Local businesses have an advantage of advertising via traditional marketing collateral around town, local television, and radio; nevertheless, they also have an advantage on the Internet. Google offers a great variety of options to improve the generation of leads and conversions through extending the experience of the customer during a search query.

Ad extensions are great resources for local businesses to use when doing search marketing. Ad extensions help users find out more about a business and its offerings in less of a hassle. There are four types of ad extensions that Google currently offers: Location, Call, Sitelink, and Product extensions. These extensions show up on Google.com, the Google search network, Google Display Network, and Google Maps.

Location extensions: Location extensions are a great way to reach a customer in need of a product or service within a short time period. These extensions can include the address and phone number of the business and they appear in the text ad. This is a simple way for a customer to find your business without having to do a lot of research via the Google Search Network. I used this function with one of my clients who has a local office and the location extensions received a number of clicks and impressions within the first week. I highly recommend using the location extension function, especially if you are a local business.

Call extensions: For those customers who are always on the go with their cellular phone, call extensions enable customers to quickly access your business’ telephone number via their mobile phone. Nevertheless, text ads with the call extension are only available to mobile phones with Internet browsers. This feature will show to those consumers using mobile devices with Google.com, Google Voice search, Google Mobile App, and Google Maps for Mobile. This feature will not be displayed to the customer if they are using a desktop computer. This on-the-go feature is a great way to grab that qualified lead and convert a sale.

Sitelink extensions: Sitelink extensions allow the addition of page links on text ads. This can include different pages of your Web site, such as a link to the “Toddler Clothing” page of an online retail store, or a link to the “About Us” page of a local cable company. Sitelinks make ads more useful for consumers who find your ads and can see the extra targeted and relevant links to their search query. Sitelinks are also great for seasonal products or services, because the links can change on the Google Search Network without changing your Web site URL in the ad.

Product extensions: Product extensions allow you to highlight your products in the search results. However, there are rules...If you do not have a Google Merchant Center account, you may NOT run product extensions in your ads. By obtaining a Google Merchant Center account, your business may participate in the product extension feature for AdWords. The product extensions show the images, product titles, and prices of your closest matching products with your ad from the merchant center. This is a great tool, especially for those products that many consumers are conscientious about before purchasing.

Google’s Ad Extension feature is a great tool for expanding the consumer’s search query and making the results more relevant. I highly recommend using at least one of these tools in order to increase clicks and conversions as well as transparency. Last, but not least, they are FREE!