Google has significantly updated its help page on the topic of local ranking to include, for the first time, specific common-sense guidelines showing businesses how they can increase the likelihood that online searchers will find them in Google Maps on desktop and mobile.
As mobile searches outpace desktop-based searches, proximity throws a wrench in the works of traditional rankings.
The move is a good thing for business owners but even more so for Google itself, which in providing a better means to gather data from business owners will improve the freshness and accuracy of its data.
In an atmosphere where fake reviews are all too easy to create, we need tools that help distinguish real opinions from garbage. Moving beyond the limitations of data algorithms, fact-based approaches hold out the promise of grounding review services in observable truth.
The company isn’t trying to build a unified local search portal at all. Instead, they’re launching trial balloons, turning developers loose to experiment with the company’s local data in order to surface features and nuances that might eventually be useful as subtle additions to the Newsfeed…
If SEO is about websites and marketing is about brand awareness, location management is about brick-and-mortar businesses and removing friction along the customer journey from online search to offline purchase. Ignore it at your peril.
Around the holidays, consumers tend to spend a lot more time on multiple devices, altering standard shopping habits and behaviors. This means brands and businesses need to ensure they are accurately and competitively represented in search, social, and mobile channels, and that social engagement and advertising efforts are properly targeted to the right consumers at the right times.
Local search takes place across services that are proprietary and dedicated, even if indirectly, toward earning revenue for the companies that run them. But that doesn’t preclude us from thinking of local search as a kind of public utility whose objective is to provide accurate and consistent information. That means treating local listings primarily as a public good, not a business.
The evidence is in. Reviews on social media have a material impact on the capital investments made by nationwide brands. The key is strength in numbers: A national brand will be more likely to have the critical mass of reviews required in order to move beyond anecdotal evidence and glean statistically significant results.
A few categories like restaurants, physicians, and beauty salons consistently capture the greatest volume of searches, stretching out into a long tail of lower-volume searches for occasional needs like roofing, chiropractors, and house cleaning.