Google Local Service Ads — The Next Big SEM Opportunity for Law Firms?

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Advertising is a key component for law firms. With so many firms fighting for clients, it’s harder than ever to stick out amongst the competition. When was the last time you checked to see how much your firm was spending on advertising?

You may be spending more than you realize. Legal advertising is a billion-dollar industry.

But that industry is starting to change. Google has recently launched a more cost-effective way of advertising for law firms. Location-specific advertising will be made possible through Google Local Service Ads for lawyers, attorneys, and law firms.

But what is a Google Local Service Ad?

It is a location-specific ad that appears on the top of the search results page following a Google search with keywords specific to the lawyers’ or attorneys’ specialties and location. These location-targeted ads are guaranteed to increase your firm’s traffic and get local lawyer’s names and information out and into the community.

google local service ads logo

LSAs will only appear for searches that specifically include certain legal services or locations.

Local Service Ads were initially used only for home services. Google understood that if your pipes break, you need a way to find a local plumber and arrive quickly. Searching by proximity was difficult in the past, but Local Service Ads are quickly changing that.

Those in need of legal help often resort to Google searches for firms in their area. In the past, this search may have been muddled by big firms with flashy ads or firms that are nowhere close to the location searched.

Since law firms also rely on Google results for their website traffic, Local Service Ads are the perfect way to bring together potential clients with attorneys that work within their area. Google LSAs are beneficial for law firms’ Social Engine Marketing (SEM) because of their location-centered prevalence and accuracy.

Google Local Service ads for attorneys and lawyers could be the difference between bringing in more clients and staying stagnant. Below, we’ll talk about why LSAs are an excellent opportunity for law firms, what exactly the ads do and how to prepare for success with this new type of advertising.

Why Are Google Local Service Ads Good for SEM?

A Local Service Ad, or LSA, is essentially the #1 listing in Google’s local search results. The ad appears above all other search results and other ads, which means local users can’t help but see your information when searching for the services you provide. Search engine marketing is a useful way for lawyers to find clients near them who are searching for their exact services or expertise.

google guaranteed logoLSAs also include a “GOOGLE GUARANTEED” badge to indicate to viewers that your business has been screened and verified by Google services. This feature instills confidence in the client that your law firm is reputable and trustworthy. Google Local Service Ads for lawyers are supposed to help connect clients and attorneys who live or work in a similar area.

Local Service Ads are entirely different from other ads you may have commissioned to appear among search results. LSAs are always at the top of the search results page and appear on mobile and desktop pages the same way. LSAs are also accessible through voice search services like Google Assistant.

Google employed Local Service Ads to help companies generate leads in their area. Potential clients will not want to travel significantly for legal services, so this advertising technique brings clients closer to the law firms already doing work in their area. LSAs make law firms appear more accessible and easier to contact than a regular Google search would.

When searchers click on an LSA, they must confirm what services they are looking for and what area they are looking in. If the services and area align, the searcher gets redirected to a detail page with the lawyer’s information, law firm’s location, a photo, and a contact number.

Google’s goal is to get potential clients to pick up the phone and place a call to the firm listed. If a call is placed, the firm is billed for the exposure from the LSA provided. Hopefully, the firm has a new client, too!

screenshot showing which service areas are available to law firms in google's new local services ads for lawyers

Why Should Lawyers Make LSAs?

It can be extremely difficult for law firms and attorneys to find new clients, especially those in their area who are looking specifically for their expertise. Google Local Service Ads for lawyers and attorneys take out the guesswork of finding new leads for their firm.

Search engine marketing is a new form of self-advertisement that law firms and similar businesses can use to boost their business.

Other reasons to utilize the new local search ads include:

  • Guaranteed visibility with the location of ad on top of all different search results
  • The pay-per-call payment structure is very cost-effective
  • Increased confidence in your firm’s reputation with the “GOOGLE GUARANTEED” badge
  • Refunds for spam, sales, and bad calls are available

How Do I Create an LSA For My Law Firm?

Google requires all businesses interested in creating an LSA to go through an involved screening process. For law firms and attorneys, this process includes verification of each attorney’s active bar membership and a background check of the law firm’s founder and the entire law firm itself.

