If you’ve ever searched for a local service provider on Google, you’ve seen the Local Services Ad carousel. LSAs are valuable tools for both businesses and searchers, allowing businesses to reach high quality leads, and allowing searchers to find trustworthy businesses more easily.
If your law firm isn’t using Google’s Local Services ads, you’re missing out on a premium source of new leads. That’s not to say it’s a simple program; there are plenty of advantages to Google Screened for lawyers, but there are also a few potential pitfalls that could prevent success.
That’s why we’re covering the ins and outs of Google Screened for lawyers on this blog. If you’ve ever wondered how to get Google Screened below your law firm’s name when high quality leads search for an attorney, we’ll get you all the information you need in this blog.
What Is Google Screened And How Does It Work?
Google Screened is a subset of Google’s Local Services ads. When you sign up for Local Services ads with Google, you’ll be eligible for a Google Screened badge as long as you pass a license check and have at least a 3.0 average from online reviewers on your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) account.
Many attorneys will find they’re eligible for Google Screened right away. For other businesses, Google conducts a more traditional background check, but since attorneys have to pass a background check to become licensed in the first place, Google only verifies that you and all practitioners at your firm are licensed legal professionals. And, of course, you should be doing your utmost to gather positive online reviews anyway.
Next, as with all advertising, you’ll need to set up a budget; in this case, Google’s budgets are weekly. It’s worth keeping in mind that Google Screened ads are not pay-per-click, they’re pay-per-lead. Your budget will only be charged once a lead calls your firm. You’ll be able to set how much you want to spend per lead, and how many leads per week you want to attract. When your budget is expended, your ad will disappear from the carousel.
Finally, your ad will be ranked. Your ad bid, responsiveness, online review average, and your location will determine how your ad performs. Of all these factors, the one you can’t really control is your location. But the importance of location is exactly what makes Google Screened ads so effective.
According to Clio’s 2022 Legal Trends Report, location ranks second among factors that lead to a client choosing a certain firm, even with all the changes to the legal profession in the last few years. The top factor was responsiveness, and the factor that tied with location was online reviews. Google Screened ads will allow you to target specifically those clients most likely to hire you, and at the time they’re most likely to be looking for your help.
Potential Pitfalls To Watch Out For
As opposed to pay-per-click advertising, pay-per-lead only charges you when someone calls your firm. From there, it’s on you to close the deal and capitalize on your investment. Google Screened ads are more likely to get you clients who want to close the deal, sure, but if your lead capturing is lacking, you might miss out on those opportunities anyway.
Of course, this is true of any marketing campaign. If you can’t close the deal, it doesn’t matter how many leads your marketing campaign brings you. But it stings extra when using Google Screened ads. These leads are very likely to hire you, and that makes them more expensive, as opposed to pay-per-click advertising, which is cheaper but has a lower conversion rate.
Sometimes, however, the leads are not as high quality as they could be. To mitigate the risk of, for example, paying for a lead that needs a family attorney when you’re a bankruptcy attorney, Google offers a reimbursement program. If your lead was looking for services you don’t supply, you can get the money spent on that lead reimbursed. It’s a bit of a complicated process; click here for a quick look at how it works.
However, this is based on the services you claim to offer on your Google Business Profile. If you list yourself as a “general attorney”, for example, you won’t be able to get any reimbursements at all. That is an actual listed category, which can have a big impact on how effective Google Screened can be for lawyers. Be very careful when setting up your account!
Finally, the local services ad carousel only shows three businesses at a time. There is an option to dig further, of course, but the further down your ad ranks, the less likely you are to get a call. You’re not losing money when you’re lower down on the carousel, since your budget is only charged when someone calls your firm. But if you’d like to make the most of your investment, you have to jostle for position on those first three spots, the same way you might if you were attempting to rank your firm’s website on Google organically.
How To Succeed With Google Screened
As with most Google advertisements, you need to invest both time and money to get the most out of your marketing efforts. You have to appease the algorithm to rank your ad high enough that it will garner attention.
While location is out of your control, the other factors involved in ranking your Google Screened ad are not. For example, responsiveness is totally under your control, and is also the factor that has the biggest impact on your ad’s ranking.
First and foremost, you never want to miss any calls. Missing a call from a Google Screened lead will negatively impact your ranking. You can schedule your ad so that it only appears when you’re most likely to be available. But, if you’re available 24/7, there will be a special badge on your ad, which will boost your ranking on its own.
While it sounds stressful, it’s not really all that different from any other lead. As we mentioned above, responsiveness was the most important factor in clients deciding whether or not to hire a firm. And besides, you want to speak to these leads as soon as possible; you’re paying for them! They’re high quality leads, people who are very likely to need the services you provide.
The next most important factor is your Google Business Profile review average. The higher your average, the better your ad will perform. Of course, making your response time as fast as possible will help here. Google Screened leads are encouraged to leave reviews as part of the process, so making them happy will lead to success on multiple levels. But you should also strive to gather positive online reviews on your own. If you’d like to learn more about how to do just that, click here for a guide.
Optimize For Google Screened Success With Answering Legal
The best way to prepare yourself for success with Google Screened ads is to hire a legal answering service like Answering Legal. With our virtual receptionists on your team, you’ll never miss another call, no matter who it’s coming from. Our receptionists are available 24/7, so your Google Screened ads will get an immediate boost from your availability.
We will give you a dedicated number to direct your Google Screened leads to, so you will be able check your messages and see that a very valuable lead has called. To learn more about our message taking service, click here. We can also schedule these leads directly into your calendar for consultations, so that you have a higher chance of securing their business.
In the same vein, a dedicated line will enable us to let you know when a Google Screened lead has called so that, if you’re available, we can transfer that caller to you immediately. Your responsiveness and review score will never be better than when you’re able to immediately attend to a new lead’s needs.
Make sure all of your marketing investments pay off. Click here or call 631-686-9700 to sign up for our free trial. For a limited time, we’re offering firms that sign up for our service their first 400 minutes free.