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Google Local Search Ads: 10 Steps to Get More Traffic, Lead, and Clients

In conversation with Andrew Young

For this episode of Ecoffee with Experts, Matt Fraser hosted Andrew Young, President and CEO of Core and More Technologies. Andrew shares his expertise to help service-based businesses conquer search engines through various Google products. Watch now for some deep insights.

The quality really comes down to the commitment of the company to leverage the platform that Google provides. To be as responsive as you can possibly be is the key.

Andrew Young
President and CEO of Core and More Technologies
Hello everyone. Welcome to this week's episode of Ecoffee with Experts. I'm your host, Matt Fraser. And on today's show, I have with me Andrew Young. Andrew is the president and CEO of Core and More Technologies, a full-service Digital Marketing and Web Development agency headquartered in Asbury Park, New Jersey, and holds a bachelor's degree in political science and computer science from Monmouth University in West Long Branch, New Jersey. He also holds an electronics and computer technology certificate from the Sidetone Institute in Edison, New Jersey. And he's an industry visionary with a long history of quickly and efficiently translating customer requirements into powerful solutions, leveraging the latest technology innovations. Andrew is a Monmouth University Business Council member and holds numerous Google, Microsoft, and IBM certifications. Andrew, welcome to the show. A pleasure to have you here.

Thank you, Matt. It is a pleasure to be here, and I am looking forward to it.

Yeah, me too. I always enjoy these interviews. So we were talking earlier about how to dominate the search engines for service-based businesses, using various Google products such as local service ads, Google My Business, or Google my profile, or whatever they're calling it nowadays, and Google ads. I'd like to talk about that. Can you share more about your experience in that regard?

Absolutely Matt, thank you. And it’s something that I love to talk about because it’s a really powerful tool. And, if you think about it, it’s a powerful integrated strategy now available to us. Because we’re tapping into a single engine, through which we can, in the domestic in the continental United States, where we can, we’re talking about 12. 1 million search queries a month. He’s allowing marketers to capture the top, moving from left to right in English-speaking cultures. So place advertisements right at the top of a query engine results page, what we call a search engine results page, to garner that real estate. I would argue that real estate is the most valuable asset in the entire Digital Marketing space. So I’m open to suggestions otherwise, but I don’t see how anything could be more powerful. And not only that, but you will also, by setting your LSAs up, your local service ads. You gain what is called Google screened, or Google guaranteed. So it’s right in the little block that comprises your advertising space, which is super powerful. So, say if you’re an attorney and are positioned against people searching for personal injury attorneys. And you’re coming up top the first advertisement moving left to the right. It’s not even an advertisement anymore. So, when you appear on your Google screen and have several reviews, your five-star reviews are inherited into that ad block. And it’s also providing your phone number; it’s a click-to-call, which is equally functional from a mobile or a desktop. So that’s not even an advertisement. That’s not a promotion at all. I mean, that’s just purely about attraction. I mean, this is they’re endorsing you.

So tell me, local service ads, who do they apply to? For what types of businesses, the service word is the key. But is it contractors and professional businesses, things like that?

That’s a great question. And it’s been expanding for quite some time now. So just a little backdrop, and I’ll get into the answer to your question. So sure, local service ads launched back in 2019. It was a satellite project in which Google dipped its toe in two specific areas. I believe it was, San Diego and Houston area. And they were so successful. And it was limited to a few select categories back then, like lawyers, financial planners, and realtors. It was so successful that they decided to roll it out for all professional services and on a national scale. So now it’s nationwide, and the service categories include, at this point, about 25, locksmiths, lawyers, plumbers, roofers, electricians, and HVAC installers. You even have pet groomers, lawn care providers, movers, carpet cleaners, and Auto Service Technicians. It’s a very extensive list. And how I look at it is, it’s limited to those providing personalized services on a one-to-one scale. So we Digital Marketers, unfortunately, don’t have the ability to tap into and market ourselves through local service ads because it’s, to some extent, not a one-to-one experience. I could be sitting here in Asbury Park, and you are in San Diego, Montana, Texas, or Hawaii; it doesn’t matter where I’m sitting. Still, local services and ads matter, meaning locals. To me, one-to-one is you’re here and providing services to me, and I can talk to you, I can come into your brick and mortar, and you can come to my house and give me an estimate. That’s how you can look at local service as well. I wonder if that would work for local service ads. So Google’s built out, you could simply look at their local service ads portal, which lists all the categories for any local service providers. I shouldn’t say this as an owner of a marketing agency, but local service providers, locksmiths, roofers, whatever, they can set local service ads up as well. They don’t need any of us to do that for them.

Oh, wow. But the thing is, I think, in some sense, like, Digital Marketing is getting more complicated in some ways. And what I find is most plumbers and that, with all respect for them. I don't want to bunch them all in, but they're either too busy to do it all, or some have a computer aptitude that is not very good, and everybody's good at something. So I think there's the challenge, of course, some more tech-savvy, maybe local business owners, service plumbers, or whichever can do it. But yeah, I get what you're saying that it's easy to do. It's not rocket science in that regard. So how does it differ from Google ads?

