Google Boost in the UK: heads up local businesses, here’s a new Google service you won’t want to miss!

published on January 30, 2011 in SEO & PPC

Google keeps finding new ways to make money: introducing Boost

While doing some keyword research for an accountant client based in London, I came across the following – very interesting – search engine result page:

Google Boost for a firm of Accountants in London

Google Boost for a firm of Accoutants in London

You’ll notice the blue (A) marker at the top of the result page (in the pink Adwords area) and the corresponding blue marker on the map, on the right hand side.

This is the new Google Boost service that has just been rolled out to the whole of the US on mobile searches and is currently being tested in the UK (once fully launched in the US, Google usually take less than a couple of months to apply the same changes to all their English portals).

What is Google Boost?

According to the official Google blog for all things Earth and Maps:

Boost enables business owners to easily create online search ads from directly within their Google Places account. No ongoing management is needed after the initial set up[...]

Boost ads are eligible to appear in the “Sponsored Links” section of and Google Maps search result pages.

In essence, Google Boost is a mix between Adwords and Google Places where businesses compete, auction-style, to get “nearer to the top” ranking for their ad.

Still being in test phase, we can’t really have a look at “behind the scenes” and setup requirements, but this is what we can already see on the results pages:

  1. The Boost ad takes twice as much space a normal Adwords ad takes (respectively 85px and 44px in height): with the blue marker and address, I believe the click through rate for Boost should be considerably higher than for the “plain” version of Adwords;
  2. The maker being blue, it clearly stands out on the search engine results page, and especially on the map;
  3. The Google Boost marker uses the same letter than the normal Google Maps marker, which could be confusing. This is particularly true on maps where the spread of markers is narrow and the first marker is hidden, as the following image shows:
    Google Places (A) marker is hidden

    Google Places (A) marker is hidden

  4. The Boost marker can appear for locations that are relatively far from the original query – sometimes so far out that the blue marker only just appears on the map.
    Boost marker almost out of the map

    Boost marker almost out of the map

  5. When the user clicks on the map, the Boost marker does not appear on the following screen while the normal Google Places markers (A to G) do.

What next?

If you don’t succeed in getting your company listed in Google Places, then Boost might be a worthwhile alternative to look into, especially if you are already using Adwords. As everything happens via you Google Places account, it is another good reason to claim your Place page if your business trades locally.


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

olly February 16, 2011 at 4:47 pm

I have seen local companies blue markers on the map or listed in google searches. Is this random google tests or is it possible to buy blue tags now? can’t see how to do it through our google places control panel


netaccountant February 16, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Hi Olly, not sure if it has been rolled out completely in the UK yet, but I do see a lot of these when doing local searches at the moment. Re the “how to do it”, it looks as though it is done through your Adwords account rather than the Google Places account – I will hopefully be able to try it out in the next couple of weeks.


A. Hagan from Seo bloggers
February 27, 2011 at 6:41 pm

I do think the maps marker issue is something Google will have to reconsider. While the Boost listings have the potential to create more exposure, the average online user may not know how to interpret the identical marker numbers.

I don’t think this is as problematic, though, as the problem with merging places accounts. That seems to be the thing that people are mentioning the most regarding Google Places and the surge it has taken over the last 6 months or so.
A. Hagan@Seo bloggers also wrote Google Penalizes JC Penny and Overstockcom Websites


Josh March 16, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Are you sure this is Google Boost? I usually see the reviews and Places page information come up for Google Boost because it’s strictly run from within Google Places. I think you’re looking at the ad extensions which can be controlled in adwords and are creating the blue marker for ads in the top 3 positions when the account is linked to your places account in the Ad Extensions tab.


netaccountant March 16, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Hi Josh, I saw it yesterday for a client who appears in both the local listing / map (red marker) and on the left hand side (6-7th place) of Adwords (blue marker) – obviously both where one on top of the other, and only the blue one showed .


Brad from SEO Gold Coast
March 18, 2011 at 3:09 am

Google Boost is another great tool for businesses, I just hope it gets rolled out to Australia soon. Nice article!


netaccountant March 22, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Hi Brad, looks like it may already be up and running:


Mike Wood May 30, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Google recently announced that they would now display Adwords ads with Local extensions with an associated push pin and a place on the Map.

The display format of the ad is very similar but not the same as a Boost ad. There are two differences: On an Adwords ad, the title of the ad can be anything not just the business name and the push pin contains a letter not just a dot.


Damien from Business Growth
July 4, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Thanks for this, I have been struggling to get a few clients onto Places recently, seems like it takes a couple of months for them to go through Google’s algorythm!

The clients are using AdWords already so this is a no brainer.

Excellent blog, keep up the good work,



Jeffreys Henry LLP September 1, 2011 at 11:57 am

Third one down – Jeffreys Henry – that’s us!!
We’re also at the top for ‘accountants in london’ and others.


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