Google opens up Local Search to more ads

AdWords ads now show in Local Finder search results

Local businesses struggling to appear in Google’s local search three-pack can now get thereabouts (just a click away) with Google AdWords.

Click on any of the results in the three-pack (not the website or directions links) or on the “More places” link and you’ll see Google is now showing AdWords ads at the top of Local Finder results.

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To be eligible for the auction to show in Local Finder results, AdWords ads must have Location Extensions enabled. Although only one ad is shown in the above screenshot, for some searches more than one will be displayed.

AdWords ads already show in Google Maps results (and have for the past three years). But Google is making changes here too: Google Maps is no longer considered a Search Partner, and AdWords ads will soon require Location Extensions be implemented to be shown in Maps.

Why should you care?

Local Search is already highly competitive: Google has reduced results to a three-pack (from the prior seven-pack). And up to four ads (all with ad extensions) can be shown above local results.

Businesses unable to crack the three-pack for their most important search terms are probably already using AdWords. But additional inventory means their ads are more likely to appear (even when they are not in the ads shown at top of the initial results page). And those not using AdWords now have more reasons to consider doing so.

Importantly, AdWords advertisers who have opted out of the Search Partners network (which, in New Zealand, includes Trade Me and Seek, along with Google properties like Google News) may now see their ads appearing in Google Maps on location-based searchers. Should they wish to have their ads continuing to show, they will need to make sure that Location Extensions have been implemented (but you’ve all done that already, haven’t you?)

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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.