Great question. And that gets right to the heart of the value proposition for local service ads is pay-per-lead. The foundation of Google ads is the cost per click, now, there is pay per lead. In the last couple of years, Google has recently rolled out the ability for you to, for example, with a smart display, you can run with a cost per conversion. So you’re only paying the actual conversion. But I can tell you from experience there’s not any recourse when you’re paying per conversion. Sure, you have the column that shows you the invalid clicks, and they will be refunded. But when you’re talking about a cost-per-conversion model. Because you’re not paying for clicks. So it doesn’t matter. It’s completely and utterly irrelevant. But, there is recourse, and that’s another difference with the local service ad platform through your local service ads, my clients center, and the portal that enables you to mark leads off. It gives you the ability; it’s like its own little CRM system that allows you to mark leads off as booked or unqualified. There is a seamless one-to-one process through which you can mark off certain leads and say this was not legitimate. And they will most, in most cases, take that off your billing. They will remove it from your billing. So the lead typically needs to be qualified because listen, with local service ads, like anything, you’re going to get that segment of people that are just going to maybe they’re looking for service, they’ve already been connected with your business. And they’re using local service ads to get in touch with you to say, well, when are you guys coming back to resurface my roof? No Return due on that. Google will play nice with you and give you a refund. That’s where the management end of it comes in now, and to your point, Matt, most of the local service entities do not want to be bothered. They don’t have the capacity and don’t want to go through the ongoing process of marking off leads and doing research to determine which are valid and which aren’t and which ones they think might fit into the removal process from the monthly billing. That’s the basis of a local service ads model. And it’s a streamlined means by which one can go through a process on an ongoing basis of improving their ROI by checking off leads that aren’t applicable for various reasons, not the least of which would be what I described.

Yeah, that was a perfect reason. So is Google using the honor system with service providers and professionals? Let's say someone wants to take advantage of it and mark them all as unqualified, but it makes money, they will get their Google account banned if they keep doing that?

That’s a good question. They’re not just going to rubber stamp. You can’t just go in and select all and say none of these are legit, even though you’re closing business on the other end. And no, they’re going to go through a review process on a one-to-one but ongoing basis. It’s not as though you have to do one at a time and say, I’m appealing this one, this one, this one, and this one, you can appeal 50 at once, they’ll get back to you, and they’ll review each one individually. And they’ll say, yes. Agree. Agree. Agree, disagree. Agree, Agree. But our experience has been that you apply the logic more often than not, right? Like, this is a service call. And they’re using a local service ad. And I’m paying, say, $75 for them to gain exposure to my company that they would have otherwise gotten for free through an organic listing if they scrolled a little bit further down the page. So you had that conflict right there, which could lead to the equation of measuring diminishing returns, and if that’s a hit against my overall row loss, my return on ad spend. It’s unfavorable to the scaling of the platform and detracts from the value proposition of the marketers and the entities they represent. So I think strategically and wisely, Google has taken a position whereby they’re allowing you to make a case for a scenario such as that where it’s a service call. They already know the company, they’ve already been exposed, and it’s not a legitimate attribution type of lead. And they’ll give you that. Now, in other instances, I should add, a couple of roofing companies that we market for that have seen, first off, as an ancillary note, they’ve seen tremendous value, like, where they might have a typical cost per Acquisition of $100, $125, through LSAs, they’re enjoying a CPA of about $50. So it’s a huge difference. It’s significant. And the quality of the lead is always going to be prevented there. Why is that? The reason is that it’s not keyword-driven. There’s always going to be, with keyword advertising, a little bit of drift. There’s always going to be a Delta of potential inaccuracy. And it’s not necessarily traced back to the efficiencies of the implementation team but rather technology as a whole. We’re not pouring concrete, there will always be some fluidity and instances where certain long tail keywords are queries people are typing into the search engine. With the removal of broad match modifiers in the Google ads platform, they will not match the phrase match keywords that have been much more relevant now for advertisers. So you’re going to have phrase matches, like Best Roofing Company. But what if that’s matching against Best Roofing Company for roof leaks, and you don’t want roof leaks, at least not? And you know what? Well, maybe you’re going to have to, as the business owner, think about how I manage that? I don’t want to lose the business of people searching for the best roofing companies. But I don’t want roof leaks. How do I reconcile that? Well, maybe you expand your business and say, I’m going to bundle up all these roof leak leads that are coming in, and I’m going to sell them to local companies doing roof leak services. You have to be creative in those ways as owners and entrepreneurs. So it’s weighing the option of losing the business here, or what do I do with all these leads that I’m not interested in servicing? But there is value to those leads, maybe I can find the value in other ways than what I’ve been thinking. If you’re a roofer, for example, you have several different categories that you can advertise against. Or, if, for example, you’re a lawyer, there are subcategories that you can advertise under. So say, for example, you’re a personal injury lawyer and not interested in family law, you can select personal injury, and the subcategories, like assault and battery, pain and suffering, things like that, and you can become that granular, and the same thing for roofing companies. Like, suppose you are only interested in roof replacements or new construction. In that case, you can check that off, deselect roof leaks, gutter repairs, or other ancillary services that roofing companies might provide. So it’s not a keyword thing. It’s a concept thing. It’s a conceptual thing. I don’t want to serve that segment of this industry. So if you get roof leaks, then the point I was making is if you continue to get people who are just not paying attention like maybe they search on roof leaks or roofing leaks, or you know, I’m sorry. I should rephrase that, say if somebody’s searching for roofing companies. And you’ve deselected roof leaks. As the advertiser or as the owner of a roofing company. So local service ads will appear against roofing companies’ search. But the consumer’s mind may not be to search for somebody to repair a roof leak specifically. They’re just looking for a roofing company, and when they get in touch with the company, if their need is to fulfill a Roofing Leak. They’re going to call and say I got a roof leak. I just searched for roofing companies, can you come and help me? That’s legitimate. They’re not going to refund you for that. That’s on the consumer’s end, and we honestly can’t hold Google responsible for that. They’re serving your ad against roofing companies to consumers looking for somebody to service a roof leak. And I think nobody would argue about the validity of that lead. So we don’t contest them and waste our time because it wouldn’t even be fair.

