Google Makes Two Ad Updates That Affect Local Search

Google is constantly updating its search algorithm to deliver more relevant results.

This is nothing new of course as the company is actually said to change its ranking algorithm hundreds of times per year. The same amount of effort is also directed to the AdWords platform as Google wants to ensure that its users are finding relevant offers in the search results, and not links to spam or potentially dangerous sites. The search giant recently made several changes that directly affect local search advertisers that market on AdWords.

Here we take a closer look at what these changes are and what they mean for your business.

Ads Now Display in Local Finder Results

Conduct a local search and you will see the following “local search pack” below the ads:


Clicking on “More places” displays even more results that you can scroll through and click for additional information. A change that Google recently made is that ads are now displayed at the top whereas previously there were only listings displayed:

This new addition represents yet another opportunity for local retailers and service providers to rank if users click through to see more local listings. The ads on this page rely on AdWords location extensions similar to Google Maps. However, one notable difference is that featured ads in the Local Finder results do not get a pin on Maps.

Google is constantly testing new ad formats so changes are rarely permanent. But ads in the Local Finder page is another opportunity for local businesses to reach more customers.

Google Maps No Longer a Search Partner

Another important change that was made is that Google Maps is now officially part of the Search Network rather than Search Partners. Only ads that have the location extension enabled will be eligible to show in Maps.

This new update to Google Maps means:

  • Advertisers that use location extensions will be able to have their ads displayed in Maps and may see an increase in impressions and clicks as a result.
  • Advertisers who display ads on Google Maps through Search Partners but do not have location extensions enabled will likely see a decrease in traffic.

This move to include Maps as part of the Search Network will undoubtedly result in an uptick in ads on the maps platform. The easiest way to take advantage of this change is to enable location extensions on your ads.