Optimizing your local SEO can help your law firm capture the attention of qualified leads in your local area. Paid advertisements offer one key way to elevate your local presence and attract the right clients. Specifically, Local Services Ads (LSAs) can help you get on the radar when people are looking for legal services like yours in your geographic area.
This guide will introduce you to Local Services Ads for lawyers, explain how they work, and discuss how to set them up so you can start bringing in highly-qualified leads to your law firm.
What Are Local Services Ads?
Google Local Services Ads (LSAs) are ads that appear at the top of the search results page when someone searches for specific local services. They appear above all other search results, including paid Google Ads, Google Maps local results, and organic search results.
The ads are triggered by searches for certain keywords — chosen by Google — that are specific to your location and practice type. For example, a search for “DUI lawyers in Dallas” or “personal injury law firm near me” can trigger LSAs at the top of the search results page.
LSAs are available for select local services, including legal services. The ads may include a headshot, review rating, the area served, and opening hours. You will not be able to control how the ad appears or what keywords you want to target (other than by indicating your specific practice field during the initial ad setup).
LSAs feature a “Google Screened” badge, which means Google has verified that your business is qualified to offer the desired legal service. This badge will remain on your LSAs for as long as you pay for the listing.
Unlike pay-per-click Google Ads, LSAs are pay-per-lead. You only pay for the leads triggered directly by the ad, resulting in a phone call or a message to your business.
How Do LSAs Relate to SEO?
LSAs aren’t a replacement for organic SEO. Instead, they should be an addition to your overall digital marketing strategy. These two marketing strategies can work extremely well together.
Users trigger law firm LSA listings when they search for a specific legal service in their area. For example, when searching for “personal injury lawyers near me,” LSAs for injury lawyers in their area will appear at the top of their results page. That means LSAs are reserved for users looking for a service for which they are likely to pay. That also means LSAs have high conversion rates.
What an LSA won’t do, though, is appear when users are still in the information-gathering phase of their legal journey. A Google user may know they have a legal problem but may not be ready to hire a lawyer to help them solve it.
If the user searches for answers to questions like “what to do after a car accident in Clearwater” or “should I sue a store after I slip and fall,” Google won’t deliver those same LSA search results. The search results will be more organic, which is where your SEO strategy comes into play.
If your website content addresses relevant questions and keywords inputted by users, you will be more likely to end up on their Google results page. SEO-optimized content will help funnel more of these users to your website — users who (hopefully) will eventually become clients.
Appearing in those organic search results can also help capture the attention of searchers who scroll by sponsored ads.
Ultimately, you should use LSAs and SEO together. Local SEO will help you capture audiences who aren’t as far along in their buyer’s journey, and LSAs can help you capture those who are ready to hire a lawyer.
What Are the Benefits of LSAs?
LSAs offer many great benefits, not the least of which is appearing at the very top of the search results page. LSAs rank above all other search results, including paid ads. With a robust digital marketing strategy, you could rank on a single search result page multiple times: in the LSA, the Google Maps pack, paid Google ads, and within the organic search results.
When you appear multiple times within the same search results, you significantly increase the odds of a potential client contacting you.
The Google Screened badge on LSAs for lawyers is another excellent benefit. The badge can provide your law firm with credibility and give a potential client more confidence about contacting you and using your services. The LSA provides a user with a lot of information about your law firm with just a quick glance.
LSAs deliver a lot of value for money. You’ll only pay for leads generated directly from the LSA instead of the pay-per-click model used by Google Ads. The leads generated by an LSA are highly convertible and ready to act, so they are usually well worth the expense.
You can also dispute any leads Google charges you for that you feel are irrelevant, which can help mitigate any cost-associated risk.
Practice Areas That Are Great for Local Services Ads
LSAs are available for many local services. They aren’t suitable for every law firm, but they are an excellent advertising resource for law firms specializing in many different practice areas, including:
- Bankruptcy law
- Business law
- Contract law
- Criminal defense law
- Disability law
- DUI law
- Estate law
- Family law
- Immigration law
- Intellectual property law
- Labor law
- Litigation law
- Malpractice law
- Personal injury law
- Real estate law
- Tax law
- Traffic law
When setting up your LSAs, Google will allow you to specify your services within these practice areas to target searchers more precisely. For example, if you are a personal injury attorney, Google will enable you to select specific case types, such as auto accidents, slip & fall cases, dog bites, or other injuries.
Understanding the Different Ads of Google: Local Services Ads, Local Search Ads, and Google Ads
Google may be a search engine, but it’s also an advertising service. The search engine offers several ad options for lawyers.
