Starting in the summer of 2020, Google expanded its Local Service Ads (LSAs) program to cover more locations and most legal practice areas. This pay-per-lead marketing service could, indeed, be the “next big thing” for law firms in search engine marketing, so early adoption is key to getting a competitive advantage in your market. In a previous blog, we defined LSAs and discussed their potential pros and cons, so this blog will cover the onboarding process and requirements to run LSAs.
What Practice Areas Are Available and Is It Available in My Location?
Prior to the summer of 2020, only estate and immigration law firms in a very shallow pool of locations were allowed to utilize LSAs. That field has been expanded to include most legal practice areas and a larger, though not yet clearly defined, number of major metropolitan areas. The listed practice areas for LSAs are:
- Personal Injury
- Real Estate
If your firm falls into one of these practice areas, you may be eligible to run Local Service Ads in your area. To find out more and see if you are eligible, contact PaperStreet for a free evaluation.
How Do I Get Started with LSAs?
To get started, a paid search representative will need to collect the following information:
- Main practice area(s) (i.e. family, criminal)
- Business/firm name
- Parent business (if applicable)
- Business phone
- First and last name of business/firm owner
- Total number of lawyers in the firm
- Year founded (or years in practice, alternatively)
- Languages spoken
- Business/firm address
- Service area (as specific as possible)
- Specific practice areas (i.e. divorce, felonies)
- Hours of operation
Once this basic information has been provided, PaperStreet will be able to provide a quote on budget and Google’s expected quantity and price of leads.
How Much Does It Cost? What Kind of Budget Will I Need?
As this service is new for most legal practice areas, the costs and budgets are not widely known and will vary based on practice areas and location. From early observations, the cost per lead is lower than or at least competitive with current cost per lead expectations with Google Ads. Additionally, LSAs require a minimum budget ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on location and practice area. Once the required information has been given, a paid search specialist will be able to provide a more detailed expectation on costs and budgets.
What Else Is Required?
Unlike Google Ads, Local Service Ads require all participants to go through a screening process. Once the initial budget and expectations have been set, the next step will be to provide a headshot for display in the ads, bar license information, proof of malpractice insurance, and customer reviews (which can be pulled in from your existing Google My Business account). For the license and malpractice insurance, there is an expected 2-3 day wait for approval.
In addition to these elements, there is also a third-party background check of the firm’s owner and any practicing lawyer in the firm to ensure public safety and confidence prior to ads displaying. For more details on the background check process, please refer to the “minimum provider requirements” from Google found here. Depending on the number of checks that have to be performed, the process can take from as little as a few days to just over a month. While this may seem cumbersome, the benefits of having LSAs, as well as the “Google Screened” badge it merits for the ads, should outweigh the inconveniences inherent to the process.
Due to the high visibility and pay-per-lead nature of the Local Service Ads, as well as the length of the approval process, it is advisable to get started on determining eligibility and onboarding for your firm as soon as possible. To being the process, reach out to your PaperStreet paid search representative today.