Paid Ads in Local Search Results

The News

In July 2016 I wrote about Google beginning to allow the inclusion of Ads in the local map results. Well it appears that day has finally come. Google is now allowing paid search ads in the local search map results. This means advertisers can place their own ads at the top of the map pack, giving them a decided advantage.

What it looks like:

The local map pack is the small map and listing of companies that appears, generally, at the top of the search results. Up until recently this consisted of 3 organic listings – primarily ranked by proximity to the searcher. With the inclusion of an advertiser at the top of the page this 3 pack has been expanded to a 4 pack. It is unclear yet if Google will allow multiple Ads in this location or limit to 1 paid placement per result.

Google is consistently changing the way these maps are displayed. To see how it has changed over the years see our article highlighting the significant changes from 2004 – 2016

Google Ads displaying in local search results

How is it done?

The placement of these ads is done automatically by Google. As an advertiser you can become eligible for these types of ads by adding location extensions to your Google Adwords account. Extensions are essentially additional information you provide to Google and ask them to display alongside your ads. One type of these extensions is a location extension, others include call extensions, callouts, and sitelink extensions.

The location extension requires linking your Google Adwords with your Google My Business (GMB) listing. This GMB listing is how you manage your map listing. If you create a location extension your ads are then eligible to show up in the local map search results.

These ads will not cost any more than a regular Google ad, however have a much more prominent position. A better position means higher click through rates, which leads to more traffic, and hopefully more leads. Is this little feature going to completely change your entire campaign? Not likely, however it is another piece of the puzzle that if used correctly can lead to better engagement and a stronger ROI.


Looking for help creating a Google Adwords campaign? Contact us – we would be thrilled to share our experience with you!

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