The background check, processed through a third party like Pinkerton, can take up to five weeks to complete. To receive the “GOOGLE GUARANTEED” badge, the background check should come up clean, and all involved attorneys should have proof of their legitimacy.

Firms are also required to have an updated Certificate of Liability Insurance (COI). This certificate should be up-to-date within 30 days of filing for an LSA.

Google also considers reviews of your law firm. There needs to be a 3.0 or better review score on the Google My Business listing to successfully create a Google Local Service Ad for lawyers or law firms. These positive reviews help legitimize your LSA and instill confidence in your potential clients who reference those reviews.

It would be best to prepare to spend at least six weeks completing the application process with Google before your LSA is live.

To begin the process of applying for an LSA, you can visit the Google LSA homepage. 

How Much Does It Cost for a Local Service Ad for Lawyers?

Lawyers and attorneys of all specialties can now easily advertise their services for interested clients in the area. Though all advertisements come at a cost, LSAs are one option that only requires payment for legitimate connections between firms and clients. The market drives specific prices per connection.

LSAs will only appear if specific keywords are included when searching. If the correct keywords are searched, the LSA appears at the top of the searcher’s results page. If the lawyer or firm advertised seems to meet the searcher’s needs, they will click on the ad and be redirected to a confirmation page to ensure this service would work for them.

If the searcher continues to the details page and proceeds to call the firm or attorney listed, the company will get charged for the connection. Instead of paying per click, Google requires all LSA owners to pay per call received from a client who saw the LSA on Google.

Google has also noted that all calls received in error by a sales marketer or competitor will not be charged to the firm.

Prices per connection vary widely from state to state and specialty to specialty. The price per lead can range from $49 for estate lawyers in San Diego to $85 for an immigration lawyer in the same area. Costs per lead are determined on the market and location.

Because the Local Service Ads for lawyers, attorneys, and law firms are still relatively new, prices will fluctuate over time.

How Can My Law Firm Have the Best Local Service Ad?

Creating an LSA, as described above, can be a lengthy process. The background check and verification processes are tedious but necessary to develop more visibility for your firm. Marketing yourself with search engines is the best way to spread your name and increase your chances of landing a new client.

There are three easy ways to make your attorney or law firm’s LSA, and your overall advertising presence, the best it can be.

  • Optimize your Google My Business page
  • Include detailed information in your business profile
  • Ensure you are available and responsive to client interactions


Optimizing your Google My Business page is the first and easiest step to creating a successful LSA for your firm. The more and higher ratings you have, the easier it will be for Google to verify your business and grant you the “GOOGLE GUARANTEED” badge. This badge is sure to increase your business confidence from potential clients and can help with search engine optimization.

Information about your business available on your website will get used in your “Business Bio” page that is part of the LSA. Potential clients get redirected to this detail page after clicking on the LSA and verifying their location.

The “Business Bio” is an excellent opportunity to explain to a potential client why your firm stands out above the rest. You can include any information you would like in this area, so be thoughtful to have a copy that highlights your achievements while remaining personable and honest about your practice. “Business Bio” is also the page where your contact information and photos will be available to potential clients to view.

Accessibility is also a significant driving point with Google advertisements of this nature. Google wants you to receive as many interesting calls or emails as possible, so your staff’s availability should be considered before signing up.

Whether or not you respond to an interested client, you will get charged for the LSA that brought the client to your website. The more available you are, the more likely you will hear from interested clients and make a new lead for your business.

Success With Google Local Service Ads for Lawyers

Lawyers who have already used the Google Local Service Ads are mostly those specializing in real estate or immigration policies on the United States’ western coast.

The costs for connections from LSAs for each of these law firms vary widely based on location and market demands at the time.

Consistency among advertising and actual practice is always a surefire way to maintain positive reviews or attract more positive attention. LSAs are localizing business advertising in a way that is convenient for the user and beneficial for the businesses.

Now, you are ready to go! You’ve gone from searching “What are Local Service Ads on Google” to being found on the top of the results page yourself! Google Local Service Ads for lawyers are the next step to success for firms looking to capitalize on local clients.

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