How to Set Up a Google Local Service Ads Campaign

Not long ago, a local service provider had to rely primarily on traditional marketing methods to get the word out about their business. While the likes of leaflets and newspaper ads can be effective in their own right, their reach is understandably limited.

Fortunately, there has been a savior that opened the digital world to local businesses: Google. Rather than simply having a website and social media profiles, a local service provider now has numerous digital marketing tools at their disposal.

In that regard, there are two methods that have grown in widespread prominence in recent years: Google My Business and local keywords.

Google My Business, a free listing tool that allows for a business to manage how it appears on Google, is the foundation for any local SEO campaign. This is supported by the use of local keywords, which ensures that a business turns up in any relevant searches by customers looking for local products and services.

Now, the king of search has introduced a new platform for local service-based companies: Google Local Service Ads.

Simply put, Local Service Ads are a level above standard text advertisements. They directly connect people with specific local service industries, avoid low-quality traffic, and refine the entire search query process.

As with any new platform, there are often misconceptions flying around due to a lack of information. That’s no longer an issue. Thanks to this comprehensive guide, you have all the answers you could need – and more. It will explain what Local Service Ads are, how they function, and how you can implement them into your very own marketing campaign.

Are you ready to give your client list a boost? Simply read on.

What are Google Local Service Ads?

Now you might be familiar with standard Google Ads. While these can be effective in the right hands, it’s often difficult to turn search queries into conversions. This is an issue that Google Local Service Ads attempts to resolve.

This is due to the platform’s focus on high-quality leads. If a consumer comes across your Local Service Ad, it’s because they are looking for a service you offer. Plus, your business will only show up in a potential customer’s search results if they are within close proximity – hence the ‘local’ part of the name.

As for where these Local Service Ads are positioned, they land right at the very top of Google search results. That means they sit above standard paid ads and organic search results – supplying maximum visibility in the process. Typically, a relevant search query will bring up several different professionals that are located within a certain area.

Google Local Service Ads Campaign

As the example above shows, the advert includes more than simply the business name. It features review ratings, the area/s it serves, contact number, and hours of operation. Perhaps most importantly, the ad lists the business as “Google Guaranteed.” This guarantee serves as a seal of approval and that your company is one a potential customer can place their trust in.

At present, Google Local Service Ads are only available in certain regions of the United States and Canada. It’s also only useable for certain businesses in the service industry.

How do Google Local Service Ads work?

For a business that wants to set up a Google Local Service Ads campaign, they first need to check they are within the right type of industry. Currently, this ad platform is available to the following industry categories in the United States:

  • Carpenters
  • Electricians
  • Locksmiths
  • Movers
  • Plumbers
  • Roofers
  • HVAC (heating or air conditioning)
  • Appliance repair services
  • Cleaning services
  • Carpet cleaning services
  • Estate lawyer services
  • Countertop services
  • Landscaping services
  • Fencing services
  • Financial planning services
  • Junk removal services
  • Flooring services
  • Garage door services
  • Foundations services
  • Immigration lawyer services
  • Lawn care services
  • Pest control services
  • Real estate services
  • Siding services
  • Water damage services
  • Tree services
  • Window repair services
  • Window cleaning services

While this is a comprehensive list for the US, it is a different story for Canada. At the time of writing, Canada only accepts the following categories: plumbers, locksmiths, electricians, and HVAC (heating or air conditioning).

There are also limitations in terms of the regions and provinces that currently have access to Local Service Ads. Generally, the larger and more populous the area, the more likely the service is available. Fortunately, Google makes it easy to check if your business is eligible – more on this later.

So, how do the ads actually work?

As with any standard type of Google ad service, it all begins with the search. If you are an electrician that operates in New York, for example, potential customers will come across your business with a relevant search like “best electrician in New York”. Yet it also goes beyond traditional search results. Local Service Ads also come up in relevant voice searches on Google Assistant, which makes it one of the few promotional tactics to appear on this popular platform.

As mentioned previously, your ad will appear at the top of the page within traditional search results. Depending on the search query, a user might be faced with several different professionals in their area. However, if there are, say, over 50 New York electricians using Local Service Ads on Google, how can you guarantee your business will appear at the top of the page? After all, space is a premium – only three Service Ads will pop up on desktop, two on mobile, and just one with Google Assistant.

Unlike traditional search ad methods that rely on various different optimization tactics, there are more straightforward points which determine your ranking on Local Service Ads. These include:

  • Your overall review score.
  • The number of reviews from customers.
  • Business operating hours.
  • How fast you are to respond to requests and enquiries.
  • If the business has received regular and/or serious complaints.
  • The proximity of your business to the location of users.

