSAs. This advertising option may be a good choice for your law firm, or there may be other options to explore. Call us for a free conversation at 888-683-3212.
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