May 23, 2019

3 Major Changes to Google Ads, and What This Means for Small Businesses

When small business owners take the time to invest in digital marketing tools, it is important to continually adapt as new features and upgrades are released. Over the last year, Google Ads have seen several major changes regarding search abilities.

When used correctly, Google Ads can offer increased local traffic, sales, and lead generation. In order to receive these benefits, small businesses must change their marketing strategies to match these latest three changes to local Google Ads.

Close Variants

Google Search SEO

From SEO to brand recognition, keywords have continuously played a large role in digital marketing strategies.

It is not uncommon for marketing teams to spend hours building keyword lists, long tail keywords, and redefining negative keywords to ensure your content is among the most relevant and top performing searches.

But now, those specific and deliberately chosen keywords need to be refined yet again thanks to Google Ads’ new close variant feature.

Close variants now include any search results that are close to your exact keywords, regardless of misspellings or differences.

So, even if a user has repeatedly searched a misspelled keyword previously, additional search results with appear and possibly outrank your result.

As a result, it is crucial for businesses to stay vigilant and consistently update their keyword lists with information from user search queries.

Voice Search

Google Ads Voice Search

The appeal of voice search is not specific to Google Ads, it has been rising tool in the digital marketing world for quite some time. Since voice search is distinctly different from traditional typed search queries, it is only wise to introduce a new method of keyword research specific to voice searching.

The three major trends of voice searches include longer rail keywords, inquiry-based searches, and “near me” searches.

For small businesses, it has become increasingly important to insert these trends into keyword strategies. Local advertisers should include “near me” and location-specific aspect of Google Ads to ensure their content is appearing within relevant results.

For example, “Pink Dog Digital is a Baltimore-based small business that provides digital solutions.” If a user from Baltimore uses voice search to Google “digital solutions near me”, PDD would be a high-ranking result.

Google Maps and Google Map Packs Ads

Google Map Packs

Due to a rise in usage of Google Maps and Google Map Packs, Google has since introduced paid advertisements to these platforms. Now, it is more important than ever to have optimized listings for Google Ads.

To improve your Google Maps search ranking, make sure to select the recommended Google location targeting setting: “People in, or who show interest in, your targeted locations.”

This setting allows for your business to appear in results that contain local city/ state keywords, even if the searchers are not currently located in those locations.

If you would like more information about paid Google Ads, need help defining or adjusting your digital advertisements strategies, or other digital marketing services please contact Pink Dog Digital at (410) 696-3305, email us at, or visit us on the web at