Google’s New Local Search Results
Google changed the local search landscape again. it has slowly been rolling out new local features across its properties, is now adding a new format for local search results
Google also rolled out an ad service that will help small and medium sized businesses in particular. The new ad service, called ‘Boost’, allows businesses to place local business ads and show up when users conduct local searches in their specific business category. Place Search and Boost work well in conjunction with each other to help users as well as advertisers.
Google is testing an online ad service that will promote local business listings in Google Maps. Businesses that have set up a free Google Places account, which puts the company on Google Maps with a red marker, will be able to pay for an enhanced listing in the ‘sponsored links’ section of a relevant search and appear with a larger blue marker in Google Maps.
Boost ads are eligible to appear in the “Sponsored Links” section of Google.com and Google Maps search result pages. For example, if you’re a restaurant owner in San Francisco who has signed up for Boost, your ad may show up when someone does a related search like the one below, indicating a cuisine and location that matches yours.
AdWords becomes more important & competitive.
Google has moved the map over to the right column, where paid ads typically appear.
Local businesses, finding that paid ads are now the most visible piece of screen real estate on local search results, will/should respond by spending even more money to show up in the pastel-colored AdWords display that’s smack-dab in the center of the page.
Reviews and citations become more important/ visible.
In the new display, not only is Google showing how many reviews it has in its system, but it’s also featuring a variety of third-party sites (like Yelp, Insider Pages, etc.)
Advancing Google Place Search
A new search feature called Place Search was introduced by Google last week. After a rather unobtrusive start, local search is now looking like it might drastically change the presentation of results for organic search. Is this being done at the expense of other search services?
These new Place Search results will be shown automatically when Google is able to gauge that a local search is being carried out. If that does not happen the user can use the ‘Places’ link in the left hand panel of the search results page.
Where paid ads don’t appear or when the searcher scrolls down to see local listings
SEO becomes more important.
It sounds, then, like traditional SEO factors will more heavily influence who shows up for local search queries … and Google will then apply the local data to create the search results.