Until the invention of the Local Business Listings Google had two sets of results, AdWords and natural. Placing some ads around the natural listings was a perfectly acceptable thing to do but Google is limited by the number of ads they can show due to the size of the page. Adding 4 or 5 ads at the top simply wasn’t going to help the user experience.
Fast forward a few years and Google invented the Local Business Listings and suddenly started displaying them for one in every 13 searches (and virtually all the time for geographical searches).
This is probably the cleverest move by Google since the launch of AdWords 10 years ago because it gives Google a 2nd area of the page to fill with ads and a huge ready made inventory of impressions and advertisers – in any competitive industry every single result in the Local Business Listings will become “enhanced” overnight.
Google has always been very much against having paid listings within the natural results but it seems that they are more than happy to have paid listings appearing within the Local Business Listings and on the listing pages.
The introduction and subsequent monetising of the Local Business listings is one of the cleverest online advertising moves of the last five years. Nothing will top Facebook Ads which allow advertisers to pay to drive traffic from one Facebook page to another but this comes a close second.
Below are some more details from Google about the program:
What are the benefits?
- You can easily and inexpensively highlight your listing on Google Maps and Google.com from the Local Business Center.
- Potential customers in your local area will see what you think is most important or unique about your business.
- You can track the effectiveness of your enhancement with your Local Business Center dashboard.
- You will be charged a low $25 flat monthly fee, with no bids and no keywords required.
- There is no additional work or ongoing management needed.
- What enhancements can I use?
- You can decide what type of enhancement you’d like to show with your business listing. You can only pick one at a time, but you can change or remove the enhancement whenever you’d like.
You can select any of the following enhancements:
- Website for your business.
- Photos of your business.
- Videos of your business.
- Coupons for your listing.
- Menu for your restaurant.
- Reservations page for your business.
- Driving directions to your business.