Just a few weeks ago we mentioned that ads were starting to show up in local search within Google’s map listings. Then we could only speculate that similar ads were coming to the local pack for local searches.
Until Tuesday, when at a the Search Marketing Expo Ali Turhan, Google’s Product Lead for Local ads, showed a screen shot of a local search with an ad in the local pack. According to Search Engine Land:
Turhan, who did an extensive Q&A with the audience, explained that Google was still testing, and the ultimate result might be different from what he showed. Accordingly, it’s possible (though Turhan didn’t say this) that there might be a Local Pack ad and three organic listings. However, that wasn’t what the screen shot reflected.
From the screen shot, it looks like these ads are part of the Adwords Location Extension.
While this is not smoking gun, it does prove that Google is at least currently testing with the idea of ads in the local stack. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if this wasn’t rolled out to everyone by the end of the year.
In the mean time, I would highly recommend that everyone make sure that Local Extensions are turned on so that you are ready
if when Google rolls this feature out.