So that's the solution to that then is for the roofer that doesn't do roof leaks to hand it over to or to sell it down the line to a company that does the roof repair. So yeah, bundle them up and sell them.

And think about it, you could do the same thing if you’re; what would be a good example? If you’re a plumber, who doesn’t want to install toilet bowls. Somebody is looking for a plumber, and you’re getting hits, and 100 people a month are asking you to come over and change the toilet. Well, maybe it’s time to think about changes. Also, if you just don’t want to go in that direction, bundle them up, and say, Hey, listen, we have your contact information, we’re going to pass this on to one of our affiliates, and you’ll be hearing from them. And that is a great referral system.

Or hire an apprentice plumber. We all begin with a junior plumber to go and change those toilets and make some money.

100%. And landscapers, that’s another one. I mean, think about the various services that landscapers offer. I’m not going to go off on a tangent here. I needed to remove some hedges from the side of my house. And I went out and searched for a landscaper, but that doesn’t mean that I want ongoing services. That landscaper might have selected that they only want ongoing services. So that’s what they’re looking for. That’s the crux of their business: their model is built on recurring services; they want to make 40 bucks a week going over and mowing the lawn on that house. And they add that, and that’s how they build up their book and business. And they’re just not interested in doing one-off jobs. But if I search for landscapers near me and click on that ad for that landscaper, I’m calling them to ask them to come and remove these hedges. Well, I’ve gotten my exposure; Google’s done their job; where is the water’s edge of where you get a refund and where you don’t? Again, we need to think about it in fairness. Like if I’m positioning myself at the front of the grocery store aisle, one last analogy.

So this is what Google Local Service ads enable me to do. I might have an idea, and that’s another thing. If you think about it, you’re getting your advertisement and potential audience that entails 10s of millions of searches every month. So, you have access to arguably the most relevant and highly sought and quantifiable real estate in the Digital Marketing world, you have access to that. And you’re going to have to, as an advertiser, apply a sense of fairness when it comes to the model that Google has rolled out and not try to be overzealous with your refund strategy because guess what? There’s an intangible here, Matt, and I know I’m going off on a tangent here.

No, it's okay.

I preface this. We’ve had three and a half years of experience with local service ads. And if you dominate with local service ads, typically, what’s going to happen is you have your mobile device. On a mobile device, it’s a little bit different because you’re going to want to have one of the top two advertisements come up. But, because of the screen size, you’re not going to have like on a desktop; you’re going to have three ads moving left to right. They’re about one by two, moving left to right and fitting three neatly. Then below that, you have a show more options. And who clicks on that? I don’t know the numbers, but probably not many, they’re going to click on one of those first three advertisements, typically, and on the phone, it’s only two, moving top to bottom. And if you go into landscape mode, it might go side to side, but I don’t think so. So you need to garner one of those top positions. Ad rank comes into play here, similar to how Ad Rank works in the Google Ads world where it’s a triangulation of quality score, which is comprised of what? It comprises the ad relevance, the ad copy, and your landing page relevance. In this case, a landing page isn’t relevant because you can go to a website or a local service app, but it’s not easy. 99% , I should say it’s click-to-call. So it’s all click to call. So, the quality comes down to the company’s commitment to leverage the platform that Google provides to be responsive, as responsive as you can be. Because if you’re not responsive and provide a bad user experience for those calling, Google will detect that. They’re going to realize that it takes an average of ten rings for these folks to pick up a call. And then it’s not even a good experience once that happens. Because already, if the person makes it that far, they’re exacerbated. They’re like, wow, I haven’t had an experience like that. Hi, I’m trying to find somebody to give me some services, please, why does it take ten times for you to pick up the phone anyway?

I know what you're saying. Absolutely.

So we advise our clients that you have to get it down to two, maybe three rings. And every week, you have to go in, and you have to mark off whether these deals have been booked. Suppose you’re archiving if you’re disputing. Now, it’s not that linear. What we’ve discovered over time is in the interest of full transparency; this is not documented anywhere; this is experience. If you’re a machine of dispute, it feels like your ads get less prominent ad placements. Now listen, if the quality of your leads dictates that you need to be that, that it’s impacting your bottom line, then you have to do what you have to do. So you have to practice that balance of fairness regarding where that water’s edge is, and it’s a very common sense kind of thing like we’ve discussed. And if you’re doing that, it won’t impact you. But if people have seen where there’s overzealousness in that practice, it results in demotion. Another thing is that you must be cautious about how you’re potentially implementing phone numbers. So what we do with Core and More Technologies, in the interest of full transparency, and I’m happy to talk about them, is we’ve partnered with a company out of South Carolina called What Converts, it’s a very, very good marketing tool.

They are. Yeah.

