Better Optimize Google Local Service Ads


According to Search Engine Land, Google’s Local Services ads account for 13.8% of all SERP clicks. When there are LSAs in search results, the number of clicks on organic results drops to around 44%. 

These statistics make it clear why there is such demand for businesses to appear as one of the three local service ads served on Google: 

  • Searchers trust local service ads.
  • You only have to pay per lead. 
  • LSAs convert into new business for advertisers. 
  • There is less emphasis on standard pay-per-click and organic results based on solid click-throughs of LSAs. 

The issue is that after the tedious LSA setup process, it’s cricket for many businesses. Within their Local Service Ads dashboard, there are no leads, and the budget isn’t spending.

You will walk away from this article with optimizations that can be done to your LSA profile to generate more exposure and leads for your business.


  • According to Google, you need at least five reviews for your Google Local Service ads to populate. 
  • Your LSA reviews are tied to the reviews that come through your Google My Business page. If you see 117 reviews on your Google Business Profile, it’ll be the same number of reviews you’ll see within your LSA dashboard. You can link your Business Profile reviews to your Local Services account in your Business Verification tab under “Customer Reviews.”
  • The more reviews you have consistently coming for your business, the more trust you have in the eyes of Google, increasing your chances of being ranked in the Local Service Ads. It is recommended that you have a proactive review strategy in place
  • Within your LSA dashboard, you can ask for reviews based on completed jobs. It is recommended that you solicit reviews from LSA. Google does put more weight into the reviews that come directly through your LSA dashboard.  
  • There is also a vanity link that can be shared with customers through Local Service Ads, making a short, easy-to-remember URL. 
  • An excellent review strategy is generating reviews from everyday customers or clients on Google Business Profile (for clients that didn’t book via LSA) AND via the LSA dashboard (for completed jobs within LSA). 
  • Don’t worry if you don’t have a perfect 5.0-star rating. Google weighs reviews by the number of reviews AND star ratings, combining the two. 
  • Local Service Ads require a 3.0 average review rating to remain active. If your review average on Google Business Profile drops below 3.0, your ads will stop serving until you exceed this threshold.



  • There are two types of bid modes: Maximize Leads and Set Max Per Lead. Google recommends leveraging Max Leads. Google will set your bid and get the most leads for your budget.
  • According to Google, it is recommended to set a minimum budget of 10 leads per week for optimal results. If you aren’t seeing leads from the onset, don’t be discouraged; it could take two weeks to see accurate results while the model adjusts and learns about your business. 
  • If you aren’t getting leads with your initial budget, we recommend increasing the budget until you start generating more leads. It can be scary putting in an average weekly budget of $6,688 (see example below), but sometimes it takes putting in a larger weekly budget for your advertisements to start populating. We recommend putting 2×3 times what you want to spend as your budget. Most of the time, it won’t hit the original budget, so this strategy allows you to get closer to your ideal budget. 
  • Someone should constantly be monitoring your LSA account. If you set a larger budget, even if you hadn’t been spending that in the past, there’s a chance Google can spend this at any time, so having someone monitor will ensure you don’t spend more than you want.


Google recommends Maximize Leads bidding mode.


  • Google states you should “expand your service area.” For example, target your whole county rather than specific postal codes. In my opinion, Google’s guidance has people targeting too broadly rather than honing in on their backyard (more on this below). 
  • Our theory with LSA targeting is similar to Google Ads. You wouldn’t ask a campaign to service more than one major market. According to WordStream, it’s unrealistic to target more than three markets from one LSA profile. If you have multiple LSA profiles, focus on targeting the respective DMA of each location. 
    • For example, if you are a plumber with locations in Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati, for each LSA Profile, target the respective city and not beyond. 
  • If you only have one Google Business Profile and serve multiple locations, the locations you select should target close proximity to your main location. 
    • For example, a law firm client in Columbus, Ohio, can service the entire state of Ohio. It would be easy to target all of Ohio. The better practice would be to target areas within Franklin County, as there is a proximity ranking factor that comes into play with Google Local Service Ads. 
  • You can exclude specific locations within GLSA. We had a moving company client exclude suburbs in the Dallas area with a lower household income. The lead quality drastically improved after taking this measure. I recommend only removing excluding areas once you are hitting the budget. 


