Google investigating Local Services Ads bug

Google is currently investigating a bug in Local Services Ads that is causing businesses to show up in search results for their competitors’ names. This issue surfaced shortly after the introduction of branded Local Service Ads (LSA) called Direct Business Search, where brands can appear in search results when users directly search for a specific brand or business.

According to Google, businesses should only show up in search results when their own brand is queried through Direct Business Search, and charges will be applicable only for leads generated from new customers. This bug not only fails to meet user intent but also runs the risk of redirecting customers to competitors when they search for a specific brand on Google.

SEO consultant Joy Hawkins first noticed this bug and expressed concern over businesses unknowingly bidding on a competitor’s name through Local Services Ads. She highlighted the impact of this bug with screenshots of search results for the query “a1 garage door service” from January 2024 to February 2024.

While brands are automatically included in Direct Business Search ads, they can opt out by adjusting their campaign settings manually. Google Ads Liaison Officer Ginny Marvin acknowledged this bug in response to Hawkins’ post on Twitter and assured that a fix is in progress.

For more information on Google’s Branded Local Service Ads pilot, you can read our detailed article on the topic.

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