Google has been shifting the game more and more away from organic traffic to paid advertising in an effort to increase revenues. There latest move has local marketers and business in a uproar. Google introduced the 10 pack maps back in April 2009 and then moved to a local 7 pack form their recently the went to what marketers called the snack pack which was 3 local listings. Google recently announce a 2 local listing with an extra paid spot. Google seems to have given up on delivering user experience and moved on just to become a paid advertiser.
What does this mean to you as a small business ? It means if you want to continue to survive you need a plan! You may need to hire someone who knows maps and get you there and you may need to pay for that spot as well. think of it as a opportunity to own 2 top spots and rake in the calls and traffic.
From Article :
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.
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