Google Local Listing Ads; Report from Users

It has been a while since Google introduced Local Listing Ads and offered a limited test in the San Francisco and San Diego markets. I recently received this note from Tom O’Leary, who specializes in attorney marketing, with some observations about the program. He also put me in touch with two clients currently participating in the program; Brett Burlison, a personal injury attorney in San Francisco & Gali Gordon, a San Francisco immigration attorney.

Hi Mike. Tom here – Enjoy your blog. I wanted to send you a quick note about what I am seeing with the new Google Ads program.

I have two clients (law firms) in San Francisco that are participating in the new Google Local Ads program.

They are getting calls, but sometimes the calls are from potential clients looking for legal services that they do not provide.

For example, my two clients are set up for the following terms – Personal Injury Attorney and Immigration Attorney.

If you search for san francisco personal injury attorney, the result is spot on. I’ve seen no issues at all.

But if you search for san francisco immigration attorney, it appears Google is having some minor growing pains – although the issue has almost disappeared.

Over the past two weeks (for the immigration search term), I’ve seen not only one, two or three immigration attorneys, but occasionally a bankruptcy attorney that is participating in the program will show as well. I’ve also seen my injury client show up as well. But again, the result for the immigration search term is providing the correct result almost every time now.

Here is where the problem really is – doing a search for san francisco injury attorney (deleting the word personal) will usually show no injury attorneys. The only results I’ve seen are employment, bankruptcy, and immigration attorneys.

Here’s another – do a search for san francisco attorney. Again, it’s a mixed bag of law firms.

What do you think? No law firm has requested that search term so Google drops other law firm participants in the program in that spot?


Here are the additional questions that I put to Brett Burlison and Gali Gordon as conveyed and answered by Tom:

Me: Can you share any info about the pricing?
The Personal Injury Category is $70 a month with the first month free.
The Immigration Category is $50 a month and also had the first month free.

Can you have multiple Ads?
Only one Ad per Google Local Business Listing. One of the attorneys does have another Local Business Listing for another URL. He attempted to set up another Google Ad using that URL, but his application was rejected. Although he has multiple physical addresses, he used the same address for the already approved Ad. It took two days from the date of application to be rejected on the second Ad.

Were the ads placed in the narrower category for personal injury attorney or a broader category?
An extensive list of options are shown – but only one category was able to be chosen.

Can you create a custom category?
No “create your own” options were presented.

In the contract, did Google indicate how frequently they could raise the “fixed” price?
None were noticed – although we did not review the agreement in its entirety. We did not make a copy of the agreement.

Any idea if the GoogleVoice call tracking is optional?
It was not optional – An introduction from Google is made once the call is answered – then the caller is connected.

I also wonder if the call announce is optional: “this is a call from Google”
You are not given an option.

What questions would you ask of participants in the program? Do you have personal experience with the program that you could share?

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Local Listing Ads; Report from Users by

5 thoughts on “Google Local Listing Ads; Report from Users”

  1. Excellent insights Mike. I’d be curious to know if there are guarantees to how often the ad will show up? Is there a limit to how many people can bid on that term? What happens if 100 injury attorneys sign up for the program in that market?

  2. Excellent post Mike!

    1. It seems that there are only 4 available ad spots. Can there be more than 4 advertisers? If yes do ads rotate?

    2. If there are 3 or 4 advertisers is it possible to secure a top line position? Is seems the ads rotate so I may have my answer there.

    3. What type of analytics do they provide? Are they the same as the Google LBC analytics?

    4. Does Google Voice offer any analytics?


  3. I”ve been running the Google Local ads for a day spa client in San Diego, for the category “day spa”. I’ve noticed the following:

    Our ad is always showing – for both San Diego day spa and sometimes shows for other terms like “San Diego Spa” and “San Diego Facials Spa”. It looks like there are only 3 spas bidding at this time.

    The analytics they show in the local business center are extremely basic – there is an “ads” tab (notice the plural – perhaps in the future they intend to allow you to have more than one ad? Hey, a girl can dream.) They tell you number of impressions, calls, and clicks. Stats on this traffic in Google Analytics seems to be reported as non-paid rather than paid traffic from Google. Hopefully they’ll improve that somehow.

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