Tag : Search

Google Local Ads

What You Need to Know About Google Ads Coming to the “Local Pack”

We all know that mobile searches…well, mobile everything is certainly making waves, however, local searches are growing 50 percent faster than mobile searches overall.

Which is a really good development for small and local business. Whether you’re an eCommerce operation or you’re a brick & mortar business, local optimization can be crucial to your growth for the near future.

Important Local SEO review:

Now, why are we telling you this? Well, if you’re new to the local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) realm, having your business optimized on a local scale can mean more business faster & more easily than traditional SEO that may bring your consumers from all over who are searching for your terms or what your business does.

Since becoming a prominent marketing strategy, Local optimization has become extremely competitive.

For example, when a consumer would search for a product or service, but inserted a geo-tag along with the rest of the search, Google’s algorithm would see that as you trying to find goods and services closest to you and therefore, you were scouring the local market closest to you that would be able to facilitate your need on a local scale.

Now that we think about it, who wouldn’t want to search for their desired outcome locally, right? It just makes sense.

Well, Google thought so as well. So, after adding the geo-tag, Google would bring up what they called the “7-Pack” into your search results, where you would have the top 7 LOCAL goods or service providers to fulfill your need. Sounds amazing, right? By just being semi-locally optimized, you may¬†only have to compete with 6 other local providers for that sale. You’re probably thinking, that’s a heck of a lot easier than on a national scale (as with some traditional SEO strategies).

Google 3-Pack Ads

 

As we all know Google wants to make life as easy as possible for the consumer, however, they also cut local businesses a break to! When conducting a local search, consumers would be supplied with only 3 search results now or the “3-Pack.” Sounds even too good to be true to local businesses, right? In a sense, yes, however, now Google is saying that you must be as locally optimized possible for us to place you in the “3-Pack” of local search.

So, the local optimization craze was boosted even further, however, recently, there has been a HUGE change…

Google Ads to Local Pack

On June 21st, at the SMX Advanced Local Workshop, Google confirmed that ads are coming to the Local Pack. The timing and precise appearance/placement are to be determined.

During the pre-conference Workshop, Google’s Global Product Lead for Local Ads, Ali Turhan, discussed some of the new AdWords features as they pertain to local. Among them, he showed a screen shot (below), which Joy Hawkins tweeted, but which is not officially authorized for distribution at this point.

First Look At Google Ads to 3-Pack

The image (above) showed a smartphone featuring a local 3-pack. The top listing was an ad, followed by two organic listings. Turhan said that this had been shown at Google’s Performance Summit in San Francisco several weeks ago. However, the announcement had not been part of any of the keynotes.

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.

For the top Local Pack listing to be an ad is obviously a major development, especially in a local-mobile search context.

Google has experimented with ads in Google Maps off and on for years. But in the “mobile first” era, it’s getting much more serious about ads on Maps.

Among a number of announcements coming out of Google’s Performance Summit today, the company is introducing the “next generation of local search ads” on Google and Google Maps (apps and mobile web). The company is also bringing what it calls more “branded and customized experiences” for marketers to Google Maps.

Recently, it began showing ads in the Local Finder. Now, the company is introducing “promoted pins” or “promoted locations” on Maps (below). Users will see branded pins along their route or nearby. It’s worth noting that Mapquest has done this for quite a few years.

Google's Promoted Pins

Marketers will need to use location extensions to appear in promoted pins. Google also says it’s still testing and experimenting with formats, so we’re likely to see an evolution of this over time.

New-look local pages will also offer new features and customization.

Businesses will be able to include a range of content types, as appropriate to their category.

  • For example, retailers can include local product inventory (provided they have an inventory feed going to Google). Marketers can also include promotions and discounts to encourage store visits.

Indeed, the purpose of these ads is to drive offline foot traffic and conversions, which Google says are outpacing e-commerce transactions for many marketers. To capture and illustrate that phenomenon, Google discussed its AdWords Store Visits, which has to date only been available to large brands and retailers. The company says that it has “measured over 1 billion store visits globally” in the two years since the introduction of Store Visits.

During the Performance Summit, Google’s AdWords VP, Jerry Dischler, indicated that the company was seeking to greatly expand availability of Store Visits data, including to small businesses over time. He said, however, that was a more challenging proposition and probably would require a “hardware solution” (e.g., beacons) because of challenges with accuracy and scale.

It’s very much in Google’s interest to make online-to-offline metrics available to as many marketers as possible. In a case study presented during a press briefing on Monday, Dischler said that Nissan in the UK found, though Store Visits, that “six percent of mobile ad clicks result in a trip to a dealership, delivering an estimated 25x return on investment.”