And by the way, it’s easy for you to reach them. Their support team is almost white label. They work with us, they jump on client calls if necessary. From the CEO on down, true team players understand that sometimes you have to serve to lead. That’s great wisdom. There’s no ego there. So, the web converts platform enables us to provision phone numbers and to build a watertight attribution model, we provision a phone number for local service ads. And they are dedicated to local service. It’s only used there. So, logic, deduction, any phone calls from that number come from that local service ad phone number we’ve provisioned and labeled appropriately in the what convert system. And if it’s regional, like if you have different locations, you can. So I can have local service ads, if I’m a nationwide plumbing company. For example, if I have Google My Business locations set up all over the country, I can have a Google Local Service ad tied to each of those Google My Business locations. So there are ways of doing that. Anyway, that aside, I can provision different phone numbers for different Google My Business locations because we want to be granular and we want to be integrated. We do that; we provision phone numbers for local service ads and every individual Google Local My Business listing. And we provision phone numbers for each Google call extension running through the Google ads platform.

Anyway, the attribution we’ve created, the model we built is rock solid, it’s watertight, and we know anybody calling that number. There’s one little leak in that I should say is, if that person happens to store that phone number for that local service ad on their phone and redial it two months later, we’ve seen very, very few of them, but it does happen. Well, think about it, if you have other service providers, like call rail and others, you have to make sure that when you’re provisioning a phone number, there is no gap when that phone number, which is essentially a vanity number. It’s going through what converts and then porting to a destination number. And the destination number is the former LSA phone number. So you had that number in your system, and it worked well. But now you’re provisioning a phone number that’s going to do a relay, that relay must be seamless. It has to be set up so that Google isn’t detecting that the call ends there. But it’s routing out. And that happens automatically. You have to ensure you’re not partnering with what converts or call rail or one of the big players. You’re going to some Mom and Pop provider; make sure those calls will be permissible and seamlessly routed destination numbers, without any proxies or crazy stuff to throw a wrench in the system between those two because it will impact your LSAs. If it’s about user experience, everything that Google is about is the great relevance engine of our time. And it’s all. Why do I use Google over other search engines? Why do they have a 90% market share when Bing and Yahoo joined forces against them yet continue to dominate? Why? Because they have the best results. You can’t be contrary or swim against that model with your local service ad approach; you must be disciplined. So yes, it is easy for folks to set it up. But, all the intricacies and everything else we’re talking about now gives you that long-term sustainable position at the top of the perch with the industry’s most relevant and valuable digital marketing real estate. It has to be nurtured, has to pay, you have to pay attention to it, and you have to build upon it.

So I have a couple of questions. First, there are so many questions going through my mind. I've been trying to keep them all organized. Well, those phone numbers. So Google adds the phone numbers, for instance. So what I'm trying to get at is Google provision a number, and then their number goes to the what converts the number, and then the what converts number goes to the destination number, or did you just put in the what converts? Is that not needed, the Google number? Why does Google not give you a number you just put in the what converts phone number, which then goes to a destination number?

That’s a great question worth spending a minute or two on. So you’ll provision a phone number, and you’ll pop it into your local service ad. You’ll come back and see your local service ad and notice a different phone number than the number you provisioned. So yes, a Google phone number is used on the front end. There’s another one. We have no control over the way.

How else will Google know if it works if they don't use their tracking number?

Indeed. They have their needs to track, and we have ours. Then we bring them together and have a harmonious Digital marketing attribution model.

What about tying those calls to an event in Google analytics for attribution? Is that possible?

That’s another great question. So at this point, when we are running reports, what we do through Google Tag Manager and what converts. So what converts enable us to integrate with Google Analytics. And so we are pushing; we prepend them is WC. In other words, what converts WC phone calls, Forms if it’s on the website. And I think that’s it. The integration with Google Analytics when you are looking at it; if you go on my favorite view in Google Analytics is when you go to them; I believe it’s under behavior channels. So it’s the attribution view. Just give me one second; let me bring that up.

While you are looking that up. I know Universal Analytics is dying, and Google is retiring it and G4. I don't want to talk about it now because we could chase that rabbit hole for a year. But did you create a dedicated view for the phone in these instances for clients or use features like attributions?

Yeah. We look under the Acquisition of all traffic channels. So when you enter the Acquisition, all traffic channels view, and any events you set up will come up. The goal is going to come up. We wrap goals around the events. So, for example, we will have under one of our goals we will have to contact us or an estimate or phone call from what converts and all those goals by default are going to be wrapped up and when you go into that view that I just described you are going to have all the goals. It will show you the goal completion, conversion rate, and everything else. It will be shown on a per channel basis. For example, paid search, organic and direct. Now Google local service ads are tracked and pushed in, but they come up under parent and another right parent. It’s under the other category, similar to Google My Business. Because that is the way we have it set up. So we set up the phone numbers; as I mentioned in what converts, we push them through and give them a source and a medium. So our source would be Google and the medium LSA. Also, Google and medium Google my business. Our source would be Google and our medium Call Extension CPC. So you see where I’m going. Therefore when they are pushed into Analytics, I can look at the second dimension. If I select source medium, it will expand that other category, showing me Google\Google My Business, Google call extension\CPC, Google\LSA. I have a full attribution model. It’s all wrapped into one. Now the only thing that it doesn’t give me, it’s not a CRM, so it’s not going to give me the CVR, the conversion rate, but it’s not going to give me the quotable conversion rate. The quotable conversion rate is where what converts comes in. So, over on that side, you must have some commitment on behalf of your clients. They are the ones that are going to need to go in on an ongoing basis and mark leads off as quotable or not. Ideally, they will also need to add the value of each quote on an ongoing basis as they are marking them off. So on an ongoing basis, we provide monthly reports that show- Alright, here you are. For the month you spent this much. The pipeline generated this much, and this is the revenue you closed. Here is what you owe us. Here is your ROI with our services included. And we have the whole model, and that’s what we can do with UTMs. It’s very awesome.

