David Mihm and Mike Blumenthal offer their take on a decade in local search. Among other topics, they take stock of Google’s dominance.
Mike: Now, it seems that the battle to become the hegemon of local has been signed, sealed, and delivered by Google not just in the US but worldwide. Their well-played hand with Android seems to have been the push they needed. And they managed to gain a totally dominant position IN SPITE of the Google Plus fiasco, which started around that time.
David: Google Plus! I’d honestly forgotten about that debacle already. In our little corner of the world, the fact that Google could waste all those years, person hours, and billions of dollars developing Google Plus and still ascend to its current position in local search shows you just what a colossal opportunity Facebook has missed in this space.
Some new data has given us some “big time insight” into how Google is using authoritative local sites to inform local search rankings, says David Mihm. Mike Blumenthal agrees, saying that the prominence of local review pages and appears to be “transferring prominence directly to the local entity in a way that is totally independent of links.”
Online reviews play an increasingly important role in helping local businesses stand out from the competition. But getting that strong rating on Yelp – or TripAdvisor, Google Plus, or Foursquare – requires a concerted effort on the part of the local business and its marketing partners. Here are some steps that can help earn a few more five-star votes.
With Google’s recent announcement that Google Plus will be decoupled from YouTube and other services, industry watchers are predicting that this may be the beginning of the end for the social network. Here are a few lessons a local marketer might learn from the social network’s challenges.