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7 Deadly Google Local Service Ad Account Sins

October 5, 2023

Google has been aggressively expanding its Local Service Ads to new verticals, upping the stakes in an already competitive arena. It's no longer a nice-to-have; it's a must-have for any local service business. 

Having navigated these waters with countless brands across various sectors, we've seen it all.  We often hear the same concerns from the clients we've onboarded: "Why aren't our Google Local Service Ad accounts performing like they used to? What are we doing wrong? How can we fix it?" 

And it's usually a mix of missed opportunities and minor missteps that can lead to major setbacks. 

Fortunately, these are all navigable, especially when you're aware of the seven deadly sins that can torpedo your Google Local Service Ad account. 

But before we dive into the pitfalls of Google Local Service Ads (GLSAs), let’s cover the basics.

What Exactly Are Google Local Service Ads?

Designed for home service-oriented businesses, Google Local Service Ads (GLSAs) stand apart from the usual pay-per-click Google Search Ads. Instead of relying on metrics like bid amount and ad quality, LSAs operate on a pay-per-lead model. Factors such as customer reviews, proximity to the searcher, and operating hours dictate your ad rank. 

Plus, these ads claim prime real estate, appearing above traditional Google Search Ads.

Let’s make sure this is clear: Local Services Ads differ from both Google Ads and Google My Business.

Google Ads operate on a pay-per-click basis, meaning you're charged when someone clicks the ad, regardless of whether they engage or not.

On the other hand, Google My Business provides online business verification and contact details, including a website link, but it's not an advertisement.

The Different GLSA Types

Two key types of ads are in play: Google Screened and Google Guaranteed

While Google Screened caters to white-collar sectors like real estate, law, and accounting, 

Google Guaranteed serves more hands-on industries. 

Both come with their own set of rules and benefits, making the choice between them crucial for your ad strategy.

Google Guaranteed targets trades such as plumbing, housekeeping, and locksmithing. The main distinction lies in customer protection: Google Guaranteed offers up to $2,000 if customers aren’t satisfied with the quality of work, while Google Screened lacks this safeguard.

Both Google Guaranteed and Google Screened badges serve as trust signals for prospective clients, playing a crucial role in growing your service-based business.

Setting Up Your GLSA Account

To participate in either the Google Guaranteed or Google Screened programs, you'll need to fulfill these criteria:

  • Maintain at least a 3.0 rating on your Google Business Profile.
  • Have an active Google Ads account
  • Complete background checks for the necessary team members.

During the LSA profile setup, you'll be guided to establish a review link and enter your qualifications.

Determining the Right Account Structure for Your LSAs

Deciding on the appropriate account structure from the beginning can save you a lot of hassle down the road. Here's what you need to think about:

Do you operate in multiple significant markets?

We would quantify a significant market by the following criteria: 

  • Revenue: It accounts for a sizable portion of your total income.
  • Volume: It has a high number of transactions or user engagement.
  • Growth: It shows a strong, upward trajectory in metrics like user acquisition or sales.
  • Strategic Importance: It aligns closely with your business goals or has key customers.

Are you running a franchise?

Are you an advertising agency?

If your LSA profile aims at more than three key targets, you're stretching your budget and possibly jeopardizing your local ranking. For those serving various locations, it's beneficial to have separate Google Business Profiles and individual LSA profiles for each market.

In essence, if you're not focusing solely on a single market, you'll likely need multiple profiles.

Opting for a manager account setup (MCC) offers advantages like easy profile navigation without the need to log in and out, unified billing, and consolidated reporting. This is particularly useful for franchises or agencies, as an LSA profile can only share login details with one other email.

How Google Ranks Service Providers

While having the Google Guarantee can boost your visibility, it doesn't guarantee a top spot in search results. Google Local Services ads use reviews and responsiveness to rank service providers, prioritizing user experience.


Google's ranking algorithm is a well-kept secret, but one thing is clear: Google reviews play a significant role in your ranking. It's not just about the total number of reviews; recency and ratings also matter. Often, newer businesses with positive reviews outperform established ones with more reviews.


Google Local Services ads are unique because they aim to connect customers directly with service providers. Responsiveness is crucial to ensure customers receive prompt assistance. Google monitors how quickly service providers respond to inquiries.

In summary, if you want your Local Services ads to appear at the top of search results, focus on garnering positive reviews and promptly engaging with customers.

How Much Do Google Local Services Ads Cost?

For small businesses seeking lead generation, Google Local Service ads are a viable option. On average, these ads cost between $2 and $20 per lead, with variations based on location, industry, and local competition.

If budget concerns you, Google's cost tool is a valuable resource. It allows you to set a budget limit and determine the number of leads you can generate within that budget. This helps you manage costs while still generating sufficient leads for business growth.