Without it, I don't know how people do marketing.

From what I understand, there are companies out there that don’t go to that level. But I don’t know.

They don't. I won't call anybody out, but it blows my mind away. I have talked with Marketing people, and they don't use UTMs as we were talking about. They don't tag, track and use attribution. I don't want to run and throw anybody under the bus here, but I have talked to Agency owners, and I asked if they have google analytics set up for, some of you who are listening. I don't need to offend you, but you need to know your crap. So the implementation of Google Analytics was the script installed on the client's website?

And they did it hard coded. They didn’t even use Tag manager.

No, they did not use Tag manager. But I don't want to chase that rabbit.

I hear you.

It's disappointing but let's focus on being professionals.

The one little gap that drives me crazy about the local service ads piece is that when they come into Google analytics, they come in as a user. In other words, you are not getting the impressions, and the MCC doesn’t show you how many impressions your local service ad is getting. So you don’t know.

The MCC for those people who are listening and don't know what that means.

It means my client’s Center. So that’s a little bit of a gray area there. You don’t know what your exposure is. You can measure your clicks and conversions but can’t measure the impressions. So when we look at the impact of paid versus organic, we think about it in integrated marketing strategy. We are always thinking about the value, if we have a client for whom we provide the entire suite of services- LSA, CPC, organic, Social media, etc. Thinking about it in terms of the Google platform. What impact is the relevance we are seeing now on various keywords for which we have strategies?

We have acted as an investment advisor to our clients and told them to invest in it, as we know SEO can be a huge investment. You are talking about building content and backlinks that can become expensive. You get those companies that you are going to be competing against. Oh, they are going to build me a website, and they are going to do my SEO, and they are going to charge me fifteen hundred dollars and five hundred dollars per month, and I’m like good luck. They are not going to give you anything for that. But doing real SEO gets expensive, and that’s how it is. A return on investment is not linear; it’s not like you look at that and say- well, organically, this month, you had seventy-five leads and a generated pipeline of extra revenue. Well, wait a minute, Google is now, and it has had this for years, giving us the ability to look at paid and organic reports in the Google ads platform. So what impact has the rise of these various keywords we have been optimizing against? It’s the top three showing up simultaneously with our Google ads blocks, what impact is that potentially impacting our CPCs and our click-through rate? And what we have seen across different clients and numerous industries is that typically we are seeing a thirty-six percent increase in click-through rate, which is the number of clicks, the post the number of impressions. Thirty-six percent increase going from fifteen up to twenty percent, and we have also at the same time seen the thirty-six percent decrease in cost per click on average. That’s very powerful. And that is the dimension we are talking about in truly quantifying the value of organic.

Unfortunately, given that we don’t know what impression share looks like, it’s a black box with LSAs. There is no way to determine the impact of a trifecta where you have an LSA prominent. Even if it’s at the top, it doesn’t have to be number one, moving left to right. It could be in the middle, to the right, and you have CPC ads and an organic listing. The quadfecta would be that you also have a Google My Business listing, which will be on a branded search. But if you think about it, that is the dominance that we are talking about. When you have a search engine research page through which you have eighty-five percent market share concerning access to consumers, and you have an LSA, CPC, and an organic listing simultaneously, we can’t fully quantify what impact that is going to have on click-through rate and driving down CPCs to the extent that we can choose between Google ads and organic listings. But I would have to think that the numbers are significant. How many more people will be clicking on your LSAs because below are the optics and the only thing that differentiates that from organic listing now that the ad and the rest are saying everything else. They might not even notice the optics of it and an eye scan for the average consumer. They see that. Boom, Google guarantees a roofing company.

You touched on something, and we have to discuss the Google guarantee.

It’s really like that, and you have the organic, the paid listing, which also has to call out extensions. Five-year warranty. Hundred percent financing. They are crushing it. They are not going to click on your ad. And layered in some display advertising, you are coming in at the top of the funnel; they are researching. They are looking for maybe websites, or what do I ask the roofer to work on my house when I am interviewing them. So now we can start showing them display advertising since they are consuming content across the web through performance max campaigns.

This is so powerful that I can see marketers trying to take advantage of this as they have with Google My Business or Google Business profile listings and creating quote-unquote fake listings. That aren't real businesses and then renting them out. So I won't go there. But the point I am trying to make is, with these LSAs, what's to stop a marketer from trying to launch a campaign and sell leads to a plumber or roofer. So, you have to be a real entity, don't you?

I got you. It seems exhaustive, and that’s one of the value adds we provide as an agency. We walk them through the entire process of that. You have to show the Articles about your business. They undergo an entire vetting process, do background checks and have a third-party company facilitate background checks. It’s a very exhaustive process, and it typically takes three to four weeks to get your local service ads up and running.

So, is this not for new companies, like, say, a new roofing startup company?

Oh no, you can jump right in. But you want to work together, and you can do this collaboratively, or maybe the word is collaborative. You will want to build up your reviews through Google My Business because your local service ads will pull directly from the reviews you have garnered. So, if you are a brand new company with no reviews, that’s another factor in weighing your relevance. It’s not a quintessential factor, Matt, it’s very weird. It fluctuates, I think it has more to do with direct user experience that is being recorded and associated with your account as a result than it has to do with the number of reviews that you already have. Because if you have five thousand reviews and it’s the best you can get when people call your company, they are being channeled to an answering service and not reaching a human being. The user experience is terrible for whatever reason, that will be more relevant to the placement and the ad rank of your Google local service ad and review.

