Google claim over 20% of searches have a local intent and now they are rolling out changes globally which will push down paid search ads in favour of a map that pin points all the local organic results:
Before the map appeared at the top of organic results but it has now shifted to the right for anything Google deems local, perhaps even ‘museum’. The organic results even include images. This is being rolled out globally this week but in the meantime, you can have a play with it here.
The Maps Search link on the left will also change to Places. And it scrolls down the page with you:
And now to Boost…
Google Boost is an automated Google Adwords campaign to enable local businesses to appear in paid listings without an Adwords account. All the business needs is a Google Places account (which populates Google Map listings) and then enter a short business description and budget. Google then identifies relevant keywords and generates ads. These enter the Adwords auction and compete with normal Adwords ads and are ranked by the same criteria.
Circled above as an example of what Boost top position and down the side ads can look like, these are taken from using Ad Preview Tool, selecting USA and searching for something in San Francisco, Houston or Chicago, as these are the beta test areas.
Boost ads contain a business name, address, phone number, link to Places page as well as other info pulled from Places such as star ratings, maps marker, number of reviews and anything else from Place, e.g. link to videos.
A small highlighted sponsored link to the Google Places ad – it does not particularly stand out but I imagine Google will be tinkering with this layout as they develop the beta test.