On Google, users also have the opportunity to click on the Local Services section. This means they can browse all nearby options that have signed up to this ad platform – and are not just limited to the highlighted picks. It also supplies them with the ability to narrow down their search by selecting a specific service.

Local Services

When a user has decided on the right service provider for their needs, they will click – or tap – on the applicable advert. At this point, they will have the opportunity to get in direct contact with your business. This can be done either by phone or by sending a message request. The user will now be classified as a lead.

It is only when you receive a lead that you’re charged by Google. That’s right: the ads are not pay-per-click or based on impressions. You only pay when you receive a high-quality, targeted lead.

Of course, the work isn’t done quite yet. You still have to turn this lead into a customer. Fortunately, Google supplies a number of tools that are accessible through your Local Services Ads account. This makes it easy to manage your leads, communicate with clients, view ad performance reports, and more.

The advantages of using Google Local Service Ads

If you’ve read the previous sections, you already have an idea about some of the major benefits of utilizing Google Local Service Ads. However, it’s well worth reiterating and expanding on these points. It demonstrates just how advantageous it is to use Local Service Ads!

Land at the top of Google results

If you have been in the marketing game for a significant amount of time, you understand the complex challenge of trying to reach the top of Google search results organically. You have to source the right keywords, create the right content, generate backlinks, optimize website performance, etc.

It’s a considerable amount of work – and there’s no guarantee you will surpass everyone else to the pinnacle of the rankings.

With Local Service Ads, you’re offered a shortcut to the top. There’s no need to mess around with keywords or stay up-to-date with the latest changes to SEO guidelines. Plus, you are truly placed at the top of the page – you’re above all organic traffic and standard Google Ads. As a result, your business will be among the first search results that a potential customer will see following their query.

Target the right local customers

When you use Local Service Ads, you can be safe in the knowledge that you’re targeting the right people. There’s no worry you will receive low-quality traffic or people who have no interest in using your services. If someone lands on your ad, it’s because they have searched for your industry and in your location. Because of this, you will receive a high concentration of searchers who can turn into potential customers.

In addition, you only ever hear from people who want to use your services. There’s no feeding out process – they get in contact because they intend to hire you for the job.

You only pay for leads

With other paid ad solutions, it can be easy to waste a large portion of your marketing budget without receiving any worthwhile results. You can receive a high number of impressions, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will turn into conversions.

This is not something you have to worry about with Local Service Ads. If you don’t receive any leads from your ads, you don’t have to pay a penny. That means you’re not paying for impressions or operating on a PPC structure. Ultimately, there’s much less risk involved overall.

Plus, with the previous points in mind, you know the leads introduced your way are high-quality ones. Even then, you can still dispute any charge to your account if you felt the lead was a dud – whether this was due to it being presumably spam, fraudulent, or simply a poor match.

Avoid the pain of keywords

For any marketer who focuses on SEO, they realize the struggle of keyword research and implementing the right words into campaigns. It’s a never-ending task due to how the keyword environment can change on a day-to-day basis.

Keywords, thankfully, are not part of the Local Service Ads package. Google will take information directly from your business profile, and this will be used so that your ad turns up in relevant search terms. It won’t simply be for broad terms like “locksmith,” either. It can be included in potentially thousands of search terms that are deemed relevant, such as “key cutting service in Chicago.”

Receive Google’s approval

Never underestimate the power of approval from Google. People place a lot of trust into the search powerhouse, so they will take notice if a business receives a “Google Guaranteed” badge of honor.

Receive Google’s approval

Yet receiving an endorsement from Google is only the start. Simply having that “Google Guaranteed” phrase in block capitals alongside a tick creates an eye-catching impression. Look at the above advert example and see how the guarantee stands out from the rest of the text and information.

Oh, and Google doesn’t simply throw that guarantee at any old business. When they validate a company in that way, they’re putting their money where their mouth is. If a customer books your services through Google but are unhappy with your work, they could be in line for a refund of up to $2,000 from Google.

The bonus of Google Assistant

As stated earlier in this guide, your ad can also receive coverage on Google Assistant. Not only is this a unique way of getting the word out about your business, but there’s also less competition as the platform accepts a limited number of ad solutions.

Furthermore, there’s another notable advantage relating to Google Assistant: this service is free. You don’t have to pay any extra for appearing on Assistant as a local provider.