You can pick specific service areas. You can also exclude certain areas.

Hours & Response Time  

  • According to Google, it’s highly recommended that you respond to leads as soon as they come in. A consistently fast response time could improve your ad’s ranking on Google search and increase your ability to receive leads.
  • The debate with LSA hours is whether to put 24/7 or actual hours when your business doors are open. WordStream states, “If you can’t support leads 24/7, do not let the campaign run 24/7.”
    • Most law firms put 24 hours as their hours of operation since they have an answering service tending to calls and chats after 5 PM. 
    • If you can technically support the leads 24/7 and competitors are doing this, by not following this course of action, you may get left behind. 
    • If you don’t have someone answering phones after 5 PM, don’t put 24/7. Also, if you will put 24/7 as your hours of operation on your LSA profile, make sure this is reflected on Google My Business and any other places on the web and at your office that reference your hours of operation. If you don’t list the correct hours, competitors can report your Business Profile for a violation, which could lead to a possible suspension. 
  • When you respond to a lead quickly, there is a greater chance that you will win the business. Studies show that businesses who respond to leads in five minutes or less are 100x more likely to connect and convert opportunities. The point is that quick response time is in play as an LSA ranking factor. 
    • Advantage Attorney Marketing states that Google monitors every LSA call and email and looks for things like: 
      • Whether the call was answered by a human or a machine 
      • How many rings (or seconds) did it take to answer the phone
      • Did the call go to voicemail 
      • Response time to an email submission
      • How long did it take from when the lead was received to an action being taken on the LSA dashboard? 
  • Regarding hours and response time, I recommend having a professional, quick response to all leads. This will ensure successful LSA optimization.

Marking Your Leads 

  • If you archive your lead, you will not be charged. It is recommended to archive all leads that aren’t legitimate. Short, five-second phone calls are examples of leads you want to archive. This information gets passed to Google, and they will do a better job of trying to send you the right customer. It’s also a plus that you won’t get charged for bad leads. 
  • When there is a good lead that comes through, you want to mark this as booked. Lead prices may vary depending on your location, the job type, the type of lead, or your bidding mode, but each lead received will count toward your budget. When Google sees legitimate leads coming through your LSA profile, they analyze this data and will try to find you more similar customers. 
  • Someone from your organization should be assigned to manage your Local Services dashboard. It’s essential to constantly monitor this and appropriately and quickly label leads for the best optimization. Remember, marking leads and responding quickly can help you better rank on Google Local Service Ads.


Example of a low-quality lead that’s archived so the advertiser isn’t charged.


Marketing a legitimate lead as booked with LSA
This is an example of a legitimate lead marked as “booked.”

Avoid Disapprovals & Other Optimizations 

  • As part of a monthly LSA checklist, make sure there’s nothing within your account that is disapproved. An expired certification or flagged headshot can derail your campaign performance. 
  • Be sure to select the correct services for your business. It’s easy to select all the services listed but be strategic. If you are a personal injury lawyer, for example, and don’t focus on medical malpractice, this shouldn’t be listed. You don’t want to accept leads for jobs you won’t take.


For some reason, this photo isn’t approved. Without oversight, this could prevent LSA’s from getting served.


Make sure to select accurate services you offer within LSA.

In Closing 

Local Service Ads are not set-it-and-forget-it. The businesses that win with LSAs are proactive with reviews, quick response times, and thorough with booking and archiving leads.   

If you need help optimizing Google Local Service Ads or any marketing initiative, please contact The Media Captain.

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