The Influence of Reviews on Conversion

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Can the influence of reviews be quantified? This is one of the questions addressed by SOCi’s new State of Google Reviews report. The report examines the Google profiles of approximately 31,000 chain and franchise businesses, who together earned 4.9 million reviews from January 2015 to July 2022. 

Google Overhauls Business Profile Manager with Transition to Search Interface

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Lots of the functionality is exactly the same between the old GMB and the new NMX, the only difference being where the features reside. For most businesses, updating your phone number, your hours of operation, or your business attributes will seem very familiar. Here are some of the significant differences.

The Telltale Signs of Fake Reviews

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Curtis Boyd is the founder of a Southern California-based company, The Transparency Co, which has gained significant attention in recent months for the technology Boyd has developed to detect fake reviews at scale. Boyd’s company has recently secured government contracts to help ferret out fake reviews online.

Branded Apps Are Connecting with Local Consumers

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We’ve solidly entered the era of the branded app as the central platform for successful local loyalty programs. Branded apps, because they encourage and reward repeat business, can be seen as the central hub of a successful localized marketing strategy for many multi-location brands, especially in certain verticals where repeat business is relatively easy to win.

Social Apps Are Creating a New UX for Local

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Young consumers are increasingly discovering local shops and restaurants on TikTok and Instagram, not Google or Yelp. An appetite for immersive visual experiences is behind the trend.

Review Extortion Reveals Strengths and Weaknesses of Local Ecosystem

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The impact of review fraud and extortion has been devastating for restaurant owners and managers, who are fully aware that they live and die by reviews.

Using Local Search to Fight Inflation

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Just as the pandemic increased our reliance on digital information and services, so too is inflation reflected in the volume of activities on digital platforms, such as searches for certain types of local business. The searches we conduct online are a barometer of our larger concerns, and these days, belt tightening is clearly on the minds of many consumers.

The Challenge of Brand Alignment with Social Issues

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Increasingly, brands with high public visibility must articulate their positions on issues the public cares about while avoiding the appearance of exploiting public sentiment for purposes of self-promotion. And whether or not a formal statement makes sense on every issue, companies should be prepared for the day when a consumer comes to them to ask a question or offer feedback about a brand’s actions or values, perhaps in the form of a social post that is there for all to see.

dinosaur google

Where Are the Local Startups?

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Google was founded in 1998; Google Maps launched in 2005. Though the company has been at the bleeding edge of technological development ever since, still those dates are telling. In internet time, Google is a senior citizen, and it stands to reason that it must eventually let the new generation have a say. Where are the startups who will unveil for us a new paradigm for local?

How Popular Are Tailored Features in Local Search?

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Local search results are very different today compared with just a couple of years ago. I’m not just talking about the redesigned 3-Pack or the increased likelihood that Google will surface local results for a broad variety of searches. I’m referring to the features, such as photos and granular business details such as inventory, shown in the results themselves.

The Ongoing Challenge of Reputation Management for Multi-Location Brands

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The good news is that the bar is relatively low for a brand to exceed the median reputation performance level of all multi-location businesses. The bad news is that brands are still struggling to implement comprehensive review response programs.

5 Big Marketing Opportunities for Multi-Location Brands

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This year’s is the fourth annual LMBR report; the data used in the analysis was provided by data partner Places Scout. Those interested in the full results can check out the report here. In this article, I’ll highlight just a few of the key takeaways for multi-location marketers.

Google Adds More Custom Relevance Signals to Local Results

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The ranking criteria that matters most for the current discussion is relevance. In offering product photos to users searching for products, Google is both declaring and emphasizing that this business has offerings relevant to the searcher’s stated need.

Ranking Correlations with Other Reputation and Search Metrics Are Not Linear

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Google appears to think of ranking in terms of zones, where the first zone features the best possible mix of proximity, relevance, and prominence, and the second zone begins to sacrifice either proximity, or relevance, or both, but is less likely to sacrifice prominence. In more human terms, this means that Google wants to show us the best options for a query, and when it runs of inventory, it brings in results that are farther away or that might offer a reasonable alternative.

The Growth of Visual Search

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Claire Carlile, in a recent post on visual search that contains useful tips for local businesses, shows us that Google is now making it possible to conduct a search that starts and ends with images. Her example search is conducted using Google Lens, where an image of a Sony headphones package is the “query” that produces a local pack result replete with its own images. This may or may not be the future of search, but it’s highly representative of the visual-first orientation that Google is embracing to a growing degree.

Does Anyone Want Hermetic Commerce? A Reflection on Local and the Metaverse

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What is it, besides the need of Meta as a public company to develop new marketplaces — and perhaps distance itself from unpleasant contemporary scandals — that is driving such an aggressive vision of the future? Why the metaverse, and why now?

Meeting the Heightened Demand for Timely Local Information

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With businesses closing temporarily due to government mandate, or changing their offerings or hours significantly in response to the pandemic, consumers turned to local search too with a heightened, even sometimes critical need to access the latest information. This heightened demand has not disappeared.

Local Platforms Promote Integrity with Consumer Confidence at Risk

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Nextdoor is the latest local platform to publish what it calls a Transparency Report, designed to offer information to the public about efforts made to maintain an online community that is free from problematic content. In Nextdoor’s case, the focus is on reducing incidents of hate speech and incivility in order to promote healthy community interaction.

Delivery Culture Is Here to Stay

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In one of the strongest signs yet of long-term changes in consumer behavior following the pandemic, food delivery services are continuing to achieve record growth even as consumers move closer to pre-pandemic levels of activity. The new era of delivery reached a milestone this month when Uber announced that delivery revenue from Uber Eats in 2021 outpaced revenue from ridesharing, Uber’s original raison d’être.

Does a Bipartisan Bill Threaten the Autonomy of Local Platforms?

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The push to regulate big tech is not new. In fact, a bill similar to the American Innovation and Choice Online Act was introduced by the House of Representatives last year, only to be relegated to the legislative back burner. So far, no meaningful legislation has made its way into law, but each new effort in that direction reawakens the possibility that companies like Google will eventually need to modify their practices to remove bias towards themselves.