Google Rolls Out Local Tags. Should You Care?


You may remember that in April Google rebranded its Local Business Center to a more succinctly named Google Places. You may also remember that as part of the sprucing, they gave us a look at a brand new ad format coming to help small business owners bring prominence to their 7-pack listing. The ad system was nicknamed Tags, but was only being released to SMBs in eleven cities. If you were discouraged by that, worry not. Last week Google let us know that Tags was now open to small business owners everywhere. The news left some SMBs excited, with others crying out, “wait – Tags? What’s that again?”

If you found yourself in the latter half, fear not. We’re here to help. Below you’ll find a quick rundown of Google’s new ad format, as well as some insight as to why you should care.

If you skimmed over it back in April, Google’s Local Tags gives small business owners a cost-effective way to enhance their listings in Google Maps and Google.com. For $25 a month, SMBs can add a yellow ‘tag’ to their listing that can be used to highlight your business in some way. You can use it to mention a coupon, a sale you’re currently running, a video, your Web site, menu, reservations, photos, etc. Google has also rolled out a new kind of Tag called Posts, that will allow SMBs to include a custom message that they can change as often as they’d like to highlight new promotions.

Here’s an example of how Tags looks in the wild.

Note that participating in the Tags program will not affect your rankings and it will be made clear to searchers which parts are sponsored. Tags will also appear on mobile searches and I’d guess will serve as a great way to promote coupons or other instant savings.

With an affordable price, er, ‘tag’ and easy-to-understand benefits, Tags sound like a great way to bring more exposure to your 7-pack listing. Time will tell how that little yellow arrow affects conversions, but knowing the mentality of most searchers, you have to think that being able to mention coupons, discounts and promotions directly on the search results page is going to help you entice people to click over. You may remember last year when we uncovered how to get the most out of Yelp. In that post, we really recommended that users take advantage of Yelp features like putting coupons and announcements in your listings. It looks like Google was also listening and taking notes.

I think Tags will offer SMBs a cost-effective way to bring more visibility to local listings, offer users a greater value for their click through, as well as get their feet wet with paid advertising What do you think of Tags? Will you take advantage of it? Have you already started seeing Tag’d listings in the search results?

12 Comments ▼

Lisa Barone


Lisa Barone Lisa Barone is Vice President of Strategy at Overit, an Albany Web design and development firm where she serves on the senior staff overseeing the company’s marketing consulting, social media, and content divisions.

12 Reactions

  1. Tags seem like a nice (easy) way to advertise – although Mike Blumenthal made a good point http://bit.ly/aaduGf that as more people use them, your listing will stand out less.

    So it’s probably great for the early adopters, but might end up only benefiting Google in the long run.

  2. I’m with Chris, the effectiveness will decrease as more people get tags. Therefore, early adopters will see a boost, we’ll read case studies about how much it helped, everyone will go plunk down $25, the results will level off and Google keeps depositing their checks.

  3. Thanks for bringing this to my attention again. I had forgotten about it since previously it did not apply to my state.

    I agree with Chris and Robert that the effectiveness will go down as more people take advantage of the offer. But since I am in the process of trying to increase the effectiveness of my Google ads I am going to give it a try.

  4. Very interesting, I wonder if Google will come out with any limit to the 7 pack as to who can have tags to counter act what Chris and Robert are mentioning. Or they might not… it’ll be interesting to see how this does work out in the long run.

  5. Hi Lisa,

    I’m not there yet. I’m not going to rush out and and add to Google’s bottom line.

    Mike Blumenthal could be right about getting lost in the crowd.

    (The yellow tag crowd)

    However, I think that more and more SMB’s are starting to realize just how important local rankings are to their businesses, and upcoming events, (like Local University, by GetListed.org) will help these SMB’s get better at getting their businesses noticed, which will in turn, translate to more customers, and more revenue.

    The Franchise King

  6. I think its just another marketing advantage for Google not small business owners they will be competing with others eventually.

  7. Our google places ranking dropped after signing up for a Tag one week ago.

  8. google instant search is not working at all, it does not do anything and also gives you a blank screen are you experiencing the same problem

  9. Sacramento Wedding Photographer

    I was considering adding tags to my listing on Places, although I worry that once this goes a little more mainstream that the value will be greatly diminished. I’m not sure Google’s logic behind the new feature either, $25 isn’t a great deal per month, but I guess considering their volume that this could still be a crazy revenue stream for them… I’m still undecided 🙂

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