Google Local Service Ads: A Look at the consumer perspective
By Travis Tyler
It’s that time of year at my household. The Christmas tree is up. The cupboard is stocked with hot chocolate. And *drum roll please* the carpets are sparkling clean.
Consider that last one a little holiday gift for my allergies.
After recently taking a deep dive to learn about Google Local Service Ads (formerly Home Service Ads) I urged my marketing team to let me write about Google’s rebranded advertising offerings for local service-based businesses. I wanted to test out my holiday tradition of carpet cleaning, and then write about it.
More than two years after the introduction of Home Service Ads, it’s time to see what Local Service Ads look like now that they’ve expanded to over 30 major cities.
One man’s search is another Google ad placement
With so many new releases over the last five years, you can be forgiven for missing some of the drastically different types of Google search engine result page (SERP) features.
Based on what you search, a few of the newer page results include:
- product shopping ads
- featured snippets
- knowledge cards/panels
- video results
- image mega-blocks
- sitelinks search boxes
- AMP stories
- answer boxes
- local packs
If you were curious, here’s a helpful glossary of the more than 20 different types of Google search results you might see.
It seems as though local businesses were one of the last overlooked bastions of ad profits for Google.
Until recently, that is.
Why Google Local Service Ads make total sense
Let’s say, for example, that your plumbing is backed-up and overflowing. You grab towels and look for an immediate local solution from someone you can trust to fix things. Google would be foolish if they did not capitalize on these types of moments.
So, cue up Google’s Local Searches.
It’s no wonder Google Local Service Ads are placed above every other type of search engine result.
Want proof? Look at a few screen captures from when I searched for carpet cleaners near me. There isn’t a single organic result on the desktop version until WELL below the fold. And on mobile? Forget about it. Organic rankings didn’t appear until I scrolled down four times.
What exactly is a Google Guaranteed business?
Google touts the illustrious green guarantee badge as a way for businesses to build a great reputation online. And as a consumer, if you’re dissatisfied with work quality, you can request a refund from Google. When you’re searching for local services it’s pretty clear which businesses are Google Guaranteed and which ones are not. See below.
When a business signs up for Local Service Ads, they automatically apply for the Google guarantee. But in order to earn it, they have to pass a background check and have all field license/insurance details verified.
In my area, there were only two Google Guaranteed carpet cleaners.
I was slightly disappointed.
Because as a consumer – I’m all about Google Guaranteed businesses. Why wouldn’t I be? Moving forward, I want all my service professionals screened and backed with the necessary certifications, insurances, and money back guarantees. To me, this is a no-brainer. And for businesses, initial studies indicate that Local Service Ads may be a winner over traditional Adwords in terms of costs and conversions.
Once a carpet cleaner, always a carpet cleaner
I live with a few pets that make it absolutely necessary to get my carpets cleaned (again, see below). And last year when I had them done, I was looking at a $350 bill. But this year would be different. I knew what I was doing by searching through my Local Service Ads and trusting in the power of the almighty Google Guaranteed Badge.
So began my search. After reading reviews, I settled on USA Clean Master. I quickly submitted a Google Services form with my basic information. About an hour later I received a call. A friendly customer rep greeted me with a script that told me they were chatting with me from a large call center.
Before hanging up, the rep gave me a quote that included a basic cleaning for three rooms. I asked the rep to email me a quote. Only $89.00? Holy cow that was a huge savings compared to last year.
The day before my appointment I received a text reminder with a link to confirm the appointment.
On the day of the appointment, I got a call at around 12:30 from the call center that my cleaner was running late and would be there at approximately 2:30.
At 2:45 the cleaner called to explain that he was lost inside my complex. The gruff voice sounded familiar. I told him to wait for me while I walked outside to meet him.
Much to my surprise, the cleaner driving circles around my complex was the exact same cleaner I had the year before. He introduced himself as Todd.
“Todd, you cleaned my place last year,” I said puzzlingly.
“Oh, that’s right!” He perked up. “It’s been crazy lately, I forgot I’d been here before.”
Todd was in and out of my place in under an hour. My carpets looked and smelled great. He even played with my dog for a bit.
It’s funny how things work out. I went through this entire research process only to get the same exact rep to clean my carpets in back to back years.
It turns out that Todd is now contracted through USA Clean Masters, a national residential cleaning service with over 30 divisions. USA Clean Masters was one of only two Google Guaranteed businesses I found using LSAs in the Tampa, FL area.
And if my experience is like anyone else’s, USA Clean Masters and their contractors will continue to benefit over their competitors with Google LSAs.