The New Proximity: A Second Phase in Mobile Brings Here and Now to Life

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.

Is Google Shrinking the Local Pack?

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.

Scaling the Neighborhood: A Community Focus for Local Services

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.

Weighing the Local Promise of Bots and Conversational Commerce

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.

Understanding the Local Search Marketing Funnel

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 Finally Reveals How to Improve Your Local Ranking

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.

The Changing Role of Local Search Ranking

As mobile searches outpace desktop-based searches, proximity throws a wrench in the works of traditional rankings.

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…