Blog Post Background Image

Google Local Service Ads vs. Google PPC Ads: Which Are Right for Your Law Firm?

by Guy Alvarez • April 11th, 2024 • Digital Marketing | Blog

People who’ve lived close to a century – or beyond – are often asked their secret to life, and a standard answer is “never stop moving.” In the marketing world, “never stop moving” means innovation, which manifests with the new online marketing tools that pop up daily.

 The funny thing is that Silicon Valley believes if it isn’t broke, do fix it. 

Even a company as large as Google subscribes to this theory. They recently introduced their Local Service Ads or LSA’s as a compendium to – not a replacement for – the Pay Per Click (or PPC) Ads we all know, and, hopefully, love. Depending on your firm’s area of expertise, one, the other, or both of Google’s products could be a viable option for you. So, what is a Google LSA, and what do they accomplish that a PPC Ad won’t? Let’s take a step back and talk about their predecessor for a moment first. 

Google PPC Ads: World Domination

For anyone who’s not used Google ads, you most certainly have experienced one of them surfing the internet. When you search for a term on Google, a traditional ad or PPC (Pay Per Click) is the one that appears in the top three or four results on the page and sometimes says “Ad” above it. Every time someone clicks on this link to your website, you pay for it, hence the term “Pay Per Click.” Google Ads operates on a bidding system, where advertisers can bid on certain keywords for their clickable ads to appear in Google’s search results. This system allows businesses of all sizes to display their ads to a highly targeted audience, maximizing the relevance and efficiency of their marketing efforts.

In this scenario, your ad could appear across the entirety of Earth in search results, which garners great impressions, and you won’t be charged until they click your link. The flip side to that coin is if someone does click on the link and doesn’t contact you, you paid for nothing. This statistic is known as your Cost Per Lead or CPL, and engagement with your ad affects this number positively and negatively. Moreover, Google Ads also offers advertisers detailed analytics to track the performance of their ads, providing insights into clicks, impressions, and conversion rates. This data allows advertisers to optimize their campaigns and improve return on investment.

The PPC/CPL method has been the hallmark of Google’s business, so it undoubtedly works. So why reinvent an already reinvented wheel? It’s the potential for cost-effective ads delivered with precision. And who wouldn’t like that? With the right strategy, businesses can significantly increase their online visibility and attract more customers through Google PPC ads, making it an essential component of digital marketing strategies today.

Google Local Service Ads: Hitting “Home” Runs

Think globally, act locally. While this is not the intended usage for this phrase, it still applies here. Reaching as many people as possible certainly increases the chances of success but doesn’t guarantee you will see an uptick in business as a result. A click from the UK is excellent, but will this person become a client without a firm operating there? Likely not. 

Google created the Local Service Ads to give businesses a better chance of triumph by allowing them to narrow the target audience so precisely they could reach people residing as close as miles away from their office, not oceans. Proximity aside, the other main feature of an LSA is that, unlike PPCs, you only pay for a click if it becomes a qualified lead. Gone are the days of people haphazardly clicking on your firm’s link with no rhyme or reason on your dime. When a prospective client clicks on your LSA and contacts your firm for a consultation or any direct interaction, then you would pay for that lead. But it would be easy to think that achieving this level of accuracy comes easily. 

Increasing your chances of a successful campaign through either method requires keyword research, clearly defined parameters for the desired audience and a finite budget. The trifecta combines to create a focused, strategic, and cost-effective marketing approach that may increase your ROI and lower your CPL, which is music to any marketer’s ears. Unfortunately, without this extensive legwork, you run the risk of missing the mark over and over. For a PPC campaign, you might be able to avert this step, but LSAs are not nearly as forgiving.

The integration of AI and machine learning into advertising platforms further enhances the effectiveness of Local Service Ads. With AI, businesses can analyze customer behavior and preferences more deeply, allowing for even finer targeting. This technology also assists in optimizing ad spend by predicting which leads are more likely to convert, thereby ensuring that your marketing budget is invested in the most promising prospects. And, in today’s digital age, the importance of online reviews and social proof has never been more critical. Businesses with higher ratings and positive reviews are more likely to win the trust of potential clients, emphasizing the need to maintain excellent service and customer satisfaction. Integrating these modern strategies alongside LSAs can significantly amplify your visibility and attractiveness to local clients, making your business not just a local name, but a trusted community staple.

LSA vs. PPC:  Which is “better”?

This is a case of “better for you” vs. “better in a general sense,” and the clear-cut winner is specific to your firm. 

The legwork mentioned earlier is significant because it helps make this determination for you. As you uncover more data, it points you in a direction that could lead to LSA and PPC as a dual threat. If you’re a firm with offices all over the US, PPC is a natural choice, but you also might want to use LSAs in cities where you have an office. Suppose you’re competing with the firm in the last example. In that case, the LSAs may help you stand out in the community and attract people who appreciate a more grassroots approach that positions you as the local authority.

One potential “catch”…

Currently, anyone who wants to run an ad using the Google PPC method can do so with little resistance. You can run ads until you’re blue in the face if you have the money. 

However, it’s not as simple if you want to utilize Google LSAs for your firm. There is an extensive approval process, and your firm must meet Google’s qualifications to use the program. This is not a reflection of your firms’ shortcomings, but more so due to the infancy of Google’s tool and their desire to satisfy the customer by only enrolling those businesses for whom the product has an excellent chance to succeed.


Google Local Service Ads, or LSAs, give you the ability to precisely target an audience locally, as a countermeasure to the global reach of Pay Per Click or PPC ads. LSAs also position you higher in search results. Payment with an LSA model is not contingent on the volume of “clicks,” but rather on whether or not the clicks convert into qualified leads. This is part of what may make LSAs an excellent alternative for firms who wish to reduce their Cost Per Lead or CPL and potentially save money while attracting local clients. Whether you utilize PPC or LSA depends on your firm’s area of expertise and your desired results. One is not “better” than the other. It’s all about choosing the right fit, which involves extensive keyword research, optimizing your ad parameters, and a finite budget. If you do the leg work, one or both could lead you to an everlasting marketing life.

We help clients make strategic decisions regarding using Google Ad Tools by conceiving marketing plans, implementing media buys, and analyzing data to increase performance in the future. To learn more about how we can work in tandem with your firm, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.


Let’s get started, and finished

Contact us to get started on your Technology Strength Scorecard and energize your business development process.

Contact Us