How Google Should Improve Local Listing Ads

The inspiration for this article emanates from emails and phone calls I have received from a few local businesses. They want to know how they can remove sponsored listing ads from their Google business listings (Google Place Pages).

While it may be wrong for Google to charge local businesses a fee to remove sponsored ads from their listings (a la Merchant Circle), common good business sense should compel Google to remove the ads from the business listing of any business subscribed to their new Local Listing Ads.

If you’re not familiar with Local Listing Ads, it is a new local online advertising service Google has currently rolled out to the markets of San Diego and San Francisco for testing:

google local listing ads How Google Should Improve Local Listing Ads

Local Listing Ads is a turnkey advertising solution for SMB’s that doesn’t have the risk of click fraud abuse that Google AdWords does. Last month David Mihm chronicled the highlights:

  • Only businesses with claimed LBC listings are eligible to participate.
  • The landing page MUST be the business’s LBC URL or its Place Page.
  • The ads are tied to ONE category selected as part of the claiming process. No keyword research on the part of the SMB is required.
  • Up to four LLA’s will appear either above or beside the real estate reserved for Local results in Universal (more on this below). These will be rotated, though Google would not get into specifics on the interaction between pricing and demand/saturation in a given market.
  • Some form of support (likely email) WILL be available to SMB’s who purchase these ads.
  • The product is currently in Beta in San Francisco and San Diego ONLY. At the moment, this is only an experiment Google has no definitive plans or timetable on if or when this might roll out elsewhere.

Mike Blumenthahal shares interface screenshots and updated details.

How Should Google Improve Local Listing Ads?

  1. As previously mentioned, I would like to see Google remove the sponsored listing ads from the business listings (Place Pages) of any business subscribed to the local advertising service.
  2. I think Google should continue to publish AdWords ads, but only displayed on the right sidebar to remove the clutter-ry feel if Local Listing Ads are present (as presented in the screenshot above).

The Local Listings Ads program will be immensely successful, even in smaller cities and frequently traveled towns. How do you think Google can improve Local Listing Ads?

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