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Google's local inventory ads have been available since 2015.
They are essentially Google Shopping Ads, in the search carousel, that show products stocked in nearby stores.
Clicking on an ad, users can view the product then visit the store website and, from mid 2016, have also been alerted to a click-and-collect option within the ad format.
We all know that Google Places listings are important because we use them in our everyday lives all the time.
50% of those using local search will visit the store within a day (and those are Google's 2014 figures).
So what can businesses do, very simply, to improve local search?
Search marketing evolves on a daily basis.
The constant introduction of new and innovative processes means that strategies can shift frequently as SEOs and marketers try to work out the best way to deal with new online environments.
From Google updates to advances in technology, the methods we use to measure the success of an SEO campaign, however, may not always be giving us the full picture.
The ever-increasing use of smartphones among consumers means that mobile and local search should be a high priority for marketers.
But what’s the current state of play and how will mobile search develop in future?
A friend of mine recently set up a business as a sports massage therapist and asked if I could give him some tips on digital marketing.
Aside from setting up social profiles and optimising his website, I suggested that one of the most important things he could do was to setup a Google+ business page.
His is obviously a small business and one that only operates in his local area, so would benefit hugely from having a decent presence in local search results.
Having imparted these brilliant words of wisdom it then struck me that my knowledge of Google+ Local is a bit shaky.
So, in honour of my good friend this blog post explains the reasons why every business should be on Google+ Local, and gives some advice on how to setup a page...
Local SEO is becoming one of the essential components to every business and brand that wants long-term success across search engines.
This comes from our latest Search Engine Optimisation Best Practice Guide, an in-depth report that’s invaluable for anybody working in digital marketing, looking to appoint an SEO agency, or simply trying to secure better search engine rankings.
Recently I covered some of the basic skills that all SEO beginners need to know however I didn’t include information on ‘local SEO’.
Here I’ll be rectifying that with a brief guide to what local SEO means and how you can use it to drive online searchers to your offline business.
Earlier this year, I was surprised to find this post on Indoor Google Maps was quite popular.
Maybe it was because lots of people weren’t aware of Indoor Google Maps. Maybe it was because we’re all quite nosy, fans of MTV Cribs and the old British favourite, Changing Rooms.
Well, I thought I’d collect some of the coolest examples of Google Business Photos, the indoor equivalent of Google Street View.
These are the weirdest, most wonderful and beautiful 360 degree interactive tours. They appear in Google searches, Google Maps, and Google+ Local.
Anyone can use Google Business Photos (and be successful with them) apart from legal establishments and museums (this imagery is supported through Google Art Project). Admittedly a few of my examples aren’t businesses.
Econsultancy London even got involved (though we’ve recently upped sticks).
So heck, why travel, why leave the house when you can experience all this from your desktop? Enjoy!
The growth and ubiquity of the smartphone means that local SEO is more important than ever, and some of the techniques for improving rankings are very simple, and free.
Our new Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Best Practice Guide contains detailed advice on improving your local search visibility.
Here are some dos and don'ts for local SEO, taken from the new guide...
With the growth of mobile, and the increasing use of local factors by Google in desktop searches, ranking for searches in their locality is ever more important for businesses.
This is something that can benefit businesses small and large, and some of the techniques for improving rankings are very simple, and cost nothing.
For example, just creating a Google + Local listing for your business will greatly improve your search visibility, especially if your local competitors haven't figured this out yet.
Here, I've outlined why local search is so important, and asked a couple of search experts for their tips...
At a time when plenty of major corporations are still struggling to come up with an effective mobile strategy it’s no surprise that small businesses may find the mobile space a bit daunting.
Where does a small business begin when embarking on a mobile strategy? Do they opt for an app or a mobile site? And how much does it all cost?
At Brighton SEO last week Distilled’s Bridget Randolph tried to answer all these questions and give small businesses a helping hand with their mobile strategies.
Mobile is often cited as the glue that holds together the multichannel experience as the technology is able to bridge the gap between in-store and online channels.
And it tends to be the retailers that were quick to embrace mobile technologies – such as local search or a mobile optimised site - that have continued to thrive and stay in tune with consumer behaviours.
For example, the new Econsultancy Multichannel Retail Survey shows that 44% of smartphone owners have used their mobile to find details about a retailer (e.g. nearest outlet or opening times), up from 32% in 2012.
But as we’ve previously seen, many businesses are failing to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the increase in mobile search.
Local search is becoming increasingly important as consumers look to find information about the products and services near to them.
For example, 81% of UK smartphone internet users have looked for local information with their devices, and these people are just as likely to purchase in your store as online.
There’s an extremely valuable amount of traffic available for local queries, so if you are a local business it becomes extremely important to deliver your messaging to these searchers.
Google has focused heavily on improving its local search results experience, and queries that trigger a local results page have increased in number, so that the location no longer needs to be part of the search query.
Google integrates data from Google+ to its map listings, so the easiest way to make sure your business is appearing on a map search is to ensure your Google+ business page is set up and using the correct address.
Here are five examples of PPC ads using location to enhance listings and (hopefully) increase CTR...