Okay. So let's talk about that, Google guarantee. For instance, I know contractors I have worked with. They are terrible at answering the phone. You try marketing for them, and they are terrible at it. I thought to recommend a client answering service because of the value of that against the lost business. Pitching that to a business owner and getting them to think that way is another story. If you are so busy you can't answer the phone because your business is growing so fast, you are on these Jobs and doing these projects. Economically a call center is less expensive than hiring a secretary or an Administrative Assistance to answer the phone. Is that a solution, training a call center, and I can think of one off the top of my head, you train them on all the FAQs and have them answer the phone, they will answer just like your company? I don't know if you have seen that, or do you have any comments on that?

Yes, I have seen that. I would say you hit the nail on the head. If the call centers are well equipped to represent the company, then I think it is possible, but it is never going to be as effective as people fielding the calls inside the company who may have an incentive. And the incentive may not be monetary, it may be that accountability might play into it. You will never have the level of accountability inside a call center for various clients. They are managing ten different clients, picking up a piece of paper and reading from a script. As you will have when the folks are internal, if you invest in one or two, you should be able to feel things. Maybe three are hands-on with the influx of calls and know their job performance is directly tied to the number of calls, and the percentage success in the number of calls is being transferred to the folks generating the quotes if that is the way the business is set up. Maybe it’s the same person doing that. Either way, I want to see a percentage. So the marketing agency I am working with provides me with these touch points. They tell when someone comes to the website and how many are exposed to my advertisement. How many of the people who are exposed to my advertising are clicking on it? That’s my click-through rate. Then how about the people that click on that ad who come to the website? How many of the people that arrive on my website are converting? What does that conversion rate look like? And then they tell how many converted on the website and how many are turning into the pipeline? What’s that quotable conversion rate? The sales team now has to tell me, and this is something that we as marketers can’t do; what is my fast conversion rate? What does my revenue look like? That funnel has to be replicated internally concerning the calling process. If they can match that to the level of service that we are providing on the front end from the marketing side, you will have a winning recipe. They might need to pay and make that investment. How much do they want to scale? If they drive all these leads to their site but don’t have the infrastructure to support those leads, that will be a problem.

And maybe the answer is in the beginning for cash flow reasons, to hire a call center to get things going or a family friend or someone, in this day and age with VOIP phone somebody could be sitting in another part of the world answering the phone. Then you grow into hiring staff. Maybe that could be a solution. But in that regard, you talked about the Google guarantee, what is that all about?

So what happens is that there are two aspects of it, and it falls into the category of whether or not; Google screened is one category of validation, and Google guarantee is another. There are two buckets; one is Google Screen, and the other is Google Guarantee. What that, you can think of it like this, Google screened means that if you are an Attorney, you can screen; they have checked you out. They know that you are providing the services and you are capable. Google screens are more along the lines of professional services, like Lawyers. Google guarantee is where it’s a roofing company, a locksmith, or an HBAC provider, where Google is saying yes, this is a reputable company, we have looked at them, we have checked the various touch points. These might include – The Better Business Bureau’s other outlets, there are no red flags to indicate that this company is not doing business on the up and up. Or operating in an unethical manner, or many negative complaints being shared by people saying this is a fly-by-night company they are not reputable don’t use. The inverse is the optics of arriving at a search query, where you are seeing, where we are, here is the name of the company, this is the rating of their reviews. Ideally, five stars give you the number and a link so you can see the reviews, popup and scroll through them. Below that, you will have the little check mark of Google guarantee. It is like the blue checkmark on Twitter, it has been validated. The Google screened is the same thing. The only difference is how it is rendered; it may have changed last I checked. For Attorneys, for example, if they are coming up Google Screened, it is not contained in the ad block, whereas Google guarantees it’s contained within the ad block. Google Screened will say Google screened at the top of the area allocated for local service ads, and then it will show you the various Attorneys that fall under the Google Screen umbrella that has been Google Screened. It’s from an optics perspective, six of one half-dozen of the other, in my opinion. I would rather have the Google guarantee. I think it’s better inside the ad block.

What does Google guarantee, like what do they monitor? Do they have monetary guarantees?

If you have a dispute, for example, the company doesn’t provide the services that had committed to, and you show them an invoice, hope you never have to do this. But you go through a process, and in the end, the guarantee is that they will refund you the money you spent.

For instance, you get someone a bathroom renovation guy. The cost of the job is ten grand, and he wants thirty-three hundred up front, and then he takes off with your money. Can you report that to Google, and they give you a certain amount back?

Yes, I think it’s a hundred percent, and it’s like a Discover card where they will take up the fight with the vendor. I am not doing a commercial for Discover, but they are great. I have had instances where I spent four thousand dollars on something, and I’m disputing this, I didn’t get the services I wanted. So they immediately drop a refund into my account and take it up from there. So they take up the legal battle. I have never experienced it, but from what I understand, it’s the same thing. It may not be as immediate as with the Discover card. But that’s the guarantee. That is the nature of the guarantee.

That is so powerful. That is a powerful value proposition, and Google has the money in the bank to back it. It's so smart.

You have the most valuable real estate in the Digital Marketing industry. You have the most cost per league model with an outlet, a conduit that lets you dispute legitimate leads, and you have a guarantee.

That's incredible.

