One of the most important aspects of running any modern business is brand awareness. As an attorney, you work in one of the most inherently competitive industries on the planet. There are likely dozens, if not hundreds, of competing law firms and independent attorneys offering services similar to your own in your local area. Capturing your local market takes a tremendous amount of effort and research. Luckily, local service ads for law firms can help you ensure your firm is one of the first search results a potential client sees when looking for legal services on Google.
Understanding the Local Service Ads System on Google Search
When a Google user performs a search for local attorneys, their search results will look something like this:
As you can see, the local service ads are the very first entries to appear on the user’s results page, followed by the usual pay-per-click ads. The third segment of the search results contains relevant Google My Business listings:
Finally, the user will see organic search results with a segment of related common search queries:
If you want to grow your firm’s client base and attract new clients on a consistent basis, it’s vital to understand how to leverage the power of Google AdWords and create local service ads for every one of your service areas.
Google AdWords is a staple of modern digital marketing for good reason. AdWords allows a business owner to research and curate the best keywords for a more robust SEO strategy. This invaluable toolkit is available to business owners of all sizes across all industries. However, many attorneys in smaller practices have likely found it difficult to compete against larger firms with larger marketing budgets.
After looking at the example search results above, you should notice that it’s obviously going to be very difficult for some smaller law firms to compete with larger firms that pay top bid prices for pay-per-click ads and robust Google My Business listings. With local service ads for lawyers, Google aims to level the playing field with a pay-per-lead cost basis. This means, instead of paying every time someone clicks on your firm’s PPC ad, you only pay when a click translates into a bona fide lead for your business.
Google adapted this system to account for the fact that while many smaller law firms lack the financial liquidity to compete with larger firms, they are very capable of delivering fantastic customer experiences. If your firm does not have the budget to compete in the PPC field, creating local service ads can be an incredibly effective alternative.
When Google implements new ideas into their paid advertising platforms, they typically roll out the new functionality to select groups for testing. Now, Local Service Ads from Google are available to attorneys covering a broad range of practice areas:
If your firm provides any of these legal services, you can start the process of creating a local service ad for your practice. If you already have a Google My Business listing, you’ll notice that the process of creating a Local Service Ad profile for your law firm is much more extensive than your profile for Google My Business. Be sure to fill every entry field accurately, especially when it comes to Year Founded, to establish your firm’s work history in your area and Languages Spoken. If your firm can provide multilingual legal services, this is a fantastic differentiating factor that will set your firm apart from your competition.
The next set of steps for configuring your profile pertain to your geographic location and contact information. For example, you’ll need to designate your service areas on a map and provide their respective zip codes. It’s not uncommon for smaller law firms to provide legal services in several local areas or maintain multiple offices. Make sure you include all relevant contact and geographic information for every office you operate.
The final step of the profile creation process for your Local Service Ad is to complete Google Screening. You will need to provide as much information as possible about your firm, and Google will conduct a verification process. The goal of Local Service Ads is to quickly connect search engine users with the law firms most likely to suit their needs, providing them with all the information they need within seconds.
Local Service Ads for law firms are only available to law firms that have completed the Google Screening process and successfully met Google’s pre-vetting standards. Since most search engine users are relying on their mobile devices to conduct searches and want to connect with attorneys as soon as possible, Local Service Ads incorporate click-to-call functionality and the ability for the user to click or tap to learn more about a potential law firm before placing a call.
The Google Screening process shows the search engine user that the attorneys listed in the Local Service Ads have met their standards and offer legal services relevant to the user’s search query. Notice the notification at the top of the Local Service Ads at the beginning of the search results:
This tells the search engine user that Google has pre-vetted all of these Local Service Ads. For example, when the user clicks on the first entry, they can see that firm’s entire Google Screening report:
Below the basic information from the Google Screening report, the user can get more information about the services the law firm provides with a quick glance:
This page also contains easy links to Google Reviews, allowing the user to quickly compare the listing’s rating to other attorneys with Local Service Ads.
To complete the Google Screening process, you should be proactive and prepare the information you will need for your Local Service Ads listing. You must provide a headshot to accompany your ad. If multiple attorneys work at your law firm, it’s only necessary to provide one headshot for the lead or founding attorney.
Every licensed attorney at your firm must also agree to a background check and provide their Bar license information to Google. Additionally, you cannot qualify for Google Screening approval unless your law firm has a Google My Business score of 3 or higher. Google notifies applicants that the entire screening process can take two to five weeks to complete depending on the number of background checks required.
Making the “Top Three”
Notice in the first image above that the top three attorneys are all verified by Google Screening, and there is a button below their entries for more attorneys in the relevant practice area. It’s ideal for placing your firm within the top three, so how do you ensure your firm makes the cut? You need to know how Google evaluates law firms competing in this manner. Some of the factors Google uses to assign rankings to the top three Local Service Ads include:
These factors may seem difficult to manage, but the reality is that working with a qualified digital marketing agency will help you take full advantage of the potential Local Service Ads could hold for your business.
The best part about the Local Service Ads system for smaller law firms is that unlike PPC ads that charge the advertiser for every click, Local Service Ads only charge the advertiser when the search engine user uses click-to-call to contact the firm. This translates to the ability to pay only for qualified leads. Local Service Ads for law firms only charges per lead when a call lasts for 30 seconds or longer. This ensures that whatever budget you set for your firm’s Local Service Ad translates into actual value in the form of qualified leads.
Local Service Ads should become one branch of a multichannel marketing strategy. For the best results on Google, it’s essential to have a robust and balanced set of marketing channels that maximizes your firm’s exposure. Local Service Ads let you focus your efforts on your most important pool of potential clients: your local service areas. When people need legal services, they look nearby. You want to position your firm as the best available option when a Google user searches for law firms like yours from their mobile device.
Work With RizeUp Media to Expand Awareness of Your Firm
Navigating the complexities of modern digital marketing can be incredibly challenging while trying to run your business and serve your clients. RizeUp Media can help your law firm create a viable digital marketing strategy that capitalizes on your firm’s best-selling points to take full advantage of every marketing dollar you spend. Contact RizeUp Media today for more information about how we can help you take advantage of Local Service Ads for law firms as part of an effective multichannel marketing strategy.
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