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Understanding Google My Business & Local Search

Update: Boost Ad Buries A-Business Listing–> Not According to Google

Update Wednesday 8/17: Google checked into this situation and claims on the digital/computer science equivalent of a stack of bibles that this was just a coincidence. Here is the communication that was forwarded to me:

After looking into the customer’s situation, we can confirm that there is no connection between the AdWords Express ad being disapproved and his Places listing not appearing. There was a technical error that prevented the listing from appearing, but that issue was specific to Google Places. Participation in AdWords Express does not affect the ranking of free, organic business listings in any way.

More info on this can be found on the AdWords Express help center article: Does AdWords Express affect my website’s organic listing on Google?

The recently named Boost Adwords Express has more than a few oddities that might not make it the ideal SMB advertising tool. But this one is a show stopper: If business places an Adwords Express ad for a category for which they have a A position, their natural A position local listing will be removed from the main search results 7-Pack.

Last week Local SEO David Mihm sent me this note:

“I had an interesting prospective client email. His Place Page was not showing ANYWHERE when I first looked at some prominent keywords for his business. The client swore he was ranking #1 for a couple of key phrases prior to emailing me. He had been advertising on Adwords Express. He shut it off and IMMEDIATELY it went back to letter A for a generic phrase when I checked again.”

My Google local adwords rep called me later in the week and, in a totally unrelated context, said:

“If they are in the top position of Places – an Adwords Express Ad will cause the Places listing to not show”

He went on to sensibly recommend that a business NOT use a category from their Places page for which they were doing well and to use one of the other categories. Makes sense.

It has long been thought that taking out an Adwords campaign would not affect your ranking on Google search. In fact we have long been under the impression that there was a firewall of sort between the two results. This clearly calls that long held belief into question, at least in the Local space.