It’s incredible. It’s brilliant, and for anyone in that space providing local services, and if they are not leveraging that mechanism, they are insane or uninformed. One of the other.

One of the other. So you mentioned its pay per lead. I have never done them before, but I assume it's the same concept as pay-per-click. Like a lawn care company isn't going to pay the same as a Plastic Surgeon. My understanding is a Plastic Surgeon is twenty-five bucks per click. So I assume that Google has figured out the average cost per lead to charge each provider. As you mention, they do lawn care services, and the average transaction value is much lower than a kitchen renovation. So Google probably has their database of how they figured out how to charge that?

Well, the beauty is here is how the model works. You can bid, and you can either bid to maximize leads, like the target CPA model. Called the target load-up model. So if you were an owner, you know what your ROIs look like and what you want that number to be. You may not want to use the maximize leads because what that is going to do is you are going to set a weekly budget. So say I’m going to maximize my leads. I am willing to spend three thousand dollars per month, and Google will go out, and they will get me as many leads as I can get for that three thousand dollars. So I can set the maximum amount I want to pay per lead. So it is the maximum cost you want to pay for a lead. So I can give you some insight into this.

Yes. Go ahead.

I don’t know if I should say this on a recording, but our experience has been that we have several advertisers, and when we set up their local service ad, and they go to production, the results are phenomenal. It’s like catching lightning in a bottle. They are just cranking. The leads are coming in, the doors are blowing off, and they are ready to reinvest. And then typically, it slows down a bit, things adjust, and you have to work to ensure they maintain. They have to work with you, from the call center side, or however they are facilitating or receiving the calls and processing them and the overall process. Everything that we have described. There has to be a commitment, and it has to be rock solid on that end. A commitment to quality that you are going to field the calls, that you are going to provide the best user experience that you can provide for these leads that Google is driving to you. And if you don’t, you will start losing your position. But out of the gate, you get the position, and then it can drop from there. You have to be on top of it. And if your client isn’t working with you, you will only have so much control because you are not answering the calls. So what google gives you is the pond establishing the account. You have gone through the approval process and are ready to launch. There is excitement. You have incorporated and are building more reviews. There is a whole process that can go behind that.

We who work within agencies know there are ways we can streamline that. We can add mechanisms to our website. We encourage those we are marketing for to add it to the process when they finish jobs and ask for Google reviews. All that good stuff. What will happen is that Google will give you a base number that they think you should pay. It will set a default for you, like sixty dollars. We recommend this, and they will provide you with a few additional recommendations. You can go seventy, and we estimate you can get it. With seventy dollars per lead, you will get this many leads. For eighty-five dollars, you will get this many leads. Those numbers about how many leads you will get at the different tiers are completely inaccurate.

Why does that not surprise me with Google?

You have to manage expectations with your clients. Don’t tell them, listen, Mr. Business owner, if you spend eighty-five dollars instead of sixty, you will get fifteen leads instead of five. You must be ready at the end of the week to explain why you didn’t get those fifteen leads.

Or to provide them.

Again, to your point, Matt, it is to some extent supply and demand. But more importantly, it is the user experience, and at the end of the day, what it comes down to is the user experience paired with the amount you are willing to spend per lead, paired with the amount you are willing to allocate to a budget on a weekly or monthly basis. That will determine where in the hierarchy of the advertising structure your ad will be placed and the times it will be placed there. So you can set it, so you are not showing up on weekends; you are only showing up from eight to four or three to five. You can control all that easily through the interface. By the way, they have recently added some additional innovations so that you can do text messaging directly through your local service ads. So now you can enable an instant messenger, and you can also tie in your booking calendar. You can streamline the entire process, so you don’t need to have called. Book now is an option. So you have to go through some setup for that. First of all, opt into one of the calendars. Google is going to support one of those.

Like using a Google-supported calendar?

Yes, there are several that they offer. I’m not going to name them, but there are several that they offer. You have to use one. But, it’s an option, and we have experienced that the more options you offer, the more often your ad will show up at the top of the search engine result page, the local service ad, or the ad block. So we are offering messaging, click-to-call, and direct booking. It is similar to what lead form extensions are to Google ads. The lead form allows you to send text messages to the business’s phone. It’s similar to that. We are using Zapier for integration, so we are offering our clients the ability to facilitate the messaging extensions. But now, how do we bring that into our attribution model because it differs from the calls? So the attribution model we have already discussed. So now we have to think about adding Zapier into the mix or any other recording conduit. We use Zavier. We take those text messages and relay them into the What Convert system from the LSAs platform.

That is brilliant because that was the question I was going to ask, but you have already answered it. About integration. Here is the other thing. And it is a pain in the butt. My thought process is that you can also use Zapier to integrate with your CRM if possible. So here is a question; what about, and I don't know if Google does this or not, but you mentioned it was like a mini CRM. I wonder, instead of manually, can you create a bridge between your CRM and Google LSA MCC to mark those leads as good or not automatically? So you get your CRM talking to Google. That would be very brilliant.

That is an interesting thought, and as it stands today, The My Client Centre, aka the MCC, in Google ads, does not afford you the ability to put revenue. The MCC shows you the customer name and the job type, whether it’s a roofing company or a roofing installation if it’s a lawyer, family law, personal injury, etc. The location by the zip code, the lead type, whether it’s a message, direct booking, or a phone call, and when they call, the date of the contact. You can run the reports, but they will again be against the budget you spend, the number of leads you were charged, and the appointments that have been booked.

