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Local Service Ad Options from Google

Google Local Services ads help businesses connect with people in a local service area. Ads show up for customers in your service area, and you only pay if a customer calls or messages you directly through the ad. This is a much more cost effective option for small businesses than traditional Google ads.

To set up a local service ad, you start with your business name, service type, and location. Google will verify your business and then you can take the next step.

Once you’re set up, you use a dashboard to update information and manage your ads. You can set the budget and pause ads as needed.

Home based businesses like plumbers and painters can get a Google Guaranteed badge that tells customers Google has verified the business and backs the services. Professional services, businesses like lawyers and event planners, can get a Google Screened badge that tells clients Google has verified your background and backs your expertise.

Once your Local Services ad is live, your business will show up with a call or message button – you choose which one – so customers can connect with you.

Get started by determining your eligibility with Google.

Top 10 No Longer Tops with Google

Have you noticed that Google changed the first page of search results? Being one of the top ten for a search term no longer guarantees that you will be on the first page of Google search results. Argh.

Google evolves search results pages to provide the content they think searchers will find valuable. There are now question boxes, map results and more mixed in with the standard page titles and links.

Today’s Google Search Results Page

Paid ads still live at the top of the results pages. There are also often Google Business results to the right and a box with common questions related to the search topic.

So, the good news is that the slots for organic search results are replaced with some additional opportunities for you to be found.

There’s another change that affects every search: personalization. Over the past several years, Google has worked to personalize search results based on the user who is searching. This means that a search performed by two different people likely will get different results. This is based on factors like location and previous searches and clicks.

Monitor Your Google Rank

No one knows the magic algorithm that Google uses to determine search rank. Some factors are generally assumed to be effective, such as keyword use in page content and providing meta description and photo tags.

For the best insight into your search rank, monitor your Google Search Console to ensure there aren’t any notices about issues related to your website. Some items are easily addressed. Others may need the support of a developer. The rules and technical requirements change all the time.

How Google Ranks Page Experience

Google has defined a new set of metrics to measure the speed and user experience of websites. These metrics will be used in the Google search algorithm to rank sites based on the page experience they offer. This update is expected to happen in May 2021.

What Is Page Experience?

Google’s ideal is that users click a link in search results and the corresponding page appears instantly. Even with high speed internet connections and fast devices, loading a web page is still not that instantaneous.

Loading times are only part of page experience. According to Google, “Great page experiences enable people to get more done and engage more deeply; in contrast, a bad page experience could stand in the way of a person being able to find the valuable information on a page.”

Web Vitals Defined

Google Web Vitals are a set of metrics to help determine opportunities to improve the experience of sites. Within those new metrics is a subset of metrics called Core Web Vitals. These are intended to be real-world, user-centered metrics that quantify key aspects of the user experience.

Each Core Web Vital looks at a specific piece of the page experience to rate the perceived experience of a site. Core Web Vitals are available in all Google tools that measure page experience.

Core Web Vitals are:

  • Loading
  • Interactivity
  • Visual stability

These focal points correspond with three new metrics:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP):  how long it takes for the largest visible content element to load.
  • First Input Delay (FID): how long it takes for a browser to respond to an interaction first triggered by the user (such as clicking a button)
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): the percentage of the screen affected by movement — i.e. do things jump around on screen?

Page Experience and Search Rank

Google is going to use these metrics combined with existing experience ranking factors to rank page. Other factors include:

  • Content quality
  • Mobile-friendliness: is your site optimized for mobile?
  • HTTPS: is your site using a secure connection?
  • Interstitial use: does your site stay away from pop-ups?