If you thought that removing right sidebar ads was the biggest change Google would make to search results in 2016, buckle up. Prepare for an incoming update — Google’s at it again!

In the latest announcements, Google revealed that the local pack will now feature ads within it.

Why Does This Matter?

This change means that another organic position is being replaced with a paid ad. While the removal of sidebar ads already moved organic positions down the page, this is another push to dominate the top of the search results page with ads. On a mobile device, users will have to scroll past numerous ads before they see any organic results.

Below you can see a mock up from Search Engine Roundtable of what the new local pack might look like with an ad in position one. These new ads will likely look very similar to the other two listings in the local pack, but Google hasn’t officially released information about what the ads will look like. The actual ads are still in testing.

Google Local Pack

What Should I Do?

If you’ve been relying on your organic results to keep your phones ringing, it may be time to get into the Google advertising game. Google has proven over and over again that paid ads need to be part of your digital marketing strategy because organic traffic alone won’t be enough.

Your competition is advertising for your services and possibly even showing ads when people search for your company. That alone should be enough motivation to get in the game. However, these updates are almost forcing everyone to get into paid online advertising in search results or you’ll slowly slide right off the first page as it gets consumed by paid positions.

When Will This Happen?

Google hasn’t announced an official roll-out date for the local pack ads yet. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get ahead of the game. If you aren’t currently advertising with Google, it’s time to open your wallet. It’s inevitable that paid advertising online is where digital marketing is heading.

Get in touch with a digital marketing specialist to learn more about how you can prepare for these search result changes. Contact The Web Guys today at (317) 805-4933 to discuss your online marketing options!