Google has inked AccuWeather as the first beta distribution partner for local search results combined with locally targeted AdWords search ads. The increased distribution gives advertisers access to more geographically targeted inventory.
Visitors who search AccuWeather.com for local business information, such as phone numbers, addresses, maps with business locations, and driving directions, will be served locally targeted ads along with the organic search results. Previously, the local ads were distributed to partners with Web, rather than local, results.
Google says it will test the implementation through the beta process to meet advertiser, publisher and consumer needs. The company is also testing a feature that saves users' search history. So far, no ads are served on the history interface.
Separately, the search giant has rolled out changes to its Advertising Professionals Program, its system to reach out to search marketers and agencies. Google will give participants in the program $50 to $100 in AdWords credits to help them lure new clients.
The program has also been tweaked to allow companies to join with "Qualified Company" company status if they train their staffs to manage AdWords. U.S. companies with five or more trained employees that spend over $100,000 in aggregate over 90 days fit into this category.
Additionally, Google will now host a "Professional Status Page" for program members, a service aimed at helping them market themselves to prospective clients. Google started its Advertising Professionals Program in November of last year.
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Pamela Parker is a former managing editor of ClickZ News, Features, and Experts. She's been covering interactive advertising and marketing since the boom days of 1999, chronicling the dot-com crash and the subsequent rise of the medium. Before working at ClickZ, Parker was associate editor at @NY, a pioneering Web site and e-mail newsletter covering New York new media start-ups. Parker received a master's degree in journalism, with a concentration in new media, from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.