While Google has offered a wide range of different “local as a percent of overall mobile search” metrics in the past, the company said that local searches on mobile devices are growing 50 percent faster than mobile searches overall.

Organic Vs. Paid Traffic & Which Works Best

Is it better to use paid search (PPC) versus organic search marketing? Sounds like a simple question, but the answer is much more complex. Both methods have specific benefits and drawbacks. Let’s discuss some major differences and consider the best approach.

Organic vs. Paid traffic Image
According to ComScore, search engine users conducted 18.6 billion explicit core searches in April 2014. That number excluded searches without specific intent to interact with the search results. The search engine result pages (SERPs) likely provided a mix of both organic and paid rankings.

Both organic and paid (PPC) have distinct advantages and drawbacks. Knowing them will allow you to get the best return for your search marketing dollars. As you will see, combining them will often result in a better click-through rate (CTR).

Paid vs Organic Search

Organic Search: Organic search results are the listings of Web pages returned by the search engine’s algorithms that closely match the search string of keywords. Marketers use SEO and content assets to get high search engine rankings. That’s because the advantages of organic search are dependent on visibility.

Organic Search Benefits:
Trust and credibility: With high search engine rankings comes a perception of credibility on the part of searchers. High search rankings imply industry authority and leadership. This perception translates into more trust and a greater likelihood to click-through to the site.
Evergreen: If the content that ranks high is evergreen, then the rankings will also have a more evergreen presence. The specific listing may rank high long after the content was created.

Ranking: Once you get high rankings, it’s easier to keep those rankings. You get authority status and build the trust of users and search engines.
Click through rates: For “top of funnel” search terms, I.e., don’t show immediate purchase intent, the click-through rates are better for organic search results. That’s very important for businesses that have a longer buying cycle.
Inbound marketing: An organic search strategy requires marketers to develop the content assets to achieve it. This is important for higher involvement purchases. Users interact with content as they move down the purchase funnel.

Organic Search Drawbacks:
Time: Depending on the competitiveness of the keywords involved, it may take months or years to get high rankings. Can you wait that long?

Resources: Getting high rankings requires both creating content and using SEO tactics to achieve it. That can be difficult, frustrating and time-consuming. Either internal staff or external contractors are needed for both these functions.

Paid Search (PPC): Paid search results are advertisements. The advantages and drawbacks of paid search are often the opposite of organic listings.

Paid Ads (PPC) Benefits:
Time: Unlike organic search rankings that can take months or years, paid results are placed at the top of rankings as soon as you pay for ad placement.
Targeting: PPC campaigns can be tailored to reach specific audiences. Examples of segmentation include geo-targeting, income, age, educational level, marital status, industry, etc.

Click through rates: Searches using terms that denote high purchase intent such as product or brand-specific keywords will get more clicks than organic results. The advantage of paid search can clearly be seen in the Internet retailers MarketLive Performance Index data. For the year 2013 as a whole, PPC accounted for 36.5 % of search traffic but an outsized 47.9 % of revenue from search.

Paid Ads (PPC) Drawbacks
Cost: The more competitive the keyword, the more the bid price is for each click on the displayed ad. Paid search requires a level of expertise to manage these campaigns. Otherwise a lot of money will be spent to attract unqualified traffic.
Momentary: The ads disappear as soon as you stop paying for them.
Distrust: Consumers don’t always trust paid ads and often avoid them. They place more trust in organic rankings.

Click through rate: Except for high purchase intent searches, users will click on paid search listings at a lower rate than organic search listings. Organic listings have more credibility with search engine users. Organic rankings will get more click-through rates for “top of funnel” keyword search queries.
For many businesses, the best approach is a mix of both organic and paid search results. The advantage of this approach is that organic rankings give a business credibility and evergreen search results.

Paid Vs Organic Search Rank

According to a Google study, paid search ads with an accompanying organic search result only occur 19 % of the time, on average. Nine percent of the time a search ad shows with an organic ad in the top rank. Google’s results showed that 50 % of ad clicks did not replace the clicks on the first organic search listing when the ads didn’t appear.

The Bottom Line

So, should you use paid search or organic search for your marketing? It depends. It depends on your marketing needs. It depends on which method gives you the best CTR or ROI. Whether paid or organic search is better depends on purchase intent displayed by the search query. What we do know is that “together is better.”.

Is it better to use paid search (PPC) versus organic search marketing? Organic Search: Organic search results are the listings of Web pages returned by the search engine’s algorithms that closely match the search string of keywords. Click through rate: Except for high purchase intent searches, users will click on paid search listings at a lower rate than organic search listings. According to a Google study, paid search ads with an accompanying organic search result only occur 19 % of the time, on average. Whether paid or organic search is better depends on purchase intent displayed by the search query.