Local Service Ads for Lawyers: What to Consider - Martindale-Avvo

Local Service Ads for Lawyers: What to Consider

Local Service Ads

LSAs (Local Service Ads) are a Google pay-per-lead (PPL) product that quickly increases visibility on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) across different businesses and services areas. Since the initial rollout, there have been many improvements to the service, including dashboard tracking metrics, appointment booking, and even receipt of leads from text.

If you have been thinking about adding this as part of your marketing program for your law firm, there are certain things to consider.

Is My Firm a Good Fit for LSAs?

If you have an understanding of the general benefits and goals of LSAs and are considering dedicating some marketing budget towards them, it’s less of a question if LSAs are right for your firm, but rather, is your firm right for LSAs?  

This product has gained quite a bit of traction and the AOPs and service areas eligible for the service are now quite sizable.  However, there are some law firms that should reconsider these Local Service Ads. 

Law firms who may not see a good return on investment are: 

  • Practicing a more niche area of law, such as Maritime Law
  • Specific about their client/case type, such as high net worth divorce 

Although Google does allow reimbursement for leads (and for some firms in these buckets this might be enough to consider taking a leap), there are a couple of things to note:

  • The reimbursed lead will be applied as a credit to your advertising account, but you’re not going to be able to get the money back in your wallet.  
  • During COVID, the credits were issued much later than Google’s expectation of receipt upon your month-end statement, and we’re not sure if this has been remedied to full satisfaction.
  • Reimbursement is at Google’s discretion.

Can My Law Firm Manage the Ads?

What we have seen from our lawyers running Local Service Ads is that the Google Screened or Google Guarantee process is involved, but once you focus your effort on providing the necessary information to complete your background check, running the LSAs are a breeze.  

Once the Google Screened or Google Guarantee status is achieved, we’ve seen that law firms can effectively manage their ads service and lead intake independently. Within the Google Leads Management you can easily control: 

  1. Lead disputes and resolute request for reimbursement
  2. Pausing and reactivating ads
  3. Updating budget
  4. Archiving and classifying leads as booked 

However, the Google Screened and Google Guarantee processes have an involved and rigorous background check for the business and client-facing employees. For those who have an SEO resource they can lean on, we recommend they partner with them to manage this screening process. 

Our customers who have invested in this program have seen the following benefits: 

Management: Outside of the fairly involved Google Screened request process, there is minimal management to maintain the ads.

Lead volume: The lead volume is strong, and the only time we have had a customer pause their ads was to catch up with intake. 

Budget: Clients that chose the minimum weekly budget still received a lead within the first week. They also didn’t feel the need to increase their budget and are comfortable with their lead volume.  

Side effects: We also haven’t seen the ads incriminate on placement elsewhere on the SERP and more generally, interfere with other advertising initiatives and marketing goals currently in place.  

For vetted legal leads, Martindale-Nolo has the best bet for law firms with a Pay-Per-Lead service that caters directly to the industry. Find out more in our article, Law Firm Internet Marketing Strategy Using Pay-Per-Lead.

This post was edited for clarity on January 16, 2024. Note: Google recently updated its LSA ad rankings article and resources on improving LSA performance.

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