The major downfall and benefit of Google Q&A is that anyone can ask a question, and anyone can answer. For businesses, brand representation comes into question, and they’re challenged with not only answering questions themselves, but also monitoring the responses left by others on the web.
Despite the challenges, when managed at scale, Q&A is an excellent forum to bring customers and businesses together and improve engagement with your brand.
This has been the most active year in the history of local search when it comes to the introduction of new features. Google recently announced that it had made nearly 250 updates to Google Maps since the start of the pandemic, and just about every other local publisher, including Yelp, Bing, Foursquare, TripAdvisor, and even Apple Maps, has been busy.
As we near the end of this unusual year, I thought it would be useful to take stock of these changes and note the ones that are the most significant.
Allbirds and Fabletics aren’t the first DTC brands to open up for in-store shopping, of course. Brands like Warby Parker and Bonobos pioneered the approach years ago. But the latest class of trendy DTC brands is doing things a little differently. Rather than focusing on urban centers, like New York and Los Angeles, DTC brands are using local data to target new, smaller locations in states like Arizona, Florida, and Texas.
Grocery stores are doing more business than pre-pandemic, with average weekly household grocery bills surging from $120 to $161 at the height of statewide lockdowns this spring. Many restaurants are pivoting right now to promote their takeout and delivery options. Health and wellness websites are fielding questions about coronavirus, as are many news publishers.
Leaning into the changes means understanding and responding to the challenges consumers are facing right now and setting up a search strategy that focuses on providing the best experiences possible.
Google’s World is shorthand for the fully fleshed-out concept: “It’s Google’s world… we’re all just living in it.” The main thrust is that Google’s search dominance gives it enormous control in impacting the fate of businesses everywhere who rely on search for traffic and customer acquisition.
Google’s ongoing updates to the search algorithm, ranking factors, and SERPs continue to have ripple effects on marketers everywhere. It’s becoming more challenging to follow the moving target of SEO effectiveness. This game has its own set of rules when it comes to local search.