Google Drops Tags

Well that was quick. Apparently the “10’s of thousands” (that’s what Google says) of businesses who signed up for Google Tags wasn’t enough, so Google is killing Tags as of April 29, 2011. Word is they are pushing Boost ads as the preferred alternative. From their blog post:

We’ve made a decision to shift our efforts toward other present and future product offerings for local businesses, and will be discontinuing this trial. To that end, we’ve now halted new signups and will be working with existing participating businesses over the coming weeks to help them meet their marketing needs with other Google products where possible.

I think this is an unfortunate move, because for Small Business owners who wanted a quick and easy way to highlight their Google Places listing, Tags fit the bill neatly. Boost ads, in my opinion, are just a “poor man’s” version of Adwords. If you’re going to take the time to set up a text ad, opt for the more precise targeting and keyword selection Adwords ads offer.


On the plus side of Boost ads, they trigger the eye-catching blue flag in your listing, helping it stand out in the same way Tags do. However, (pro tip here!) I’ve found that the same blue flag is triggered if you set up an Adwords ad, and add in an “ad extension” — specifically your Google Places listing.  See example on the left.

In this example, we have an Adwords ad, with the site extension selected for “location”.  I should note the blue flag doesn’t show up each time.  If you’ve got other site extensions — like sitelinks — enabled, sometimes the ad will show those instead, and not always with the blue flag.

Your best bet? Run both Boost ads, and Adwords, and determine which is bringing in a higher ROI. You’ll want to enable your site extensions on your Adwords ads first. For more on how to do that, check out this Google Help topic on setting up ad extensions.

If you’d like to try Boost ads, they’re fairly easy to set up.  See the video below.

Oh, and if you’d like  some free Adwords advertising, give 540SEO a shout. As a Google Engage Partner, we can set up Small Businesses who haven’t tried Adwords before with $100 in free advertising.  Contact us for more details.

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