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Spooky Floating Google Maps in Time for Halloween

By Justin Seibert| 3 Min Read | October 29, 2010

As you’re probably aware, Halloween is the Official Holiday of Direct Online Marketing™.  It will remain that way no matter how many employees tell me they don’t like dressing up.  As my father used to tell me all the time (and told my son last night), “you ain’t voting.”

Well, then what better present in time for the holiday than floating Google Maps?  What are those, you ask.  Take a look:

What this Means for Local SEO

It’s more important than ever /understatement.  Look at the prominence given the map and how high they show up in the natural results.  Places Pages listings are even staggered in a zig-zag to make them easier to read.

Any business concerned with its local market will want to ensure that it:

  • It is in the 7-pack.
  • It is at or near the top of the listings.
  • Has good reviews – check out those stars. It should go without saying, these need to be legit.

What this Means for AdWords Advertisers

Given the importance of local to Google – in terms of search volume, click-throughs, and now monetization – I’m not really surprised to see them monkeying around.  And while we had seen some screenshots of this before we could replicate it, I didn’t realize they would float down the screen like daytrippers down a calm river.

What’s really surprising is that the floating map gobbles up AdWords ads like Ms. Pac-Man gobbling Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde.  (If you’re a fan of the game even better than Donkey Kong and Mortal Kombat, check out this old Google doodle in its honor.)  Sure, they’re going to disappear off the screen anyway, but now even more quickly, meaning your ad gets less eyeball time, less chance of being clicked, and – presumably – less revenue for Google from searchers scrolling down the page.

However, the eye gets immediately drawn to that huge map, doesn’t it?  This means your vision is directed more closely to the ads on the top (before scrolling) and right-hand side of the screen, which presumably would mean more clicks for you and more revenue for Google.  I also wonder if it doesn’t lead to more inadvertent clicks on the first ads on the right-hand side.  I would love to see Google’s eye-tracking studies on this one.

How Do You Think This Will Change the Game?

If you have ideas about what this will mean for advertisers and optimizers – assuming the floating maps continue in this same manner on a wide scale – please comment below.

P.S. We are open today and will be Monday – no official closings for the big holiday.

P.P.S. Hat tip to the fine folks at Brilliant Prints for pointing this out and sending over the following screenshots for folks that can’t see the video on their screens.  They’ll take your photographs and turn them into canvas prints quickly and 100% guaranteed.  They’re in Australia, so it’s not like this floating map is just being tested here in the USA.


Written by Justin Seibert

Justin Seibert is the President of Direct Online Marketing. Justin holds a Bachelor of Arts from Vanderbilt University. He contributes a wide range of online business-oriented topics, including the subject of exporting. His contributions can be found on publications such as the Pittsburgh Business Times, AdAge, SES Magazine, and La Voz del interior. Justin and his family enjoy learning about new cultures during their travels.

View Justin Seibert's Full Bio

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