This is just a quick report to help make you aware of the Google changes on the horizon, if you are a home service provider. And who knows what other licensed service providers this will roll out for next. I am not going to spin the news right here and now, so to get the details see these two articles on Search Engine Land’s website:
- Google To Launch Search Service To Connect Searchers To Home Service Providers
- Google Home Services Ads For Locksmiths, Plumbers Hit San Francisco Market
If you Google “San Francisco Plumber” you will see an example for this new Google offering being beta tested, or you can try using this link: https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=san%20francisco%20plumber
Below Are My Preliminary Observations as an SEO
I only see the beta results on my laptop. Right now the results on my iPhone are the same results we are used to seeing. But, on my desktop there are no local map listings showing for any combo of search you do related to plumber with San Francisco? I’m not saying local listings are going away, but that I hope they aren’t. I know it’s just in the beta testing mode, so who knows but Google?
Many people don’t click on paid ads because they know they cost the companies money, or they just don’t trust them, but for whatever reason Google knows this. It appears to me as if Google might be doing this partially as a way to encourage higher click through rates on paid ads, thus increasing their revenue by styling them to look like map lisitngs. I heard a rumor two or three years ago from an ex-Google employee, who said they were eventually going to start charging for the first spot map positions exactly because of how many click throughs they get. Maybe this is what they came up with instead?
Notice it only says sponsored at the very top and not next to each paid ad like usual (see Dallas Plumber search results for comparison on a desktop). And they do look just like local listings for the most part to the untrained observer. Most people would not know any better. It’s hard to believe there will be both this style of paid ads and map listings together on the left hand side of the results page, and there sure aren’t any together in the beta testing examples, which I find odd. If they are keeping them why not include them in the beta test?
At any rate, I just felt like sharing my initial knee jerk reactions, right or wrong. Maybe this is the real reason they went to a 3 pack recently instead of a 7 pack.