How Can Google Improve? Local Execs Comment

We all live in Google’s world now. Nobody would dispute that there are many positives associated with that. But how do industry practitioners really feel about it. Can it be improved? We asked three executives who cover different parts of the local ecosystem, promising them anonymity.

An aggregator said he thinks he should be treated as more of a partner. “Aggregators/intermediaries are treated with a broad brush, assumed to be link farms/inefficient nuisances, and essentially outcast,” he complained.

“In the business of local, the aggregation of advertisers and/or of content with valuable ad products and/or user utility can be very appealing to consumers and to local merchants. This dimension of innovation is being penalized by Google’s approach to search, and there are no partnership formulas that align with this.”

On the other hand, an SEM exec said that Google is “heading in the right direction” with its local products, especially Google Maps. But “the results are often not as relevant as their organic results. I believe they are getting traction simply because they are forcing users to go there by adding the 10-pack pack at the top of the SERP (Search Engine Results Page).”

More importantly, Google Local’s volume isn’t high enough. “From a monetization standpoint, we would like to spend more money on Local Business Ads (ads on maps) – but the volume does not seem to be there – at least like it is compared to regular ads displayed on the organic results pages.

“What Google could do to help us and other local marketers is to allow us to differentiate on clicks between regular organic results (below the map) and clicks to links displayed in the 10 pack,” he added. “Currently, they look the same from a tracking standpoint.”

Meanwhile, a Yellow Pages executive said he isn’t very interested in selling for Google. “Why on earth would anyone be a reseller for Google Local – it isn’t economically feasible,” he said. “They don’t provide discounts to resellers, volume benefits, or royalties to sellers, who may buy directly from Google after the initial sale.”