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Google Ads vs Local Service Ads: What is the Difference?

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Josh Crouch - Relentless Digital LLC

Author's Bio:

Joshua Crouch, a regular on the Service Business Master podcast, is renowned for his insights on service-based businesses. 

An active member of industry groups, he’s at the forefront of emerging trends. As a recognized Google Business Expert, Josh drives growth for Relentless Digital’s clients.

Google Ads Vs Local Service Ads

As a local business owner, understanding the best paid search ads to invest in can be overwhelming. With so many different ad types available for purchase, you may be unsure where to dedicate your advertising budget.

Google Ads and Local Services Ads are two types of paid search advertising that have gained traction recently. Read on to learn the difference between Google Ads vs. Local Service Ads and how they can benefit your business’s visibility and profitability.

What Are Google Ads?

Google Ads is an advertising platform that can position your business’s website at the top of Google search results.

When you pay for these PPC ads, your website may appear above organic search results with a small “Ad” symbol next to it. Potential customers searching for your type of local business may see your business name before others, potentially increasing visibility.

However, paying for Google Ads for plumbers does not guarantee that your website will receive the top search results ranking for “plumbing businesses near me” (for example). It will only increase the odds of more prospective customers and leads seeing your site.

What Are Local Service Ads?

Local Services Ads (sometimes called Local Service Ads or LSAs) is another ad platform by Google. This platform is better suited for local businesses looking to target specific, small audiences. When users search for certain terms related to your business, your site may rank higher than the Google Ads in search engine results.

Local Services Ads enable you to connect with qualified leads looking for your specific services. These ads clearly display your Google ratings, service area, and hours to your target audience. Customers can also easily find your reviews and contact information after clicking on them.

The Major Differences Between Local Service Ads and Google Ads

Google Ads and Local Services Ads have a few similarities, such as that they are both forms of paid ads from Google. But they also have several differences you should know as you consider the right type for your business.

Here are the major differences between these two ad platforms.

Pay Per Click vs. Pay Per Lead

One significant difference between these ad types is the method you pay for them. Google Ads uses a pay-per-click (PPC ads) method. Advertisers pay for PPC ads only when users click on them.

Meanwhile, Google Local Services Ads uses a pay-per-lead model. Advertisers only pay when a prospective customer reaches out to the business through the ad — not just when a customer clicks on it.

As a result, LSAs may provide a better return on investment than Google Ads.

Positioning in Search Results

Google Ads appear at the top of search results, but LSAs appear above the search results section. These ads show up as small rectangles directly below the search bar, containing basic info about your business.

When Google decides to display your Local Services Ads, they may have a higher impact than Google Ads.

Google Guarantee Badge

Google Local Services Ads includes a feature where businesses can obtain “Google Screened” and “Google Guaranteed” badges next to their business names. These badges can give your business more credibility and boost customers’ confidence.

Meanwhile, Google Ads do not come with this seal of approval from Google. Customers will need to perform their own research to determine whether a business in the “ad” slot of search engine results is credible.

Keyword Research

When you pay for PPC Google Ads, you’ll need to perform your own keyword research to identify the keywords to rank for. You must ensure that these search terms are relevant to your business and that they answer customer questions that will lead prospects to your site.

When you purchase Local Services Ads, Google will perform keyword research for you. You’ll just need to select your business type and products or services from a list, and Google will determine the relevant keywords to rank you for.

Ad Availability

Local Services Ads are only available for businesses and job types in certain industries. You can see this list of industries here.

If you own a local business, it’s probably on this list. But there’s always a chance that your business will not qualify for LSAs. If so, Google Ads may be your better option.

Ad Copy

Google Ads requires you to create your own ad copy, and the quality of that copy can determine your advertising success. Meanwhile, Local Service Ads include predetermined information, simplifying the advertising process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Is Better: Google Ads vs. Local Service Ads?

Local Services Ads may be better overall for local businesses that meet the criteria for this ad type. These advertisements only show up when people search for your specific business type, use a pay-per-lead model rather than PPC, and showcase your business as a credible industry leader.

Are Google Local Service Ads Worth It?

If you’re looking to increase visibility, foster qualified leads, and advertise to your local community, local search ads may be worthwhile. Because these ads use a pay-per-lead model, you’ll only pay for the new leads you acquire.

However, if you want to rank for specific terms and reach a broader audience outside your area, Google Ads may be the better option.

When Should You Not Use Google Ads?

While Google Ads can help you rank higher in the search engine and share your services with more customers, they are not always the best form of advertising. You should not use Google Ads if you:

  • Don’t feel confident performing your own term research
  • Offer only local services
  • Have a lower advertising budget
  • Have used the platform in the past without success

Final Thoughts

Google Ads and Local Services Ads can both benefit your marketing return as a small business. The platform that is right for your advertising strategy depends on your target customer base, your specific business type, and your local area.

If you’re wondering how to increase ROAS for Google Ads and Local Services Ads, we can help. Our team at Relentless Digital has extensive experience developing successful ad campaigns for businesses. Contact us today to schedule your free marketing strategy call.

Josh Crouch - Relentless Digital LLC

Author's Bio:

Joshua Crouch, a regular on the Service Business Master podcast, is renowned for his insights on service-based businesses. 

An active member of industry groups, he’s at the forefront of emerging trends. As a recognized Google Business Expert, Josh drives growth for Relentless Digital’s clients.

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