No. 926
February 2nd, 2011

The Return of Local Listing Ads (Kinda)

Remember Local Listing Ads?  You know, the ones Google released way back in October 2009 when lots of you were at SMX East?

Well, they’re back.  Only this time, they’re available through the ADWORDS interface rather than the Places interface.

Google just announced that something called “Location Extensions” are now going to have the same effect — a blue pushpin clearly labeled as a sponsored result, but one that shows up on the map of local businesses within Place Search also.

Clearly these are going to have the greatest effect for the businesses than can afford to get that #1 slot (or at least a slot above the 3/7/O-Pack), but it’ll be interesting to see whether clickthrough levels will also go up on the blue pushpins for advertisers who maintain their bids at positions further down the page.

Two of the things I said about LLA’s are still relevant 16 months on:

  • Internet Yellow Pages (and any businesses without a physical location) who tried to cope with the loss of traffic by buying more Adwords are now going to find it even more difficult to compete for Local searches.
  • The blue pushpin icons are sure to have a significant positive impact on clickthrough for the businesses advertising with LLA’s, taking traffic away from traditional Adwords (i.e. for non-brick-and-mortar businesses).

But, there’s one big difference:

  • LLA’s had easy-to-understand benefits and pricing.

These location extensions require an SMB to be a pretty savvy Adwords advertiser in order to get them to show up.  I’ll be interested to see whether Google re-releases these location extensions as a simple “one-click install” within the Places Dashboard soon.

My knee-jerk reaction is:

Jeez, one more product that small businesses have to keep up with.  Man, this space is exhausting!

What are your thoughts?