At a recent conference, Google unveiled plans to include a paid ad listing within the local listing results. After reducing the number of local results from 7 to 3, one of those results will now feature an ad. Google has not yet specified how it will determine this ad placement or how businesses can appear, but speculation includes management that’s tied in with Google Adwords campaigns.
With huge numbers of leads coming from these local results, it’s no surprise that Google has its sights on monetizing this traffic. With the placement of a paid spot among these listings, prudent businesses may be able to take advantage of that traffic as well.
Local Listing Rankings
While Google hasn’t revealed the exact factors that it uses to determine rankings, we do know that businesses have been encouraged to take steps such as ensuring that directory listings are uniform and updated. Other factors that may have an influence include distance to a searcher, reviews, and how well a business is recognized. Google is assuming that when a visitor searches for a business, they want something close to them and trustworthy. As more and more traffic moves to local results, the three available spots have become even more sought after, and replacing one of these coveted slots with an ad is likely to make good ranking signals even more crucial.
This announcement could carry a range of possibilities for businesses, as it could mean anything from Google removing one of the organic ad spots to opening up bidding for this position. Unlike tentative testing that’s taken place over the past few months, however, this announcement was public, so these changes could be in effect very soon.