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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Doing the Bump with Google Places

Google continues its shift of their results pages. The newest culprit doesn't affect the natural search listings, per se, but mostly affects the paid, right column, ads.

Google Places is the latest addition to the Google Search Results page. The idea behind this is to free up some space on the natural search listings (center column) by simply tagging the locations in the center and having a map off to the right ABOVE the paid ads. So while this allows more room for those websites that are occurring naturally it is decreasing the visibility of those who are paying for attention for those results.

Most of you can see why this would be detrimental to pay-per-click marketers, but let me spell it out for those who don't see it:

1) Competition for local results now not only includes other businesses but Google's map which takes up 2-3 possible positions.
2) In order to be seen in these results you are now bidding at a much higher rate than before just to be seen.
3) Justifying the expense for pay-per-click ads will be a tad more difficult because the ROI that you had been optimizing for before Google Places no longer applies unless you were already in the #1 position which now is technically the #3 or #4 position.
4) UPDATED PORTION: The map box that takes up a good portion of the right column also scrolls down with you thus completely eliminating a top right column search ad position. All ads disappear behind the map box.

Marketers threw their hands in the air in disgust when Google first tested this out several months ago, now that it is common place, I foresee the same backlash on its way.

That's my opinion, you don't like it, let me know about!

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