Expect to start seeing ads in the Google Local Pack! It’s not a matter of if, but when. Google has just confirmed the news at the SMX Advanced Local Workshop, according to Search Engine Land.
Some Background: The Local Pack is the set of three listings for nearby businesses that appear with a Google map on the search engine results page (SERP). These top three organic local results are considered highly coveted spots by businesses, which they can earn through hard work on their local search engine optimization (SEO).
The news of ads in the Local Pack immediately created buzz in the Internet marketing world. Marketers everywhere have been speculating about whether any of the 3 results will be used for an ad, thereby cutting the 3 local results down to just 2. (Google already slashed the local results from 7 listings down to 3 in 2015.)
One SMX workshop attendee posted an image from Google’s presentation, which showed an ad at the top of the Local Pack and two organic local listings below it (on a smartphone).
She also posted this on her Google+ page:
While many are concerned about possibly losing organic listings in the Local Pack, Google has not officially specified how the ads will look or where they will be placed, and Google has emphasized that it’s still in testing mode. Google also said that the image shared was not authorized for distribution.
With that being said, it’s probably too early to say whether we’ll actually be losing any organic listings or just getting an ad in addition to the current 3 organic results. We won’t know for sure until Google formally announces the final details!
To learn more about Google’s experimentation with local search ads, check out our recent post on the search engine’s testing with Local Finder ads. Keep reading our online marketing blog for more helpful news updates!