Listings, advertisements, Google Ads, Adwords, Service Ads... It can all get a little confusing. What you need to know is that there are four distinctly separate areas of a Google search engine results page (SERPs) where your small business can appear for related searches. And how do you get there?
1) Local Service Ads
This is the very first section that appears on SERPs when the keyword searched is a service. Local Service Ads (previously referred to as Home Service Ads) is an advertisement panel for lead generation hosted by Google.
This section is a lead generation platform as opposed to pay-per-click. You don't get charged every time someone clicks on your ad. Instead, the customer answers a short questionnaire and the LSA platform determines whether or not you can provide the requested service. If you receive that lead, you get charged for it. Regardless of whether or not you close the deal.
Signing up for LSA has to be done through Google directly. This isn't something that we can help you with. The reason being that Google offers these businesses the "Google Guarantee" which covers any damages that a client might claim. In order for Google to offer that, the business has to undergo extensive background checks. And that means everyone involved with the business. Down to the guy who answers the phones.
2) Google Ads
The following section is the Google Ads section, previously known as AdWords. Don't confuse it with with LSAs, they're way different.
While LSAs are lead generation, Google Ads are pay-per-click. That means that every time someone clicks on your ad, whether they're planning on buying, looking for info, or did it accidentally... you get charged for that click.
In order to appear in this section, you have to be running Google Ads. This consists of targeting specific keywords, locations, and demographics and setting up an adspend. The adspend is the budget in which the cost of every click will be deducted. The cost of the click depends on the keyword targeted and competition. Most companies, ourselves included, suggest a minimum adspend of $300/m.
3) Local Pack
This next section is where your small business's Google My Business listing (GMB) can appear. The Local Pack shows the top 3 ranking GMBs for the searched term. All small businesses can have a GMB, however ranking top 3 in this section depends on many factors, including: the location of the searcher, the size of your online presence, your reviews, your website, and more.
The process of getting a GMB to rank well in the Local Pack falls under Local SEO. Agencies, like Staylisted, that specialize in Local SEO utilize proven processes to get small business GMBs ranking in the Local Pack.
The final section of Google SERPs is the organic section. This area is named so because everything that ranks here, does so organically. It's specifically for websites and you cannot pay Google to place your website at the top of this section.
So how do you get to the top of the organic section? Search engine optimization (SEO) of course! We don't have enough time in this article to cover the ins and outs of SEO, but the basics of appearing in this section are:
- Have a website
- Code that website well
- Follow Google's guidelines
- Have a great online presence
- Be relevant to the keyword searched
Obviously, we are an SEO agency and offer these services to all of our clients. So don't worry, we've got you covered.
Your company has the ability to appear in four major sections of the Google search engine results page; Local Service Ads, Google Ads, Local Pack, and Organic. The great thing is that your company can appear in one or all of these sections simultaneously. That means that potential customers have four opportunities to choose your company for services over a competitor who is nowhere to be found. And that's the real benefit of digital marketing and SEO.