Earlier this year, Google announced that it would start displaying paid ads within the neighborhood search pack results throughout the SMX Advanced Local Workshop.
We have since begun to find that shift ‘in the wild’ as Google rolls out an evaluation phase, and it’s already having an impact on the organic visibility of companies inside the SERPs, both on mobile and desktop.
It’s a move that seemingly reflects Google’s taste for paid content above free, organic content throughout the board; in achange earlier in the year, AdWords search system ads began taking the best four SERPs rankings (despite being removed from the sidebar), pushing organic results further farther down the page.
Social reach was jeopardized by paid advertising constraints for a little while now, with marketers finding they have to pay to receive their articles to reach audiences they could previously have attained organically.
Savvy marketers are spotting the potential opportunities and pitfalls of the movement. On the flip side, it’s a change that could be seen to threaten the natural SERPs by shoving them farther below the fold (particularly pertinent on cellular).
On the flip side, it’s an opportunity for PPC managers to place their budget and skillset to creating a strong paid presence in the recently available spaces.
Here’s a roundup of what we know so far about the Neighborhood pack update, and how you can prepare to make the most of it:
What we know about local pack advertisements
Paid ads have been appearing in the neighborhood pack sinceGoogle announced the changes at SMX in June within this testing phase, thoughGoogle has not officially announced the specifics of the change or when they’ll come into full effect.
The paid advertisements now appear on peak of the local pack, but I would not be surprised if we saw more of the local bunch positions taken by paid ads in the future.
There were tips that paid ads could replace local pack advertisements, however the screenshot below from ancient August clearly reveals one paid ad above three organic outcomes.
In terms of functionality, it’s still unclear if the local ads will have another bid alternative to normal search, however it’s likely that it will fall to the cell bid alteration.
The switch will probably be noticeable within mobile SERPs due to the fact that there’ll be more competition for the smaller display space on a mobile device, compared to desktop.
Planning for paid ads from the local pack
For better insight, I asked one of our older search engine optimization executives CharlieNorledgeto give his take on how this could impact local search marketing.
“Google’s relocation tomonetisethe first positions in the neighborhood pack is a challenge for SEOs and those businesses with no paid advertisements budget.With the top place taken, the rest of the space for organic results is limited, making it more competitive to position on page one, as well as impossible on some mobile devices where the organic results will probably be pushed way down the screen,” he explained.
“This newest upgrade follows the trend of Google’s ever-growing encouragement for companies to choose the paid path, a travel that has also included the movement of paid ads from the side of the SERPs towards the top, and a rise of three observable advertisements to four before this season.
To date, Google hasn’t formally advised paid advertisers on how to make the most of the new local pack advertisements
“Organic results are already discovered halfway down the page and this change to the neighborhood pack will challenge businesses that are targeting a local market without a paid advertising plan in the exact same way,” Norledge added.
Paid advertisements and also the end user
What will be the effect of this change on the customers looking for a ‘java near me’ or ‘restaurant at Nottingham?’ . Maybe nota lot,really.
The end user will still be presented with an identical number of results in the local search pack, the only real difference is that one, or even more, has recognized as an advertisement.
Google’s strict quality guidelines ensure that the paid ads won’t own aspammyappearance, as well as paid ads and natural results appearing ever more comparable, the customer is unlikely to differentiate between the two at the SERPs point; they ought to just hope that the company paying for paid advertisements is paying for the best coffee beans!
The best way to prepare for local paid ads
Up to now, Google hasn’t formally advised paid advertisers about how to take advantage of their new neighborhood pack advertisements.
But we could forecast that the ads will use a combination of this keyword targeting in the account in addition to the Google My Business data that’s linked with the AdWords account.
If you are Considering how you can prepare your company to make the most of this new paid advertising spot, there are a few things you can do today:
- Ensure that yourown, or your customers’, local webpages are up to date and connected with an AdWords accounts
- Check that you, or your customers, are utilizing local SEO techniques to give the clearest signals to Google your company location, includingcitations and reviews, to Provide the best chance of rank in neighborhood SERPs
- Review your, or your customers’, paid advertising budget to make sure it is implemented intelligently using geo-targeting options – you need to be aiming for organic place three or over to be visible alongside a paid ad in a local pack and avoid being among the outcomes that is removed to make way for paid advertisements