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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.