Lawyers who want to run Local Services Ads need to earn a Google Screened badge to stay competitive.
Local Services Ads are a useful online marketing tool for lawyers. They're a practical way to bring more qualified leads to your law firm. But that's only true when you've optimized your ad to win your ideal clients' trust.
Google Screened for lawyers is what allows you to build trust with your audience. And that leads to more successful ad campaigns.
What is Google Screened?
Google Screened is a feature of Google’s Local Services Ads.
Professional services that meet Google’s verification requirements are eligible to get a badge on their ads that show they meet Google's standards. This badge just indicates that Google has verified the advertising attorney's official licensing. The idea is that this boosts consumer trust in the advertised services.
Getting a good understanding of Google Screened requires a bit of background on Local Services Ads for lawyers.
LSAs are pay-per-lead ads. That means you only pay Google for the qualified leads you get from the ads. They also only appear when someone searches for keywords where the search intent is both local and has conversion potential.
Those factors make them distinct from regular Google Ads for lawyers.
Standard Google Ads are pay-per-click, meaning you pay Google each time someone clicks the ad regardless of if they’re a qualified lead. PPC ads also appear for a range of keywords and intents.
Verified lawyers will see their Local Services Ads show up in search engine results with the Google Screened badge like this:
These ads show up at the top of the Google search results page above any other feature. They also include rich features like a headshot of the lawyer, ratings, call buttons, and messaging options.
Multiple lawyers will show up in any Local Services Ad feature. Google will show the top two or three attorneys in this feature. The rest of the listing remains hidden unless the searcher taps the “Show more” button.
That means that only the ads that Google determines to be the best fit appear by default.
Google determines the ranking order for these ads based on a few factors, including:
- Your proximity to the searcher
- Your Google review star rating
- Your responsiveness to LSA leads
- Whether or not your business has the Google Screened verification
The last point is what makes earning your verification badge important. Law firms with the Google Screened badge stand a better chance of appearing by default than those without it.
Google Screened Vs. Google Guaranteed
There are two types of badges that businesses can earn when they use Local Service Ads:
- Google Screened
- Google Guaranteed
The difference lies in the kinds of businesses that have eligibility for each type of badge. Google Screened is the verification badge for professional services. Google Guaranteed is the verification badge for home services businesses, like plumbers, HVAC companies, electricians, or roofers.
But there’s one other difference between the two: a money-back guarantee.
Google offers customers of Google Guaranteed businesses a reimbursement of up to $2,000 if they are unhappy with the service provider's work. Google does not offer a reimbursement for Google Screened businesses.
How Do You Get the Google Screened Badge?
Getting your Google Screened badge is straightforward. All you need to do is opt into Google's verification process when you set up your Local Services Ads. Google will ask your permission to run a license check on your law firm during setup.
Google’s Local Services team will then run their own screening and verification process.
The Local Services team will verify all active law license information for any attorney seeking the Google Screened checkmark. Their team doesn't perform a separate background check on attorneys since all states already require this as part of the law licensing process.
In order to pass this process and earn the badge, Google's team will look at:
- Your bar memberships
- The law firm's general history
- The physical location of the firm
- The reviews on your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business)
You need an average review score of 3.0 or higher on your business listing to qualify for Google Screened ads.
What Types of Lawyers are Eligible for the Badge?
Any lawyer who’s eligible for Google Local Services Ads is also eligible for the Google Screened badge.
That includes attorneys in the following practice areas:
- Business/commercial law
- Contract law
- Criminal defense law
- Disability law
- Estate law
- Family law
- Immigration law
- Intellectual property law
- Labor law
- Malpractice law
- Personal injury law
- Tax law
- Traffic law
Benefits of Being Google Screened
The bottom line is that undergoing the Google Screening process will make your Local Services Ads more effective.
Lawyers who plan on running Local Services Ads need to get Google Screened for the best possible results. Opting out of this free screening process puts your firm at a disadvantage to competitors with the badge. And having it boosts the performance of your ads.
Add a Layer of Trust and Credibility to Your Ads
Most people don’t know how to hire a lawyer.
They don’t know what criteria they should judge attorneys on, so they use endorsements like Google Screened to help them qualify the right person to help them. Having the badge signals to potential clients that you and your law firm are legitimate. You're more likely to earn a potential client’s trust when you go through the Google Screened program.
Not having the badge makes you stand out in a bad way.
Prospective clients who see these ads will see a clear distinction between verified firms and unverified ones. That biases them against unverified firms even if they don't understand what's involved in getting the official badge.
Appear at the Top of Search Results
Google's Local Services Ads garner 13% of all search engine traffic.
A big part of that is because these ads appear at the top of the search results. They show up above PPC ads, map features, and organic search results. They’re prominent and tap into the fact that people are more likely to click on results at the top of a page than those further down.
All of that adds up to valuable real estate for an attorney.
Getting Google Screened plays into this because it’s harder to claim that spot without the badge. Your ad is less likely to show up for a searcher when you don’t have the badge.
Target Local Clients with Your Ads
Targeting people right in your city or town is a primary goal for many lawyers. Local Services Ads help you achieve this goal. That’s because these ads only trigger only when the search engine identifies a search with a local intent and a purchase intent.
But you’ll limit your success without earning a Google Screened badge.
Paying for local ads will get you in front of people in your local area. But lawyers who aren’t Google Screened get buried under those that are. Getting the badge sets you up to not just reach your audience but also convince them that you’re the right person to solve their problem.
Maximize Your Local Services Ad Performance
Setting up Local Services Ads is a useful tool for getting the word out about your firm’s legal services. And opting into Google’s free license verification is critical for maximizing the number of leads you get from Local Services Ads. You'll improve the chances that a high-quality lead clicks on your ad and hires you when you have this badge.
Getting the most out of your search ads takes more than flipping a switch and letting them run.
Hiring a law firm marketing expert will allow you to get the best results.
An experienced legal marketer will help you set up your ads, get the Google Screened badge, and leverage your budget for effective lead generation. The experts at Rankings.io have a deep understanding of digital marketing for the legal industry. Contact us today to see how we can help you grow your firm with legal Local Services Ads and beyond.