Just when you thought you had gotten used to recent changes at Google Local Business Center & maps, they throw a little bomb at you.
What you see below is an example of this bomb—a sponsored site creeping into what was formerly a space reserved for organic map results only.
Their intentions are clear—to draw in the $29 billion pool of small businesses that may feel overwhelmed and overbid in today’s online landscape by offering a $25/month enhanced listing that shows up with organic search results. People with a local business account can choose and alternate between seven ways to promote their enhanced listing: photos, videos, link to site, coupons, directions, menu and reservations.
The problem has always been how to tap into such a wide base of small businesses that historically doesn’t spend much money in online advertising while making it profitable. A problem companies like Dex and Yellow Pages continue to struggle with.
Google began cracking this shell last year by offering a way to measure the results of the Local Business Center, making it really easy for small businesses to see how many people are getting directions to their store, printing a coupon, or clicking through.
Right now this is only available in Houston and San Jose, but expect that this will grow as Google continues on its quest: “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
Click here to read the original New York Times article.