It’s long been the burden of small businesses to find a way through the fog of the internet to their customers, to do their best with what they have and raise their voices above the cacophony of others singing for the user’s attention.
Digital marketing is like tuning your instrument, allowing it to project louder and more sweetly than any other in the orchestra. However, most smaller businesses simply don’t have the budget at their disposal to play louder or to fine-tune. Publishing a local business profile is one of the ways small businesses join the fray, adding their voices to the symphony of search-and-find that is business on the Internet.
But what happens when the Conductor starts doing their own thing? What happens when Google starts testing a “pilot program” that puts third party ads Photo Editing Services on small businesses’ business listings?
What is Google doing?
As Google is wont to do, the company is running tests on features we may see in the future. One of those tests has caused some alarm among SEO professionals and small businesses alike: Google is testing ads on local business profiles.
If you’re experiencing some déjà vu, then you’ve got a good memory! Google has been conducting tests like this since 2017, when they began trialling ads that could appear on a business rival’s GMB listing as part of the Local Campaigns feature.
Google came back in 2019 with another trial of the same feature, using Local Campaigns as the ads’ vehicle and utilising the real estate offered by GMB listings to host competitor ads. They also came out with a survey that asked whether business owners would like to get leads from competitor profiles, and if they would like a feature that removed ads from their busines listings (ala Yelp).