What You Should Know About the Local Ads Coming to Service Industries
As Google adapts to allow for better integration and more interaction on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), marketers are finding themselves trying to create new and effective search engine marketing (SEM) strategies, while also trying to stay competitive in organic search rankings. The new local service ads feature on Google is another aspect of the search engine that forces marketers to maintain this balance.
What are Local Service Ads?
Local services ads are located at the top of the search page. A user can enter any service they need into the query and Google presents them with multiple businesses in that service industry that are located near them in their search. In each listing, users can find the business’s name, phone number, reviews, photos, and other relevant information that is typically found in a Google My Business profile. Users can also click on a link that will generate more listings than just the top three. These ads are extremely interactive and provide features such as showing how many people in the area have used that service, communicating with other users in the reviews section, and displaying the exact jobs the service can provide. All these features, and more, are now available without the user ever having to leave the SERP.
To achieve these top three spots, businesses can bid on keywords relevant to their industry that will trigger their ads to be placed. However, no matter what is bid on these keywords, a business must pass through Google’s screening process to be applicable for a local service ad.
Once the verification process is complete, the business will acquire a “Google Guaranteed” check on their local service ad. This guarantee allows a user who is not satisfied with a business’ quality of work to file a claim with Google and potentially receive compensation for up to the amount on the invoice of the job.
Below is an example of what the user may see if they were looking for a plumber in their area.
How does this Change the Online Marketing Landscape on Google?
These local service ads create many new opportunities for marketers and service companies to get in front of a more targeted audience. Specifically, businesses that have high review ratings and a more established brand in their local communities may be able to benefit greatly from these new service ads.
However, it is important to recognize that this new feature comes at a price. These paid service ads are essentially pushing down organic and local listings, thereby decreasing their overall visibility. This means that companies who are looking to stay on top of SEM strategies need to be aware of how these new implementations from Google impact each corner of the SEO world.
As Google offers more features that prime businesses to pay for their position on results pages, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to get organic visibility. Indeed, this latest feature will continue to roll out in more locations and in a wider variety of service industries in the coming months. Therefore, while it may not impact your specific industry now, there is a good chance it will in the coming months. As a result, marketers and other businesses might have to find more room in their budgets and more avenues for potential SEM and SEO opportunities to stay competitive in the ever-growing paid ads world.