Google Advertising Changes | Local Three Packs & Maps

The local listings on Google can be one of the most powerful ways to get your business noticed – but that will only be the case if you keep up with the way the biggest search engine does business. Change is a constant in the online world, and that certainly applies with Google pay per click advertising. There have recently been some changes that have to do with local listings, and you need to understand them to know if any action will be necessary with regard to your advertising plan.

Ads Above the Three Pack

As you are likely aware, local search results currently display as a “three pack” at the top of the organic search results, along with a map. While this has remained the same, now when a user clicks ‘more places’, an ad may appear at the top of the local finder results (as shown in the image below).

This is a major change, as advertisers now have the opportunity to claim the prime position right at the top of the page.
So what does this mean for you? Well, for one thing, you will want to closely monitor the local search results for any keywords that are relevant to your business. If a competitor is claiming that valuable top spot through the use of advertising, you may need to respond in order to avoid losing a share of the market. Also, you can keep an eye on the advertising space at the top of the page to determine exactly who your competitors are, and what they are offering in comparison to your business.

Suspensions Coming Down

Violating the guidelines passed down by Google is never a good idea, and that certainly holds true within the local listings world. If you are violating any of their terms, even by accident, you may be in line for a suspension. Take some time to carefully review the local listings guidelines and then compare them to your own practices to ensure that you are safely in compliance.

Maps Considered Core

When running ads on Google AdWords, you have the option of including your marketing efforts in the ‘search partner network’ which extends your ads beyond just the Google search engine. Previously, Maps was considered to be part of that extended network, but it is now being included within the core of Google search. That means that your ads are potentially going to appear in Google Maps listings, as long as you are using location extensions. The impact of this tweak on your advertising campaigns will depend on the specifics of your ads and your budget, so monitor any changes to your account and respond as necessary.

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