Pinterest and Snapchat both are turning digital space into a closer analogue to physical space, where we look for visual cues to understand the world. In different ways, both apps are collapsing the distance between virtual and real.
For many years, Physical Address in City of Search was the most important ranking factor, but it has now been overtaken by Proximity of Address to the Point of Search (Searcher-Business Distance). As such, the canonical local search use case has become a mobile user searching for a business nearby his or her current location.
Surely small business owners belong to the class of ordinary users. Expecting them to invest the time and energy to become power users is a good way to guarantee that your user base will remain small. This realization could lead to a very different and more fruitful approach to product design for SMBs.
It used to be that you wanted to be situated as close as possible to the city centroid, or clustered with similar businesses. Now you might literally have to be the closest shop to the place your potential customer happens to be standing. How in the world do you optimize for that?
If enough people believe something, should Google consider it to be true? In a world where questionable news is very popular, it’s not so surprising that Google’s logical assumptions might sometimes produce unexpected results. After all, trustworthiness at root is a matter of how many people are willing to trust you.
It can be all too easy to give the client the impression that search marketing is too hard from them to really understand — so they should just trust you. But that sets the stage for a relationship that is not based on ethical behavior.
In cases where community values are not unanimous, public companies are faced with an ethical question, and their answers can help to shape perceptions among users. For many, the removal of a Confederate holidays from Google Maps signals that it is truly a thing of the past.
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.
Machine learning and predictive analytics need to meld seamlessly with core app functionality. The technology needs to “just work,” without steep learning curves or frustrating dead ends. So I’d expect any company who experiments with machine learning for local search to start with a simple set of problems and hone the user experience.
The series demonstrates the real complexity of cross-platform digital marketing and the importance of a data-driven strategy in identifying meaningful objectives and tracking performance. This commentary explains how Brand Battles are constructed and how their subject areas fits into the bigger picture of local marketing for national brands.
Google has many paths for sourcing local content, from user edits to third party licensed data, but none provides as comprehensive or accurate a source of truth as data that comes directly from businesses, so there’s every reason to remove friction from that path wherever possible.
I’m impressed by the level of detail and by some key differentiators that make Maps.me seem like a fresh approach to mobile navigation. Indeed, I can see the app eventually finding favor in the U.S. marketplace. Even before that happens, local marketers should take note.
The first phase of mobile software relied on us to express a desire and thereby to enable a service. Our actions initiated services that capitalized on the phone’s ability to maximize proximity. Now we’re entering a second phase where, for many of us, connectivity and location awareness will be active for longer stretches of our days.
The reduction of local search real estate represents a huge challenge to marketers, who must work even harder to ensure their clients’ listings can compete in a shrinking field. It also suggests that a strategy combining organic and paid efforts is becoming ever more important.
So far, digital services, even those focused on local, have done more to atomize local communities than unite them, training us to rely on anonymous resources for the information and recommendations we used to get from our friends and neighbors.
Are bots the future of the internet? Maybe, maybe not; like the buzz around Google Glass in 2013, we’re in the midst of a moment when it’s hard to tell the difference between hype and technological breakthrough.
According to the funnel metaphor, customers travel in stages from awareness to purchase, the funnel getting narrower at each stage as some customers drop off and do not move to the next stage.
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.