Here’s a breakdown of Local Services Ads lead cost by industry:
HVAC – $26
Plumber – $24
Electrician – $17
Garage door – $19
Locksmith – $11
Carpet cleaning – $21
House cleaning – $19

7 Deadly Sins That Are Wreaking Havoc On Your GLSA Accounts

Sin #1: Too Many Target Markets Per Profile

Each Local Services Ads (GLSA) profile should focus on only one to three key markets.

The more targeted your approach, the better your performance will be. If your business serves multiple locations with one Google Business Profile, select areas closest to your ideal customers. This improves your chances in local search rankings.

Instead of juggling multiple markets with one LSA profile, create individual profiles for each key market you serve. This ensures a targeted budget and better results. Think of GLSA profiles the same way you would break out ad campaigns in your Google Ad Account. 

Choose large geographical units like counties for your target areas. To get more specific, you can exclude certain zip codes. Remember, competition is tough, so secure your LSA profile and budget for key markets to ensure your brand stands out.

Sin #2: Not Enough Google Reviews

As per Google's guidelines, customer reviews play a pivotal role in shaping your ad ranking. But how do you garner those valuable positive reviews? It's not just about delivering exceptional service; you need to proactively seek them. Here's how to go about it:

  • Utilize the "ask for review" button conveniently located next to each completed job. Simply click it to send a review link directly to the customer.
  • Alternatively, after successfully booking a lead and marking it as completed, take the opportunity to request a review from the customer.

It's worth noting that the top search results, whether they stem from paid ads or organic listings, command a staggering 75 percent of the traffic. Thus, cultivating a collection of positive reviews becomes even more vital for securing your spot at the forefront.

Sin #3: Inaccurate Business Hours

Local Services ads are designed to swiftly connect customers with service providers, which is especially crucial in emergency services like HVAC (heating or air conditioning) or water damage services. In these urgent situations, people need assistance immediately, and with a plethora of businesses to choose from, the one that responds first often clinches the client. 

While having accurate business hours is essential, it's also worth considering early mornings or late hours with ample staff available for quicker response times. These time slots can be less competitive, as some brands may not have set business hours during these periods, rendering their ads ineligible. 

Sin #4: Budgetary Restrictions

The beauty of Local Services Ads lies in the level of control they offer over your budget. During the ad creation process, you'll establish both a weekly budget and a monthly maximum limit. 

While you might occasionally exceed your weekly budget to accommodate more leads, rest assured that Google won't allow you to surpass your monthly maximum. This flexibility enables you to maintain a steady stream of leads while retaining control over your expenses.

However, limitations in your budget can cap the number of ad impressions you receive. It's crucial to maintain vigilant oversight of your budget and consider increasing it if you've exhausted your set limit and can accommodate more leads.

But here's a key tip: When making budget adjustments, opt for gradual increments to ensure a smooth transition.

Sin #5: Not Archiving Leads

Archiving leads informs Google's machine learning algorithms about which prospects are not a good fit for your business. This helps the platform better allocate your budget toward leads that are more likely to convert. Effective lead management is crucial to scaling your local service ad opportunities. Check out our blog post here for the nitty-gritty details on effective lead management. 

Sin #6: Missing Business Details 

Put yourself in your customer's shoes. What information would they require to make an informed decision about choosing your business? Consider these examples:

  • Clearly specify the ZIP codes you cover and any variations in services between different areas.
  • Present your working hours in an easily understandable format.
  • Incorporating photos into your Google Local Services Ads profile is a surefire way to increase your business's visibility and establish trust with potential customers. 

Remember that the specifics of what's relevant can differ from one business to another. Take the time to carefully consider this before finalizing your listing to ensure you provide all the necessary information.

Sin #7: Taking Too Long To Respond To Leads

Remember that these leads are actively seeking your services, so it's crucial to stay responsive. Here are some strategies to manage your inquiries effectively:

  • Swift responses: Whether it's a call or an email inquiry, aim to respond promptly, even if you can't take on the job. Timely communication can have a positive impact on your ad ranking.
  • Set dedicated response times: Schedule specific blocks of time during the day to address messages and follow up on emails. This structured approach helps you stay organized and ensures you don't miss any inquiries.
  • Regular dashboard check-ins: While instant replies may not always be expected, keeping a close eye on your dashboard is vital for success with Local Services Ads. Stay engaged with potential clients, manage your leads efficiently, and maximize your business's growth potential.


Local search intent fuels nearly 50% of all Google searches, and GLSAs secure a prominent position atop the SERP. They are an essential element of a holistic digital marketing strategy for local service businesses. 

For optimal results and a higher ROI with GLSAs, remember two key principles: you must maintain accurate information consistently and prioritize swift responses to leads. 

These practices will enable you to harness the full potential of your ads and make the most of your digital marketing efforts.

Interested in a comprehensive GLSA audit conducted by our expert team, complete with advanced strategies and innovative ideas? Don't hesitate to get in touch with us.

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