You’ll want to understand the differences so you know what you are paying for and what method is best to capture more qualified leads for your law firm.
Local Services Ads
Local services ads are one of Google’s newest advertising options. These ads appear at the top of the search page, along with other relevant local service listings. Searchers trigger the ads by Googling for specific local services, such as “plumbers in Dallas” or “personal injury lawyers in Houston.”
The listings offer information about the local service, including ratings, business hours, and how long the company has been in business. You pay for every lead generated by the ad, such as when a user phones or messages your law firm. So it’s a pay-per-lead model instead of a pay-per-click mode like Google Ads.
Local Search Ads
These ads can be easily confused with Local Services Ads, but they are significantly different. Local search ads appear in the Google Maps bundle of the search results page below both Local Services Ads and Google Ads.
These ads will appear with other local results, but if you are paying for the local search ads, your business is pushed to the top of the list and appears with a purple “Ad” pin.
There are only two ad spaces within the local results, so these spots can be quite competitive depending on your location and service. Whether you appear will depend on factors such as your business location, hours, and review ratings.
Google will also monitor your responsiveness to customer inquiries and push you down the list if you fail to respond. After all, Google wants to deliver the best possible results for searchers and connect them with responsive businesses.
Google Ads appear at the top of the search results page, only underneath Local Services Ads (if triggered).
Google Ads are pay-per-click ads (PPC), which means you’ll pay every time a searcher clicks through to your website or landing page from the Google ad. You pay for the click even if the searcher doesn’t end up contacting you, unlike an LSA.
Google Ads gives you a fair bit of creative control regarding the content searchers see.
You’ll be able to create the copy in the ad, so you can craft attention-grabbing, informative copy that compels readers to click through to your website to learn more.
To get the most out of Google Ads, you’ll need to do a fair amount of keyword research to help you target an audience searching for those keywords online. You’ll also want to monitor ad performance to ensure you get quality leads from your keywords and adjust accordingly to maximize your advertising ROI.
Local Services Ads for Lawyers FAQ
Here are some frequently asked questions regarding Local Service Ads for lawyers. If you don’t see an answer to your question, contact our team. We’ll be happy to help you get the information you need.
How Much Does it Cost to Run LSAs for Lawyers?
The cost for Local Services Ads will vary greatly, and you can pay anywhere from around $50 to over $200 per lead. What you’ll pay will depend on factors such as:
- Your target market. You’ll pay more for an incoming lead for a highly competitive legal field, such as personal injury clients. Practices focusing on areas like intellectual property law will pay slightly less.
- Your target location. Law firms practicing in highly populated areas will pay more for a lead than a practice in a rural area, especially if you aren’t competing with many other local law firms.
Remember that the leads coming from Local Services Ads should be highly relevant to your practice and have a great conversion rate, so you should see a healthy ROI from the expense.
Can You Pause LSAs?
Yes. You can pause your ad spend on LSAs. However, you’ll lose the Google Guaranteed/Screened badge until you unpause your ads. Your ad may still appear in the results below paid listings, but Google won’t charge you for any leads.
When Does Google Show Local Services Ads?
Google shows LSAs based on specific keyword searches. Essentially, this is Google doing the keyword research for you. Because of this, you’ll have no control over what those searches might be other than indicating your practice area and location.
Searches that trigger LSAs will look specifically for those local services (e.g., “personal injury attorneys near me” or “lawyers for dog bites in Seattle”). Relevant or topic-adjacent searches, such as “treatment for a dog bite” or “what to do when you fall at a store,” won’t trigger those same LSA results.
How Does Google Determine the Rankings of LSAs?
Google has been open about what factors help determine the ranking of LSAs, but it’s unknown which factors carry the most weight.
Your firm’s Local Services Ads will be ranked based on several factors outside of your location. Google will assess the number of reviews you have and your overall review score out of five stars.
It will analyze how responsive you are to customer inquiries, especially when it comes to answering phone calls.
It will also look at your business hours, as they want to connect searchers with law firms open at the time of the search. Lastly, Google will examine whether it has received complaints about your law firm in the past.
Will a Higher LSA Budget Result in Higher Rankings for Your Ad?
Google uses a flat-rate pay-per-lead arrangement for local services ads. You cannot achieve higher rankings with a larger budget. Your placement in the LSA section will primarily be determined by your reputation and location.
Can You Use Target Keywords for Your Local Services Ads?
