Participating in LSAs (Local Services Ads) is a no-brainer for law firms that want to maintain a competitive online presence. These ads offer visibility at the very top of Google searches and are now more affordable than ever.
Approximate Read Time: 5 Minutes
A New and Exciting Way to Advertise
Google’s LSAs (Local Services Ads) are a new and exciting way to advertise your law firm’s services at the very top of Google’s search results. In a recent article, we provided an overview of the new LSAs, which opened up nationwide for lawyers on July 28, 2020 for most legal practice areas.
If you’ve been too busy to learn about Google’s newly released LSAs and why you should sign up now, we’ve boiled it down to the most important reasons to make this quick read worth your time.
Here are seven things that your law firm needs to know about Google’s LSAs and why you should take advantage of this opportunity now:
1. Top Spot on the SERP
Google’s LSAs show up as a strip at the very top of the search engine results page (SERP), above the Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads, the Maps, and the organic results. While you could participate in LSAs only, they can help maximize your firm’s online visibility as part of a marketing plan that also includes SEO best practices, local or Maps optimization, and paid advertisements such as LSAs and PPC ads (such as Google Ads).
With 87.96% of searches done on Google, it’s no secret that the top spot reserved for LSAs can be extremely valuable for your law firm, which can translate into more online visibility, and ultimately more business.
2. Low Pricing
The LSAs are brand new, and you may be surprised to learn how affordable they are. We recommend that lawyers take advantage of this opportunity now while the product is new and there is less competition. Please contact us if you have more specific questions about pricing. You may regret not getting a head start.
For LSAs, Google will provide you with a recommended budget based on the number of new leads that you want to receive each week. Google uses this average weekly budget to come up with your monthly maximum. You’ll never spend more than your monthly maximum, and you also have the flexibility to adjust your budget, or even pause your ads when you’re booked or away.
LSAs can help you achieve results quickly as part of a cost-effective marketing strategy that yields a high return on investment (ROI).
3. You Pay Per Lead
Unlike with traditional Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, you pay per lead with LSAs (e.g., you pay for each phone call or message that you receive from the ad). The exact price per lead varies depending on your practice area and location.
You will want to track your leads to make sure that they are valid, but this is easy to do. A tracking phone number will be displayed on your ad, which forwards to your business phone number. You can track your leads through an LSA dashboard either in an iPhone or Android application, or in a browser on your computer.
If you receive an invalid lead, such as a lead that isn’t related to your business or the services that you offer, you can dispute it from your LSA dashboard in order to receive a credit. Some examples of invalid leads include spam, solicitations, or leads from users outside your service area. You can learn more about what Google considers a valid or invalid lead here.
4. You Need at Least One Review
Google requires that you have at least one review for your LSA, with a minimum 3.0 (out of 5.0) average rating. You can add reviews from your Google My Business listing if you wish to do so. That said, you do not need a Google My Business listing in order to run LSAs. You can receive reviews directly on your LSA profile. It is important to be aware that LSAs for law firms with more customer reviews and higher ratings may be shown more often. We recommend continuing to get fresh reviews on your Google My Business listing, as well as directly on your LSA profile.
5. Google Screened
In order to run the LSA, your law firm will need to pass business-level and business-owner background checks. Each attorney at the firm who may receive leads from the LSA must also pass an attorney license check. These checks help ensure that your firm, and the professionals who work there, are qualified to offer the legal services that you are advertising.
The Google Screened badge will show prominently next to your business on the LSAs, which can help earn the trust of your customers and improve your click-through rate (CTR).
Note that Google Screened differs from Google Guaranteed. The latter covers claims of up to $2,000 for dissatisfied customers in the United States who booked services through Google Local Services, but Google Guaranteed is not offered by Google for legal services.
6. Options for Firms with Multiple Practice Areas
Firms with multiple practice areas have the option to include several practice areas in one LSA, or they can set up an LSA for each practice area. The LSAs are available for most practice areas, although some niche areas are not yet available. The top-level practice areas are:
- Bankruptcy Law
- Business Law
- Contract Law
- Criminal Law
- Disability Law
- Estate Law
- Family Law
- Immigration Law
- IP Law
- Labor Law (Employment)
- Litigation Law
- Malpractice Law
- Personal Injury
- Real Estate
- Tax Law
- Traffic Law
After you select your top-level practice area(s), Google will provide a list of sub-areas within the top-level area(s) so that you can select your desired sub-areas as well. For example, if you select Personal Injury, you could select sub-areas such as auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and fall, etc. We recommend selecting at least one sub-area in each top-level area that you select, although you may select as many of the available sub-areas as you would like. We have a separate post on LSA practice areas and sub-areas if you would like to learn more.
It is important to consider that while there is some overlap between certain practice areas, you should always select the top-level areas that make the most sense for your particular focus. For example, DUI is both a top-level practice area and a sub-area of Criminal Law. If you are just taking DUI cases, you should select the DUI top-level area (and desired sub-areas under DUI) rather than just Criminal Law with the DUI sub-area. If you also practice general criminal law, we would suggest selecting the Criminal Law top-level area and the DUI sub-area under that area, in addition to selecting the DUI top-level area.
7. Ranking Factors
There are several factors that can determine how your LSA performs, including the following (in no particular order):
- The proximity of the searcher to your office location
- The context of the user’s search
- Your customer review rating and the number of reviews that you have received
- Your responsiveness to customers
- Your business hours
- Whether there are serious or repeated complaints about your business
We encourage you to focus on the factors that you can control. For example, you should always make it a priority to provide excellent customer service and be quick to respond to potential clients when contacted. You also should make sure to check your LSA dashboard regularly and promptly update the status of each lead listed there.
Are LSAs Right for You?
The short answer for most law firms that want clients from the Internet is “yes!” If your law firm wants to maintain a competitive online presence or simply boost its visibility, it is important to strongly consider adding LSAs to your marketing plan. There is still more detailed information about LSAs in addition to these seven items, and we’d be happy to discuss further over the phone.
We recommend that all lawyers take advantage of this great opportunity while the product is new and prices are relatively low. You will find that adding LSAs to a comprehensive marketing plan can help maximize your firm’s online presence.
As a Google Premier Partner, Justia can help you reach your law firm’s online marketing goals. We have been helping law firms set up LSAs since their release. We also offer ongoing support for LSAs as Google continues to make adjustments to this new product. As part of Justia PPC Management, we can help you set up and manage LSAs or other advertising campaigns, such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, or Bing Ads. If your firm is interested in one or more of these services, call us at (888) 587-8421 or contact us online today!