Local Finder Blurs the Line Between Paid and Organic

What Is Local Finder and What Does It Mean For My Business?

When searching for a local business or service on Google a map pops up with what’s known as the three-pack. The three-pack is elusive and exclusive.

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But like most Google users, I will never be satisfied with just three options, so I inevitably click into More Places.

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Here I can scroll and search through various shops to my heart’s content until I find something that speaks to me. Often I’ll look for a name that sounds familiar or is closer to my home. Say I’m looking for a dentist, I would keep scrolling until I found something with hours suitable to my schedule, within a reasonable distance, and good reviews.

This all sounds good and well, but the search process I just described, which relies solely on organic search content, is a thing of the past. Now, once you click into More Places, advertisements will replace the top few suggestions. Paid search now trumps organic results and gives the savvy businessman a leg up.

What’s New?

So what’s caused this shift of epic proportions? Google Maps has transitioned to an integral part of Adwords Google Search. This now means that ads that feature a location extension can benefit from this prime real estate. A well-targeted ad can now beat out any competitors’ organic search results.

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What Does This Mean?

This change has two major implications for people using Google AdWords:

  1. Advertisers who use location extensions but don’t use search partners will likely see an increase in both impressions and clicks.
  2. Advertisers doing the inverse, using search partners and not location extensions, will likely see a decrease in impressions and clicks.

Search Partners refer to the sites within the Google network that partner with Google to show various ads, this includes sites like ask.com, aol.com, and CNN.com. Search partners are constantly changing and shifting.

Basically, if you’re doing a good job with your Adwords account you should already be using BOTH location extensions and search partners. This new feature will likely lower the clicks that inexperienced Adwords account users receive and increase those of the experienced.

So what does this mean for the big picture?

Google is shifting to include and seamlessly integrate more and more paid advertising in with organic search results and blend the two. For people who are actively marketing on Google, this is great news. It’s getting easier and easier to get your ads out there and seen by the right people. But Google is making it abundantly clear that just implementing SEO and organic marketing is not going be enough for your digital marketing mix.

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What’s Next?

With these changing times this leads us to ask, what should we be doing to capitalize on this shift? Well, opening an account for Google AdWords is step 1. But just doing this is not enough. It is important to have your AdWords campaign managed effectively and integrated with your Google places account and location extension. So far we’ve seen some businesses able to take the first paid spot and show up just below organically, which means if you’re on top of your marketing game with a blend of both paid search and SEO.

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As Google continues to blend the worlds of paid and organic search it will become more and more difficult for consumers to avoid paid search and Google AdWords strategies to capture necessary traffic.