No. Google only triggers LSAs for specific service searches. It chooses the searches and the targeted keywords for which it will display Local Services Ads. Therefore, you’ll be at the mercy of Google and the information you provide during LSA setup as to whether your ad appears.
This is why LSAs should be one of multiple strategies in your digital marketing plan. Other options, such as paid Google ads and SEO, can help you target specific keywords and increase your reach.
Can You Choose What Information is Displayed in My Law Firm’s LSAs?
To some extent, yes. You’ll provide all relevant information, including your image, firm information, and practice areas. Google will then generate the ad with the information you provide, but they may choose what information they display and when.
Can You Challenge Irrelevant Leads from Your Ads?
Yes. You can challenge irrelevant leads from your LSAs through the Local Services Ads lead inbox.
You’ll need to indicate why the lead was irrelevant, and then Google will investigate. Don’t expect a quick response, though. Current processing times for lead disputes are up to four months.
How To Create Local Service Ads for Your Law Office
Ready to incorporate Local Service Ads into your law firm’s marketing strategy? You can have your ads up and running in a few steps, attracting qualified local leads looking for legal services. Follow the steps below to complete the process yourself, or contact our legal marketing team if you’d like some additional support with the process.
1. Go to the Google Local Services Ads sign-up page
You can set up Local Service Ads for your law office by visiting Google’s Local Service Ads sign-up page. Click “Continue” to begin.
You can also contact Google at +1 844-263-9884 for sign-up help from Monday to Friday during regular business hours.
2. Enter your firm’s eligibility information
Google doesn’t provide LSAs for every local service. So, first, you’ll need to enter some eligibility information to let Google know you are one of the local services their ads do support. Enter your country, state, and ZIP code, then indicate “Law” in the job category drop-down menu.
In the following section, you will indicate your practice area(s). You can ask Google to show your law firm on general lawyer queries, but remember that you’ll pay for every lead and want those leads to be as qualified as possible. While this might be a good option for some law firms, you’ll likely be better off choosing your specific practice area.
Click on the “Check Eligibility” button. If you are eligible, you’ll get a pop-up box explaining the benefits of LSAs. Just click on “Get Started” to proceed.
3. Provide details about your law firm
Next, you’ll be able to enter your law firm’s details.
Enter the information exactly as you want it to appear on the LSAs, including:
- Your law firm’s name, with options to also include the law firm’s registered business name or parent business
- Phone number
- Owner’s first and last name (this won’t be shown on the LSAs)
- Total number of professionals
- Year the law firm was founded
- Language services provided by the law firm
- Your business address
You’ll also need to let Google know if this is a location customers can visit in person. For most law firms, the answer will be yes. If you are practicing out of your home office, however, you may want to click no to keep your location hidden from users. The law firm will still appear in the LSAs, but the ad won’t provide a physical location.
When you’ve completed the section, click “Next.”
4. Designate your service area
In this step, you’ll indicate your service area. Google will automatically select the ZIP code you provided on the business information page, but you can change this or include additional zip codes. Just search for a location in the search box, then check or uncheck any ZIP codes you wish to include.
When you are happy with the selected service area, click “Next.”
5. Choose your law firm’s service types
Next, you’ll choose the specific practice areas you want Google to show on your LSA. Google will show you a variety of case types. Read through the list and carefully consider which case types you wish to bring to your law firm. You can also opt to “select all,” but remember that you’ll pay for every lead the ad generates.
So, for example, if you are a personal injury lawyer who doesn’t want to deal with workers’ compensation claims, leave it off the list.
Below the case type selection, you’ll see a bright yellow box labeled “Professional license verification.”
You’ll want to click the “I agree” box to indicate to Google that you have a professional license to practice law in the designated service area for those case types. It also acknowledges that Google can ask for proof of your qualifications. When you are done, click “Next.”
6. Choose your law firm’s business hours
Here, Google will ask you to set the days and times you are available to respond to customer inquiries. You can set your business hours to 24 hours, but do that only if you can actually answer phone calls 24 hours a day. You’ll get charged for leads that come in during your indicated business hours, even if you can’t answer the phone.
Plus, Google will penalize you if potential clients aren’t able to reach you and will push you down in the LSA listings.
Once you are happy with the listed hours, click “Next.”
7. Proof your ad so far
On the next page, you’ll see what your ad looks like so far. Make sure all of the information seems accurate. If you need to change something, click the back button. You’ll have a chance to add more details soon, including an image and customer reviews.
When you are satisfied, click “Next.”
8. Add a headshot
At this point, you’ll see several options listed next to a preview of your ad. Start with the top choice of adding a headshot.