It’s easy to get started

Even for the least tech-savvy of people, it’s simple to utilize Local Service Ads. This is thanks to the easy-to-use tools supplied by Google, which means businesses can manage their ads, leads, and budgets effortlessly.

If you require further proof at the simplicity of Local Service Ads, just read the next section.

How to set up a Google Local Services Ads campaign

Although it is relatively easy to get your campaign up and running, you still require care and attention during the set up process. This is particularly the case if you want to maximize the performance of your Local Services Ads.

The following guide not only walks you through the process, but it also throws in some helpful tips along the way.


Step one: Check you’re eligible

As you now know, Google Local Services Ads are only accessible for certain industries in certain locations. Fortunately, it is easy to check if your business is eligible for inclusion on this platform.

To begin, simply visit the Local Services’ Eligibility page.

Check you’re eligible

On this page, you have a number of selections to make. Firstly, if you pick the United States, you will then have to fill in your “State” and “ZIP code.” In Canada, this reverts to the “Province” and “Postal code.” Along with location details, you also have to choose your “Job Category” and tick if you have relevant insurance and local licensing requirements.

Once you have filled in the details, simply click the “Check Eligibility” button at the bottom of the page. If your business is deemed eligible, you can move on to the next part of the process. If not, there’s not much else you can do other than wait for Google to roll out the platform in your region – or relocate!

Step two: Create your profile

Check you’re eligible

At this stage, you are asked to create a profile that includes basic business details. These details are:

  • Business name
  • Business phone number
  • Website (optional)
  • Owner’s first name/surname
  • Total number of fieldworkers
  • Year business was founded
  • Address

When these are filled in, you will be taken to the “Setup your service area” page. This is the part where you select the areas that your business will service. For example, if you’re based in New York, you may also stretch outside NY into New Jersey and Philadelphia. By picking the right service area, your Service Ads will reach the right local customers.

It is easy to set the service area for your business. If you want to add a new area, simply search for your desired neighborhood, city, or county in the search box provided by Google.

county in the search box provided by Google

Once you have found your desired location, it will be added to the accompanying map as a “Service area” and highlighted.

In addition to this, you can also refine your reach by only selecting certain postal areas. This is particularly handy if you operate in a large state like Texas, as this means you can zone in on specific regions and neighborhoods. It’s also a positive if you simply want to avoid certain areas within your service location. When you exclude a postal area, this ensures your Service Ads won’t show up in search results made by people who are within that postal area (estimations might be necessary on Google’s part).


If you are ready to remove a certain postal area from the equation, this can be done with ease. If the state you have selected has an arrow beside its name, click this to open up the postal areas section. At this point, you can simply deselect whatever postal areas you don’t want to service. When this is done, it will be removed from the map example to give you a visual representation of your overall coverage.

search for location

When you’re happy that all areas you want to service are covered, it’s time to move onto the “Set up your service types” page.

This page is where you give further details about the services your business offers. This is an important aspect as it will expand the possibilities of your company showing up in relevant searches. For example, someone might not simply search for “New York electrician.” Their query could be more specific to a certain issue, such as “install electric car charger.” If you offer the service, make sure Google knows about it.

As for what service types will be available to select, this depends on your industry. Here are the options for a roofer:

set up your service type

Remember to only offer services that you are licensed or qualified to complete. If you don’t do this, your ad could be removed by Google – and that’s only the start of your problems.

The last details to fill in are your business hours. Simply select which days your company opens on, and the hours which you operate on a specific day. For instance, you may only run on a limited schedule during the weekends. In that case, you can alter your business hours to fall in line with this change.

business hours

With all details imputed, you will be shown a preview of your Local Services Ad. If you’re happy everything is fine, click “Next,” and your business profile will be created.

Step three: Become Google Guaranteed

Before your Local Services Ad can go live, your business needs to receive the ‘Google Guaranteed’ badge. This is done by completing a number of tasks.

Firstly, you have to set a budget for your ad campaign. When deciding on how much to spend, Google will provide an estimation of how many leads you are likely to generate based on your budget.

Google Guaranteed

As seen in the above example, you decide on a weekly budget or the number of leads you wish to receive. The other column then adjusts accordingly. It also provides estimated monthly figures for your ad campaign. Based on the figures given in the example, you would be paying an average of $36 per generated lead. However, the amount varies depending on factors like the market, service type, and geographical location.

Along with the budget, you also have to supply payment information. Options include a valid credit/debit card or bank account. Payments are either taken every 30 days or when your allocated billing threshold has been met.

