At least for now, Alexa and Google are thinking of AI-powered local search in the traditional sense of providing the user with a range of relevant options — even when organic search is trending toward the single best answer.
In the local space, 2016 brought both consolidation and renewal. Major players were acquired, while other companies experimented with innovations in bots and AI, VR/AR and a new generation of voice search. Here’s a look back at the top Street Fight stories (at least in terms of traffic) this year.
The legacy listings company has undergone a transformation over the past five years, doubling revenue while shifting its mix from 80% print to 90% digital. We caught up with CEO Norm Hagarty to talk about DAC Group’s two recent international acquisitions and where he thinks local is heading.
Where should small businesses be spending their money (or energy) right now to maximize their digital investment? Mike Blumenthal and David Mihm say it all starts with a website and listings management, and includes a variety of services like email newsletters, reviews management, and even Facebook ads.
It’s likely that many local merchants misunderstand the importance of using tracking metrics to inform their marketing practices, or they feel overwhelmed at the thought of adding yet another task to their overcrowded plates. To find out how these business owners could be doing a better job of tracking local search metrics, we asked top experts in the field.
“The flow of dollars from businesses of all sizes has clearly been away from lower-performance niche platforms into boosted Facebook posts,” writes David Mihm. “We can debate the value of that activity, but relative to the questionable/delayed/opaque performance of so many digital ad products, Facebook seems to have found a sweet spot.”
At Street Fight Summit we raised a little controversy around the potential disruptiveness of voice search to the hyperlocal economy. Street Fight believes voice search is a critical emerging technology, a view that seemingly contrasts with that of many companies on the supply side of hyperlocal.
With so many people blocking traditional advertising, a growing proportion of internet users cannot be reached through “classic” search engine marketing. That’s why in the context of ad blocking, SEO is still king.
The local search company announced the launch of its new Local Search API at Street Fight Summit 2016, opening it up to developers to start using in their own projects. This new version brings together natural language processing and its database of over 20 million business listings.
Some new data has given us some “big time insight” into how Google is using authoritative local sites to inform local search rankings, says David Mihm. Mike Blumenthal agrees, saying that the prominence of local review pages and appears to be “transferring prominence directly to the local entity in a way that is totally independent of links.”