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The Difference Between Local Service Ads and Pay-Per-Click Advertising

The Difference Between Local Service Ads and Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) has been an excellent option for law firms to get their websites in front of a large number of potential clients. In 2017, Google launched another paid search option called “local service ads” (LSA). This new option recently became available for lawyers to use.

When you sign up for this service, background checks will be performed on all attorneys at the firm. Once your firm is approved, Google will place your LSAs at the top of the results page if they match the user’s search terms. You’ll pay for every text message or phone call generated from the advertisement.

LSAs show up before organic search results, PPC ads, and other content on the search results page. There are three ads side by side at the top of the page and a tab titled “more” that the user can click on to see other ads. Placement depends on the firm’s online reputation and proximity to potential leads. That way, prospective clients will see ads for nearby attorneys that match their needs.

Only law firms verified and vetted by Google are allowed to use LSAs. Users searching for an attorney will see a “Google Screened” badge next to your firm name so they know you’re someone they can trust. The link they click on will direct them to a helpful page containing information they’ll want to know, such as the services you provide and reviews from current and previous clients. If anyone wants to contact you, they can click a button directly on the ad.

LSAs Show Up First in Google

If you rank at or close to the top of a Google search, a client will see your PPC ad and several other law firms first. However, LSAs show up at the very top of all search results, meaning your PPC ad moves further down the page. That doesn’t necessarily mean you should suspend your pay-per-click advertising and switch over to local service ads. You can use both.

Using both programs allows you to increase your exposure online to prospective clients in your area. If you’re using LSAs, but your competition only uses PPC, someone searching for a law firm could see yours before your competitor’s. Most people don’t want to spend hours combing through different attorneys’ websites to find their best match. If you’re at the top of the page, they’re likely to click on the ad, turning a lead into a paying client.

Pay-Per-Lead Model

PPC is pay-per-click advertising, meaning you’re forced to pay whenever someone clicks on your ad, even if they never contact you. That can be a waste of money. You’re basically paying for someone to look at your site for a few seconds or minutes, then move on to the next lawyer’s ad.

With local service advertising, you don’t pay each time a person clicks on your ad. Instead, you pay by the lead. That means Google only charges you if the user messages or calls you from the ad.

A Bigger Budget Doesn’t Mean Better LSA Placement

When it comes to using PPC, the firm with the most money typically wins. That’s because increasing your advertising budget to pay for better quality ads can improve their relevance. Better quality, more relevant ads can also move your website from a lower position on the search results page to a higher position.

Unfortunately, you have much less control over the placement of your ad when you use LSAs. You can’t pay for your firm to show up at the top of the page because of the flat-fee model. Additionally, placement also depends on your location to the internet user.

Proximity is a Significant Factor in Searches

Your proximity to a prospective client is a primary factor Google will use to determine where your LSA ranks. Other factors, such as whether your services match what they’re looking for, are also considered, but your location is the main factor that will influence your ad’s positioning.

PPC campaigns aren’t as restrictive and are a much better option if you represent clients in multiple states. Instead of your website only showing up for users within 50 miles of your office, you could cast a wider net so people on the other side of the country have access to your firm’s information. For example, geographic targeting can place your ad in front of someone living in New York City, even if your main office is in Texas.

Significantly Lower Advertising Costs

LSAs are more affordable than PPC ads. Pay-per-click can be costly for your firm, especially if you’re trying to get ahead of your competition or operate in a crowded area, such as a large city. The flat-fee model used for LSAs helps your bottom line. You can lower your advertising costs by choosing LSA campaigns, which in turn reduces your cost per lead.

However, you shouldn’t trade in your PPC ads for LSAs if you can afford to run both. Pay-per-click advertising is more expensive but can attract the specific leads you want using various targeting options and a flexible budget.

Application Process

It’s not complicated to begin running PPC ads on Google search results pages. Anyone can set up an account, create a customized campaign, and immediately place their ads online.

Local service ads are a bit more complicated. You must go through an extensive application process to get into the program and wait for approval. Google performs the background checks they obtained on all your lawyers, confirms each one’s bar standing, reviews submitted paperwork, and evaluates other requirements. Additionally, eligibility only extends to specific geographic markets and types of attorneys.

Contact The Search Engine Guys

It makes the most sense to use PPC and LSAs concurrently to gain the most exposure for your firm. When you come to us, we can review your specific needs, create campaigns that work within your budget, and place your website in front of your target audience.

We understand the importance of continuously generating new leads and turning them into paying clients to grow your business. You can depend on our team to find the right strategy, so you dominate the online advertising market.

The Search Engine Guys is available 24/7 to discuss your needs and achieve your advertising goals. Do not hesitate to reach out to us before your competition surpasses your firm on search results pages. Call us at (512) 394-7234 or complete our online form for a consultation.

Written in partnership with Trial School.