The next step is to upload your certificate of liability insurance. This document should display both your expiration date and insurance amount.


In addition, you also have to include details about all the licenses and registrations your business currently holds. License and registrations numbers are publicly displayed for customers to view.

Depending on the state and industry you selected, Google provides all relevant License/registration types for you. You simply have to add your license/registration number and expiration date for each one.

Here’s an example of the license/registration types required for a roofing business in Alaska:

license/registration types required

You also have to agree to a complete background check. If Google’s about to give you their seal of approval, they need to know your business is a trustworthy one. This check is carried out by Evident. It’s recommended to do this as soon as possible, as it will usually take Evident at least two weeks to provide you with the results of the background check.

To have your Local Services Ads go live, you also require one other element: a customer review. If you already possess existing reviews via your Google My Business profile, these will be added to your Local Services account. If you don’t have any reviews, however, you have to reach out to recent customers. Simply send them a review link to your profile and kindly ask them to add a review. Of course, the more reviews you gain, the better.

When all of your details have been entered, Google states you should expect an update from them within two-to-three weeks.

Step four: Launch and manage your campaign

With your business profile complete and Google Guaranteed badge in place, it’s time to launch your campaign. The beauty of Local Service Ads is you can effectively sit back and let Google work its magic to bring leads your way.

With that said, it’s essential you manage your incoming leads in an efficient and effective manner. There are two main ways in which this can be done. One way is to simply visit your Local Services dashboard and click the “Leads” button. Alternatively, you can download the “Local Services Ads by Google” app from either the Google Play or Apple App Store.

Launch and manage your campaign

Regardless of the platform you pick, it allows you to easily connect with customers and manage your leads.

Tips to increase the success of Local Service Ads

Due to the fact Google does most of the legwork, there’s not much room for you to actually enhance the success of your Local Service Ads. However, there are certain approaches you can take to improve the quality of leads and maximize your budget.

Measure the results

On the Local Services dashboard or app, you can view reports that relate to the performance of your ads. By viewing these, you have the ability to measure the results and see just how many leads are being generated. In addition, you can view how many leads are converting into actual bookings.

It’s important to regularly monitor these reports. If the success rate of your leads is high, it might prompt you to increase your ad budget. On the other hand, if you’re receiving too many leads to handle, you could reduce the budget to bring in a more manageable amount of potential customers.

Bank on reviews

Positive reviews are integral in various different ways. They improve your ranking score with Google search results. They make your business stand out from the competition. They tell potential customers your business is one to trust.

Because of this, place a strong focus on collecting reviews from happy customers. Do you feel uncomfortable reaching out and asking for reviews? There’s no need to worry – Google has you covered. On the “Leads” dashboard, there’s a column where you can “Ask for review” and send customers a message.

Bank on reviews

It’s especially beneficial to receive a review directly from a customer through Local Services. This is because their review is accompanied by a “Google verified job” label – a great way to avoid potential customers thinking any reviews are fabricated.

customers thinking any reviews

Be quick to respond

People don’t like to wait around. This is particularly the case in the digital age, where everyone expects instant responses. As a result, it’s essential you respond to inquiries and requests as quickly as possible.

This isn’t simply about leaving a potential customer disgruntled, either. If you’re slow to reply back to your leads, this will have a detrimental effect on your Ad Rank with Google. Consequently, you could struggle to land in a prominent position during search results.

Even if the lead is a poor one where you’re not interested in the proposed work, make sure you reply to their message.

Provide the best possible service

Simply put, your Local Services Ads can only do so much for you. They will bring the leads your way, but it’s your responsibility to turn these leads into satisfied customers. To do this, you need to look beyond advertising and focus on the quality of your work.

There are various approaches to take to ensure customers are happy. It helps if you’re punctual and complete work in a speedy manner, as does having a friendly and personable attitude. Most importantly, however, is that you complete tasks to a high standard.

If you provide the full package, customers will not only supply you with a glowing five-star review, but they will be more willing to do so – there won’t be any need to chase people up and request they leave a review.


If you run a local service business, you know it’s a challenge to bring in new clients. This is particularly the case if your company is a new one. You don’t benefit from the reputation of being an established name in the community, and that means you typically miss out on the advantages of word of mouth marketing.

This is where Google Local Service Ads can present a massive helping hand. This platform delivers high-quality leads your way, and the amount of potential customers is only limited by your budget. The result: you can build up your client list, increase your work output, and ultimately grow your business.