More threads by consultant

Sep 29, 2015
Reaction score
I've set up location extensions and campaign bid by location settings. Yet the display of my local search ads in Google Maps search results is extremely inconsistent. Has anyone done any trial-and-error research to get some more clear insight into what matters most as far as criteria for determining if your ad appears or not. It appears very few advertisers are doing this (yet) because I very rarely see any other businesses with location search ads on Google Maps results in fairly competitive niches.

Essentially the question is, what can I do to make the ad appear more frequently (in order of important)?
@Consultant - Are you asking about the local search ads that can appear on top of the three pack in mobile results? Or are you asking about local search ads on If the former, I'm also looking for strategies to get ads to appear in that space above the three pack.

According to Adwords support, this is a very new feature that was rolled out in January and all you can do is to:
1. Make sure that location extensions are enabled for the ad
2. Opt into search partners

The only other advice they gave me was to set a bid adjustment by location, but my client's ad is already in the top position in the regular adwords space at the top of the page, so that doesn't make much sense.

Here's G's page about this feature:

I asked whether it might still be in beta and only available to select advertisers, but they said no. It has been fully rolled out to all advertisers.

At first I thought that maybe there is a new local relevance based quality score, or even a QS that takes the number of reviews into account. However I don't think that's the case. Using the brightlocal search tool on mobile, I can see local search ads for businesses that are outside of the search area which have few reviews.

Here's an example of a search for "dui attorney san mateo" where the search location is san mateo. A local search ad appears on top of the local pack, but the same ad does not appear on top of the regular ad section.

Screenshot_2017-02-27-09-15-12 (002)_Ink_LI.jpg

Screenshot_2017-02-27-09-15-12 (002)_Ink_LI.jpg
AdWords support gave you one piece of bad advice. Your do NOT need to be using Google Search Partners. I'm running these kinds of ads all the time with no problem and not using search partners.

Where Search Network ads can appear
Your ads can appear with Google search results and on other search sites when your keywords are relevant to a user's search.

Google search sites:
Ads can appear above or below search results on Google Search. They can appear beside, above, or below search results on Google Play, Google Shopping, and Google Maps, including the Maps app.
Thanks pbarnhart. When your local search ads appear above the three pack, do they also appear in the regular top section? The confusing part for me is that adrank is traditionally based on bid + quality score. But with local search ads, that doesn't seem to be the case.
Right, no need to use Search partners for these. Haven't figured out a tried and tried formula, ad there is no bid modifier or any way to "see" inside the AdWords back office that your ads are appearing there. Need to have GMB linked though
I've done a ton of testing on these and it's absolutely true that you do not need the Search Partners to trigger them.

I posted some of my findings in this article I wrote for Imprezzio.

The ad is triggered based on keywords but is also based on the location of the searcher.
Thanks for your post Joy. You say:

Is there Any Way to Make it Show all the Time?
No, but there are tricks to make it appear more often that we have been testing.

Care to share some of the tricks you found? :D

One tip I can share is that Mobile Moxie's SEO Search Simulator works great for local search ad testing. I was on the phone with an Adwords rep yesterday and we tried to look at local search ads using Adwords preview and diagnosis tool set to mobile. We could not see any local search ads that way. So Mobile Moxie has been a great substitute for localized mobile searching on a desktop.
Hey Scott,

I found the exact same thing. I was using that tool for all my testing :)

I figured out how to get the phone # button to trigger on a few accounts where it was weirdly missing. The only reason why I was hesitant to publish too much of my findings is because this feature is so new that it's really causing businesses who have it nailed down to have an advantage. I know that won't last long but I selfishly wanted to keep some of what I learned for just my clients until the rest of the world catches up lol.

That missing call button in local search ads is exactly what I was troubleshooting as well! If you're willing to share what you found, my clients and I would appreciate it. :)

My guess was that the missing call button is related to that adwords announcement earlier this year when we were told that campaigns with location and call extensions would start showing local numbers from GMB unless we opted out. We chose to opt out of that program in order to preserve our call tracking numbers.

Am I on the right track?

I also tried adding in an adwords location extension number to GMB, but that hasn't helped yet.

Shoot me a PM and we can talk :)

Login / Register

Already a member?   LOG IN
Not a member yet?   REGISTER

LocalU Event

LocalU - Local SEO Penalties for Links

  Promoted Posts

New advertising option: A review of your product or service posted by a Sterling Sky employee. This will also be shared on the Sterling Sky & LSF Twitter accounts, our Facebook group, LinkedIn, and both newsletters. More...
Top Bottom