When I first spotted that Google Local (now just Google Maps) failed to properly target the sponsored links to a search, I assumed this was just an oversight. But that was over a year ago and the same situation still exists today.
Take for example a Google Maps search for a Mechanic near Edinburgh. (shown in screen shot below). Now compare this to the sponsored results on the main Google search for mechanic Edinburgh (also shown in a screen shot below).
Note how the Google Maps sponsored links have nothing to do with Edinburgh, where as in the main search results, there are some that do tie up with Edinburgh.
If you do a search on the main Google for “mechanic”, you will find that the results are identical to those on Google Maps for “Mechanic near Edinburgh”. In other words, Google Maps is ignoring the Edinburgh part of the search in Google Maps with the end result of very poorly targeted adverts.
I have raised the issue with AdWords customer service because I would have thought that displaying the Edinburgh targeted adverts would not only be the logical thing to do but also be easy to fix – I won’t hold my breath though!
Admittedly the main results for “Edinburgh Mechanic” could also be more targeted but this is simply a lack of good quality advertisers for this term, as opposed to the limitation in the Google algorithm that we see in the Maps scenario.
Screen shot of a Google Maps search for “Mechanic Edinburgh”
Screen shot of a regular Google search for “Mechanic Edinburgh”