Most of us have experienced constantly changing algorithms and updates to Google products. Local Services Ads (LSA), one of Google’s paid advertising products, was affected by recent changes as of September 2023.
Fewer Results Shown
As explained in a prior blog comparing the differences between Google’s PPC and LSA products, the top three ranked LSAs are displayed at the very top of Google’s search results, and the exact position of your LSA is driven by ranking factors such as proximity to the primary location, quantity, and quality of reviews. So what has changed?
On desktop view:
Previously on desktop, three LSAs were presented in a horizontal layout, but now Google showcases only two LSAs in a vertical format, as shown in the screenshot below.
As a consequence of this change, businesses aiming for top placement in the search results now have only two spots to compete for, rather than three. When you click on “more carpet cleaners”, the top 20 ranked LSA ads are shown.
On mobile view:
In contrast to the desktop view, on the mobile view, three LSAs are still being showcased, as seen in the screenshot below, allowing three top spots to compete for first-page placement.
However, when clicking “show more” only six LSAs additional ads are displayed on the mobile view, rather than 20 on the desktop view. However, more options are seen on the mobile view. Users are given the option to click on “50+ carpet cleaners nearby”.
Rotating Through Contractors
The second noteworthy change is that Google appears to be circulating the top 20 LSAs in the results, instead of solely ranking the two (or three) highest-quality LSAs as before. As a result, businesses that consistently held top positions are now likely experiencing a decrease in their lead volume. Conversely, those businesses that didn’t occupy the top three positions and didn’t receive a steady stream of leads may observe an improvement in their lead volume.
Ranking Matters More Than Ever
So given this change, where do the ranking factors come into play? As mentioned, Google seems to be circulating the top 20 LSAs on desktops. However, if there are more businesses running LSAs in your area, then Google is only circulating the top 20 ranked LSAs. It appears to us that those ranked below 20 don’t have the opportunity for a spot in the top 2 positions at all.
Whether or not our ranking theory applies to mobile view is currently unclear. However, one unmistakable fact is that search results for the same query, occurring simultaneously, differ between desktop and mobile views, especially since three LSAs are showcased rather than just two. This disparity enables mobile users, and therefore mobile advertisers, a wider array of businesses to access leads, broadening their reach and potential.