google-logoThis week, Google has made some changes to local search results and Google Maps that will have an impact on retailers and service providers with physical locations.

First up, let’s talk about ads in Local Finder results.  The ads were first spotted by local SEO specialist Brian Barwig, who saw them appearing in the Local Finder results.  The results were reached after clicking “More places” from a local three-pack in the main Google search results.

The inclusion of these ads in the Local Finder could be a good thing for retailers and services providers if they aren’t featured in the local three-pack.  The ads are a new way of getting to the top of the results if users click through to see more listings.  Of course, this means more organic listing being infested with advertising as well

The ads found within the Local Finder will rely on AdWords location extension, just like Google Maps.  But, unlike the results you’d get in Maps, advertisers featured in the Local Finder results don’t get a pin on the map results.

The only thing said about any further details by a Google spokesperson was, We’re always testing out new formats for local businesses, but don’t have any additional details to share for now.”

The next topic to mention is the fact that Google Maps is not considered a Search Partner anymore.

It was announced by the company that Google will only be showing ads that include location extensions in Maps.  Basically, regular text ads aren’t going to be featured anymore.  Also, as mentioned above, Google Maps isn’t considered to be part of Search Partners.  Advertisers have already been alerted of this change.  Maps has even been removed from the list of Google sites included in Search Partners in the AdWords help pages.

The change in Maps’ status means:

  • Advertisers that use location extensions but had opted out of Search Partners will now be able to have their ads shown in Maps and may see an increase in impressions and clicks as their ads start showing there.
  • Advertisers that don’t use location extensions but were opted into Search Partners could see a drop in impressions and clicks with ads no longer showing in Maps.

So what does this mean?  Basically, including Maps as part of the Google search inventory means that more advertisers are going to be included in Maps ad auctions.

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