There is a Google feature for attorneys that not many attorneys are talking about yet because it has not been rolled out nationwide. However, it could change the legal marketing landscape entirely. It’s called Google Local Service Ads for Attorneys.
For quite a while Google has offered ‘local service ads’ to professionals like plumbers. Google recently rolled the same offering out to estate planning and immigration attorneys in San Diego and Houston only. Last week it was announced that Google is beginning to test the offering for personal injury lawyers as well – though I have been unable to find the ads yet.
The local service ads are prominently located at the top of the search engine results page even above the Google maps 3 pack. This makes them prime property. If the success of Google ads is an indicator, firms that are found in the local screened ads will own the lion’s share of the clicks for non-branded searches (e.g. “San Diego estate planning lawyer”).
Requirements to Become Google Screened
In order to earn the opportunity to be found in local service ads, a law firm must be screened by Google. Per Google, “All firms that have the Google Screened badge must pass a business-level background and a business-owner background check. Additionally, each professional in the business must pass a license check and the business overall must have a 3.0 star customer rating or higher. In some categories, each professional in the business must also pass a background check.”
Let’s decompress that a bit. To get a Google screened badge, each law firm will:
- Pass a business check
- Pass a background check of the business owner
- Have its law license reviewed
- Have malpractice insurance, if required by law
Why is the Google Screening Process so Stringent?
Again, according to Google, if a client retains a lawyer (or plumber e.g.) through the local service ad and is dissatisfied with the service s/he received, s/he can seek reimbursement from Google for up to $2,000.
Now there are several steps that have to be taken but if this is accurate, it is a unique offering and raises numerous questions which might be the subject of another blog article. Not the least of which is if Google is verifying the quality of leads it provides to lawyers, is Google a lead generation service?
If you look to Google for guidance, you will see that Google only expects lawyers and other professions to pay for “valid leads.” That doesn’t sound any different than the services provided by Nolo or other lead generation companies.
Stay Apprised of Changes to Local Service Ads
The long and the short of it is that lawyers, particularly in the B2C space have spent a fortune advertising on Google. This is just another arrow in the quiver of a personal injury or other attorney who can outspend its competition.
While these services are only in limited markets as of March 2020, expect to see them rolled out to attorneys nationwide over the next year.
If you would like to discuss using Google Ads to market your law firm, reach out to LawFull Attorney Marketing for a free consultation.