How the Google My Business API Changes the Local Ecosystem

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.

Is Uber Paving the Way Toward Verified Consumer Reviews?

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.

Facebook Continues to Experiment in Local — But Its Focus Is Long-Term

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…

Why Location Management Matters in the Age of Mobile and Social

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.

Targeting Consumers on the Holiday Purchase Path Means Reducing Friction

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.

The Privatization of Local Search

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.

Online Reviews Providing Insights That Help Brands Compete

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.

Study Finds Consumer Search Preferences Depend Heavily on Type of Business

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.

Exploits and Vulnerabilities Challenge the Integrity of Google Maps

The recent run of bad luck for Google doesn’t lend itself to a simple comprehensive explanation, but each of the company’s recent issues in its own way highlights a key problem for Google: how to build and maintain an accurate local dataset on a global scale…

The Mobile Search Tipping Point: A Global Perspective

The smartphone by its nature is portable, location-based, and focused on immediacy. Whether local search is a major segment of consumer activity or not today in a given country, there’s little question that it will be, and soon…

Google’s Cities Initiative and the Ownership of Local Data

Google’s recent announcement of a new initiative called “Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map” belongs to the larger story of the company’s attempt to gain a critical mass of participation from small businesses…

Small Businesses and the Impact of Mobile Optimization

Rather than competing with the big directories for search ranking, small businesses need to fit themselves within the dominant mobile search paradigm and ensure their profiles on third party sites are optimized for the needs of mobile consumers…

The ‘Five Places’ Method for Manageable Local Marketing

It’s critical for SMBs to focus attention on a few of the most effective marketing activities, and to adopt a strategy that allows them to keep marketing efforts consistent. The “five places” method is a simple way to organize one’s efforts based on an inventory of what matters most…

Survey Highlights the Challenges of Marketing to Smaller SMBs

The evidence suggests that marketers who can tell a simple and compelling story tying ROI to hard evidence will stand the greatest chance of winning SMB confidence. The trick is doing this at sufficient scale to be profitable…

The Year in Local Search: A Timeline of the Top Stories of 2014

The holiday season is a time to contemplate the year gone by, so we’ve rounded up some of the top news stories in local search over the past 12 months. It was a year marked by Foursquare’s rebranding, Google’s new SMB interface, and upgrades from the likes of Apple, Yelp, Yahoo, YP, MapQuest, and Bing…

Getting Down to the Basics of Local Search Marketing

Small businesses can sometimes find out at their peril just how important it is to take control of how they are represented online. As professionals, we want to make sure businesses understand that our expertise has value, but not at the expense of scaring or confusing them. Instead we would do well to promote the idea that local search is accessible to all…

Interconnectivity and the Mobile Mind Shift

We hear a lot these days about the massive transition in consumer attention from desktop to mobile devices. That transition is an undeniable reality, but it would be a mistake to assume that it’s just about mobile devices themselves. What the smartphone has done is to enable a change in mental attitude when it comes to the use and consumption of online services…

The Power of Visual Appeal in Local Search

Images are more compelling to the average user than any other medium of communication. Though users may visit local search sites and apps with the conscious intent of seeking out text-based information such as phone numbers, hours, and addresses, visual content encountered along the way may have a greater influence than textual information on deciding which businesses to visit…

How to Maintain a Rational Social Marketing Strategy in a Confusing Landscape

Small business owners may find themselves perplexed by the variety of opportunities to engage socially with consumers. Of course, it would be premature to suggest that any SMB needs an Ello marketing strategy. But there’s an advantage to be gained in keeping your marketing strategy attuned to the groups actively pursuing interests relevant to your business…

Where Online Ordering of Local Products and Services Is Headed

Any local search site that sets its sights on powering transactions will need to take into account the broad range of consumer needs in the local space. But some products are likely much better suited to online purchasing than others…