The ever-growing mobile search space offers plenty of opportunities for local businesses to connect with customers at the right time and place. In a recent blog post, Google looked at their internal data and determined that “search interest in ‘near me’ has doubled since last year, with 80% coming from mobile.” As a result, they’re making some changes to what users will see when they look for businesses near them.

Local Is King

When someone uses the word “nearby” in their search, Google has a new ad unit that explicitly calls out “Nearby businesses.” The old ad units in this space would often let a single advertiser completely dominate the page on mobile devices.

Google Mobile Ad Unit - Multi-Location
This commonly happens when a large advertiser has multiple locations nearby.

Google seems to be trying to make better use of the limited space on mobile devices by letting more businesses appear in the same space. This should hopefully allow businesses with only one location a better chance to appear in the results when someone Googles for a nearby business ad.

Google Mobile Ad Unit - Multi-Business
More consumer choice means more opportunity for your business to compete.

Reaching these users when they’re looking for a business near them is a crucial means of generating more foot traffic to your retail location. But how can you show up there?

Use Location Extensions

If you have a physical retail location and you’re running online ads without location extensions, you’re missing out on a prime opportunity to quickly convert searchers. Location extensions allow you to add your address and phone number to your advertising campaign, and they’re the only way you can show up in this new ad unit. If you’re not using them, it’s very likely you’ll be left out of the mobile ad space entirely.

You can find a detailed explanation on how to add location extensions to your ads on this AdWords Help page.