Google Local listings continue to be a popular advertising option for small businesses because they’re a more cost-effective alternative to PPC advertising.
As a result of this popularity, Google have introduced the ability to enhance your listings so you can stand out from the crowd.
Called enhanced listings, business owners can pay an additional $25 per month to enhance their presence on the map or in the map-related listings on the SERP.
Here’s how Google describes the value to local business owners:
When you add an enhancement to your listing, you can highlight what you most want your customers to see.
For example, you can add a coupon for new customers, highlight a video overview of your store, or even link to your menu. You decide what what’s most important about your business and make sure it stands out.
There are seven types of enhancements to choose to add to the listing, including:
The example below shows how photos are being used to enhance the listing of a Golf Club in San Jose, CA. The photo icon and link appears in both the map and the listing itself.
I can see these new features being quickly adopted by small business. $25 is a small price to pay to stand out from the competition, especially if you’re in a very competitive industry. The coupons and reservation options will be especially useful for restaurants or cafes.
Because businesses need to pay for these enhancements, they would be classified as Google advertising. This got me thinking – will listings with enhancements be given a higher ranking than those without enhancements?
Greg Sterling at Search Engine Land spoke to Google about this:
Google assured me, again, that there’s no impact on rankings from this. But it’s the first time to my knowledge that ‘ads’ appear in the ‘7-Pack’.
I think this is something we will need to keep an eye on. The enhancements are only available to a select group on cities in the US, but if you wish to learn more, visit the Google Maps page here.