A post yesterday at Search Engine Land, revealed that Google is testing ads in the Local Finder. While the local three pack is not being testing, local ads are now showing in the Local Finder results when you click on “more places” under the top three listings. These paid listings are being shown with the updated green ad logo.
From my understanding the ads are part of Adwords campaigns that have location extensions turned on. (If you are not using location extensions now you should start today!)
Three Pack Punch?
This should not come as a surprise to anyone, but shows the direction that Google is going with the local three pack. At the end of the day, for better or for worse, Google is a for profit company that has investors looking for growth and more revenue. Love it or hate it, they are constantly trying to make the search results more user friendly, and also more profitable.
With such a focus over the past few years in local search, it comes to no surprise that they will want to start monetizing the local three pack.
There isn’t much to do or even worry about at this time. Google constantly is testing and trying new ways to make the search results more relevant and increase revenues.
If anything thing this should be a signal to where Google is heading with local search. Moving forward, I see further tests happening and new ways to promote your business either organically or via some sort of paid listing. If you stay the course and continue with best practices, you will continue to see results from your efforts.
Internet marketing is always changing and as things change be prepared to change with them. The best way to prepare is to continue to watch the latest news and developments in the search engine landscape.