Do you use Google dated studio or some dashboard to pull in that data to do reporting for clients?

What a great question, Matt. We just rolled that out within the last two weeks. Thanks to my top Account Manager. She says there will be an issue there. You know what? We have these platforms. Let’s roll this up into Google data studio so we can show everything. Because the thing we are missing in all of it is that what converts is great and it tells us everything, and you can even record the calls. You can transcribe them so when the leads are coming in. The streamlined emails and the top of the header of the email tell you the source, the channel, and the campaign because we use a tracking template that converts provide, and we drop that into the campaign level of every Google CPC campaign that we launch. So now we are pulling in everything; all the attribution is right there. It’s organic, and it’s telling us the keyword to the extent that it can. So now we have all of this great attribution going on, but the thing that we are not seeing is the number of impressions. So, one level of the funnel shows us the click-through and conversion rates on the website. So that is not what converts. Everything else is. Google data studio, to your point, enables us to bring them together. Suppose the client is keeping up with the pipeline and the revenue numbers. In that case, it also enables us to pull in the charts we formatted that say our ROI over a given period is this. With Google data studio, you can make comparisons and show the last thirty days versus the previous or last year. I’m getting hundreds of visits to my website, but what is that turning into tangible values? And we bring it all together with Google data studio. Great point.

When I was at the Car Dealership. I had to work my ass off, excuse my french, to prove what I was doing was working. And I say this because I was generating leads the salespeople were blowing. They weren't selling. It was a bunch of politics, but I won't get into that. So I'm trying to make the point that I took data from CRM because I had super admin access. I uploaded this to Facebook ads to show that what I did resulted in sales. So I am curious, there has got to be a way to do that. Maybe Google doesn't let you upload your Google sheet or spreadsheet to be a way straight to the MCC in the LSA platform, but certainly, there must be a way, like you say in Studio, to tie that data, even if it's super metrics.

Well, that’s a great point, and Sarah Schiender is her name, she is my right arm. She probably has some thoughts on that. So that’s a great idea. I love it.

So creating an integration between that, whether it's a Google sheet populated in Zapier to pull that data in. There has to be a way. Of course, Facebook never told me who it was that bought. So I uploaded the revenue per car data, and it told me how many people bought due to that campaign I was doing, which was dynamic inventory retargeting for anybody wondering. It has been a phenomenal conversation. It's been a pleasure having you here. What is the one big takeaway you want listeners to get from this episode?

Matt, thank you. It’s been my pleasure, and I’m glad we connected this morning to talk about all this good stuff. It’s great. The takeaway is whether you are investing in Google local Service ads or Google ads, making an investment in organic search for long-term visibility, or considering throwing a lot of money at Social Media marketing, whether it’s LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, or the whole suite. It comes to having the ability to measure and make informed decisions about investment and reinvestment, and that is an ongoing process. Technology is ever evolving. Google Analytics four is rolling out with many additional features, what impact will that have? I want to think it can only be good. To the extent that Google Local service ads can be part of your Digital Marketing mix. I can’t recommend highly enough the efficiencies that we have experienced and the value that we have been able to add to our clients, and it’s been the foundation of this kind of disruptive addition to our Digital Marketing mix. As local service providers, we often lead with Google Local Service ads because that is where you will get the initial bang, and it will empower you, especially if you are a new business. To your point, Matt, to confidently reinvest. Right now, if you are going in without venture capital and just starting, and you are taking your life savings, starting a business and making your dreams come true, you want to build your multi-million dollar company. Whether you are a roofing company, starting up a law firm, or a landscaping company, whatever the case may be. It is a means for you to gain access to the most valuable Digital Marketing real estate in the world and to do it within a month. Then as you begin to reinvest, you are adding in Google SEN, many acronyms exist. Google adds them to the mix, and you are investing in organic, building blogs and backlinks, and your company’s relevance in so many different ways. Using LSAs at the center of it all rather than building out a system that’s backed by a third party, whether it’s web converts or something else. You will position yourself for long-term measurements of how solvent your business is on an ongoing basis right down to the day.

That is very important if you ever want to sell your business. How can our listeners connect with you online?

You can visit our website at www.coreandmoretechnologies.com, see us on Linkedin, or reach out to us directly. We are readily available, and we love talking about this stuff.

What about you? Are you on LinkedIn?

Correct.

Are you active on Twitter or anything else?

I am on Twitter under Core and More Tech and Facebook at Core and More Tech. We have a very long name. Going to the website Coreandmoretech.com, you will see all the links to the various social media pages, and we are rolling out a few new things. Not the least of which is video testimonials.Now with the Gen-Zs coming out and entering the workforce. Video content is huge, and consumption is becoming a deal to the extent that we will be out in front of that. So if you are a local service provider, get people to give you video testimonials. There are platforms and ways to incorporate it into your website. It’s purely distributable content. It’s great. We will be adding that in for ourselves soon, and I think that covers the ways to get in touch with us. We are always available and ready to talk about this stuff, and we will have some interesting blogs and videos coming out over the next few months that we are working on right now. We want to do this stuff.

That's exciting. Thanks again. It's been an absolute pleasure, and I hope you will return. There are so many other things we can talk about that triggered my mind as we talked; Attribution alone. Google Analytics four or GA4. The data Studios, tons of things. Even Google ads. So thanks for being here. Hopefully, you can come back and talk to us again.

Awesome, Matt. I’m looking forward to it. Thank you.

Have a great day.

You as well. Thank you.

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