Google has introduced new changes this week to Google Maps as well as local search results that will have an effect on digital marketing for service providers and retailers with physical locations. Ads will now appear on Local Finder results and ads will be displayed differently in Google Maps too.
Ads in Local Finder Results
Several SEO specialists were the first to notice that ads began to show in Local Finder results that was reached after clicking on ‘More Places’ from a local three-pack in the main Google search results. The addition of these ads in the Local Finder results where more than one ad can be displayed translates to the fact that service providers and retailers who aren’t included in the local three-pack have another new approach of getting to the top of Google search results if users clicked through to view more listings. This also means that another place for organic listings have been pervaded with advertising.
The ads in the Local Finder rely mostly on AdWords local extensions just like with Google Maps, which started displaying ads that used location extensions when Google updated it in 2013. But unlike the results in Google Maps, advertisers featured in Local Finder results don’t get a pin on the map results.
However, a Google spokesperson didn’t offer additional details other than stating that they were testing out new formats for local businesses.
Google Maps is longer a Search partner now
Google has also made changes to how ads are displayed on Google Maps. Shortly, Google will only show ads that include location extensions in Maps. Standard text ads will not be displayed. The other major change is that the Google Maps is no longer a part of Search Partners. Google has modified advertisers and Maps have been taken out of the list of Google sites that are included in Search Partners in AdWords help pages.
This modification in Maps’ status means that:
§ Advertisers who are not using local extensions but were included into Search Partners could possibly see a drop in impressions and click with their ads no longer displayed in Maps.
§ Advertisers who use local extensions but had opted out of Search Partners will now be able to display their ads in Maps and this could cause a boost in clicks and impressions as their ads will start showing up there.
The step to include maps as part of the Google Search range will mean that more advertisers will be featured in Maps and auctions. The importance of local extensions is in line with Google’s growing dependence on feeds and structured data.