Is Google Testing New Ad Unit Tied To Place Pages?

There was intrigue and some interesting discussion last weekend around the question of whether Google was actually indexing its newly launched Place Pages despite a statement that it would not. It appeared that there was some inadvertent or “unintended” indexing that apparently went on. However, today a new wrinkle: we were notified by David Naffziger that Google appeared to be testing some new ad units tied to Place Pages. Naffziger says on his blog:

We’ve found a number of Google Places advertisements appearing on searches for ‘Brand + Product Category’ and include a link to a competitive local retailer. The advertisements represent an entirely new AdWords unit that we hadn’t seen before and seem to be designed specifically for Google Places.

He provides a number of screen captures:

Picture 226

I was not able to recreate or find the ads. Presumably each of the business names links to the corresponding Place Page for that business.

Naffziger says the test appears to be limited to the San Francisco area. And he also speculates that these “ads” are only being created for local businesses that have LBC accounts. The question was asked, Why would Google be promoting these pages via ads when it said it wasn’t going to index them in organic results? But perhaps an explanation lies in the idea that Google is testing automated ad creation on behalf of SMBs with Place Pages as the landing pages.

There should be some very interesting discussion next week at SMX around Place Pages and how Google intends to use them.

Related Topics: Channel: Local | Google: Maps & Local | Google: Place Pages


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • Tim Cohn

    That is a provocative suggestion Greg.

    If Google is, couldn’t they also put some more resources into addressing the overall functionality of the Local Business Center too?

  • davenaff


    Thanks for the mention. You can view the Google Places ads by using the AdWords preview tool (a lot cheaper than a flight to SF =):

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