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When Google Instant was launched, many pundits posted theories on the impact Instant would have on Paid Search.

In Our post on Sept 9th: Google Instant, What does it Mean to a Car Dealer? we explained that the immediate impact was a reduced amount of real estate on page 1 for local searches. Organic ads were being pushed down in favor of the local and paid options. Instant seemed to provide an opportunity for Google to make more money – Paid search is 99% of their revenue and they’re in the process of learning how to monetize local, so why not expose the searcher to more local and paid links?

In fact, it has been reported that clicks on paid links have increased 5% since the launch of Instant, meaning more cash in the bank for Google.

On October 28, 2010, a new Google Places display was launched, drastically changing the way we view the “Google 7-Pack.”

The screenshot below is taken from the same search used in our exploration of Google Instant on Sept. 9th. This time, I used the full capability of my secondary monitor resolution – 1400 x 900:

Interesting Notes:

  1. It appears that Google is still allowing 7 local results. This search only produced 5, but testing on other local searches produces a total of 7.

  2. Pixel PriorityTotal # of Organic links available for this search? 4
    • Google Suggestion box: 125 pixels
    • New Google Places listing: 130 pixels
    • Organic Ad: 75 pixels

  3. The local map is driving down paid listings on the right hand side of the page.Reviews and Ratings are now more visible than ever. If you aren’t already, it’s time to manage your reputation and be proactive in driving positive reviews to active sites in your region.
    • This is a good sign as they have chosen to prioritize the local searcher’s needs over their potential financial gain. That being said,
      Google has made progress toward monetizing local already with Google
      Tags. Not a perfect system by any means, however it’s a step toward
      making local a real profit center. I think of tags as being a relative
      of eBay listing enhancements. A little extra cash gets you some visual
      differentiation.

Keep an eye on changing priorities; whether or not an advertiser agrees with the decisions Google makes about the structure of the search page, Google does determine where the advertiser needs to focus to maintain contact with their customers or potential customers.

Important: It seems there is still some testing going on over at Google. We have been running searches all day on different machines and have seen varying results. Some without Local results at
all. Some even using the old format. A screenshot of the same search in a separate browsers on the same machine is below:

Most certainly your results will vary as ours did. Hold onto your hats, the engineers are hard at work in Mountain View.

Follow Matt on Twitter @Matt_Murray


Original Post: Google Heightens the Space Race

Views: 42

Tags: Automotive, Google, Media, Places, SEM, SEO, Search, Social, Traffic

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Comment by Ralph Paglia on January 8, 2013 at 9:07am

Matt, in hindsight, more than two years later, your article was a harbinger of many changes to come, which happened and as it turned out, your guidance was right then, and right now.

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