Google helps marketers get local for holiday season

The winter holiday season is an incredibly important time for local businesses. Many depend on big consumer turnout, and businesses across the nation have already kicked off holiday marketing campaigns for big events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The marketing task has also been eased for local SEO experts, as Google recently announced a series of improvements and tweaks to its offerings that will help businesses develop better local search marketing campaigns this holiday.

The improvements were made to two products: AdWords location targeting and location extensions. The former allow businesses to display ads to desired consumers in specific geographic areas, the latter enables local businesses to attach location and contact information to ads. So what's new?

1. Airport targeting: Mobile and tablet devices are perfect for on-the-go consumers like those about to check their flight's status. With that in mind, Google launched airport targeting that businesses can use to target potential customers in more than 350 airports around the world. Using the airport targeting offering, local businesses can promote last-minute travel and entertainment opportunities, hype their own mobile applications and build their brand with mobile display ads.

2. Location extensions and sitelinks together: To help local searchers locate a businesses in their immediate area, Google will now allow location extensions to appear alongside one-line sitelinks in text ads displayed on PC searches. Location extensions are already shown and will to continue to be shown with two- and three-line sitelinks.

3. Bigger, more useful maps: If a local searcher clicks a location extension link on a PC, they will now be presented with a larger, more informative and interactive map that will replace the current expandable map Google designed. The company said early testing users will click to see local business locations more frequently than they did with the previous map.

4. Enhanced location matching: Google already uses postal code targeting to direct customers toward local businesses when using location extensions. Now, Google will direct local searchers toward businesses with a specialty or destination offering even if they are not within the a business' postal code.

5. Conversion tracking: To aid local businesses in measuring their online conversions, Google has factored location extension clicks into conversion rates, helping them to analyze the impact their local extension might have on conversions.