The headshot you use must be of one person, showing their head and shoulders with no text included. If your law firm has multiple lawyers, you can add them at a later stage, so choose one lawyer for now. Click on choose file, then center and crop the photo.
When you are satisfied, click upload. Note that your image will go through a review process before Google displays it.
9. Add your law license details
Here, enter details regarding your law license. You’ll start by indicating your license registration type, which should be an active bar member with your state(s). Then enter your first and last name, your license number, and the expiration date for your license.
Click on the save button. Google will verify your license information before displaying your LSA. The verification and background check process can take up to two days but is often much faster.
10. Link your LSA to your customer reviews
At this step, you can add customer reviews to your LSA. If you already have a business listing on Google Maps, Google will automatically pull any reviews left on your Google My Business profile. The process will happen automatically after a few hours, but you’ll need at least one review.
Google will also provide you with link options that you can send to previous clients to request reviews. The review is posted as verified and added to your LSA when they use the link you provide.
11. Determine your bid amounts for leads
This stage is where you’ll get down to expenses.
You can use one of two bidding modes to get leads:
- Maximize leads. This is the method Google recommends, which allows Google to set your bid on your behalf to get the maximum number of leads for your budget. If you want a “set it and forget it” option, this is the one to choose. However, there is no guarantee that Google acts in your best interest, not their own, so you may be better off choosing the more hands-on approach.
- Set max per lead. This option requires you to do a little more bid management yourself. You’ll manually place your bid, including the maximum amount you want to pay for leads within your service types. It’s challenging to know how much to bid if you are new to LSAs, but one helpful hint to help you get started with this manual bidding process is to set your minimum bid to zero. Google will alert you that this isn’t possible and tell you the minimum dollar amount you must bid to get started. That number will give you a rough idea of where to begin your bids. You can always increase it later if you aren’t getting the kind of ROI you’d hoped for from the LSA.
You’ll set a bid amount for each service type you offer. When you are done, click next.
12. Create a weekly budget for leads
Once you’ve set your bid amounts, you’ll need to set a weekly budget. This budget will indicate the maximum dollar amount you are willing to spend on leads from Google per week.
When starting with LSAs, it’s okay to set the mandatory minimum weekly budget to test the waters and see what kind of leads you get from the service. It will vary from practice to practice and city to city, so a little experimentation here is a good idea. You can determine the minimum amount by setting your budget initially to zero, after which Google will provide you with a mandatory minimum budget.
After you enter your weekly budget, Google will estimate how many qualified leads you’ll get each week. If you are happy with the numbers, click save.
13. Set up your billing
Enter your payment information. You can choose to pay for your LSAs via a credit or debit card, PayPal account, or bank account. You’ll be charged automatically on the 1st of the month. You can change these settings in your billing settings within your Google Ads account.
Once you’ve added your billing info, click submit.
14. Add additional lawyers to your LSA
This is an optional step, so you can skip it if it doesn’t apply to your law firm. If it does, you can edit the number of lawyers at your business and add individual details for each.
You can provide information such as:
- Their name
- Email address
- Current legal licenses
- Job titles
- College, degree, and when they graduated
When someone clicks on your ad, they’ll see a list of other lawyers working at your law firm (as long as you’ve opted to feature them in their profile).
Now It’s Time To Manage and Respond To Leads
Once you’ve completed the steps above, it may take a few days for Google to verify all of the information and for your LSAs to start showing up on Google searches. Once verified, your LSA can start driving leads to your law firm.
You can manage these leads from your Local Service Ads dashboard. You’ll see how many leads the ads generate, along with details such as client names, services needed, location, and how they contacted you. The dashboard is also where you can dispute any leads you feel are irrelevant and manage your budget options. Utilize the dashboard to ensure you are following up with all your potential leads and maximizing the cost of each one.
Looking For More Strategies To Help You Grow Your Law Firm?
Putting Google’s Local Service Ads to work is just one digital marketing strategy your law firm should use to increase your client base and grow your firm. If you are looking for help with your legal marketing, we have the solutions you need.
LawRank™ is the premier legal marketing agency for law firms. We work exclusively with lawyers and understand the strategies they need to use to elevate their online presence and stand out from the competition. We’ve helped clients reach the first page of Google in the most competitive markets in the U.S., and in the most competitive practice areas in the legal industry.
If you want to step up your legal marketing with SEO, LSA, or other strategies, contact LawRank for a free consultation. We would be happy to discuss your digital marketing strategy and explain how we can help your law firm grow.