Last month, Google reformatted its results page for mobile devices. The search engine will begin to show up to four ads on location-related searches.

These location-related search queries contain words like “nearby” or “near me” or “closest.” The results will be grouped together in what Google is calling a “Nearby businesses” pack.

For example, here’s a search for “nearby auto repair”:
local-searches-3

As shown above, the ads will include two links, located on the right side of the screen:

  • Directions
  • Click-to-call

Google also announced that advertisers must enable the “location extensions” setting in their AdWords accounts to have their ads shown in the “Nearby businesses” spot on the results page.

What does this change mean for search engine marketers and small businesses on the web?

  • The web is on-the-go. Google’s most recent data show that location-related searches have doubled in the past year and that more than 80% of these come from mobile devices.
  • Google aims at giving its users the best overall experience, so you may notice that “nearby” and “near me” will start popping up in Google’s auto-suggest function on your phone.
  • Perhaps most importantly, this new formatting is likely to position the “Nearby businesses” ads ABOVE the traditional (organic) text ads.
  • Because searchers typically click on the highest-ranked, most-relevant result, this change could affect the amount of traffic (and, therefore, leads, conversions, and profit) that comes to your site.

The rules have changed, but our 15+ years of experience on the web has helped us develop a dynamic set of best practices in order to help our clients weather the turbulence on the web.

Should your business invest in a pay-per-click advertising campaign in order to focus on local and on-the-go searchers? Does your search engine marketing firm have the track record that we have? What happens when Google changes the rules again, as they inevitably will?

We want to help you get ahead of your competitors. We want to help you connect smarter™. Contact us today.