Coming Soon: Ads in Google Local Pack

Google’s Global Product Lead for Local Ads, Ali Turhan, has confirmed that ads are coming to the Local 3-Pack.

The Local 3-Pack shows names, addresses, phone numbers and map locations for three businesses on the first page of search results. In August last year, Google reduced the number of organic local results shown in the Local Pack from seven to three.

While Turhan’s announcement at the SMX Advanced conference in Seattle would suggest that release is imminent, Google is still testing the change. A Google screenshot showed an AdWords ad above two organic listings, but after testing the final format of the Local Pack could be different.

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Local search results could soon look like this — an AdWords ad at the top, replacing an organic listing in the Local 3-Pack.

Why should you care?

Questions remain as to the timing and format of the 3-Pack ads. In particular:

  • Will the AdWords ad replace an organic listing, as indicated by the Google screenshot? Or will it simply supplement the existing three listings?
  • Will there still be up to four AdWords ads above the Local Pack results for location-related searches, or will there only be three?

This may be good news for AdWords advertisers who have struggled to make an impact in local search results. But if, when released, an AdWords ad replaces one of the three organic listings, it will become even tougher for other local businesses for whom getting into the 3-Pack is already hard enough.

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About the Author Jeremy Templer

Jeremy is a Partner and Senior Consultant at SureFire. Jeremy has been working in search since 1996, when he joined the Australian search engine, LookSmart. After relocating to San Francisco, he was instrumental in the development of the company’s paid search ad platform. At analytics company Coremetrics (now owned by IBM) he established an in-house search agency managing campaigns for Coremetrics clients such as Macy’s, Bass Pro and Lands End. At Acxiom he managed members of the pioneering SEO firm Marketleap and worked with clients such as Capital One, American General Finance and Kaiser Health. Joining SureFire in 2009, he is the head of Paid Search Advertising and oversees the delivery of AdWords and other PPC campaigns. He also helps clients make sense of their website data.