Then vs. Now: 10 Years of Local Search

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.

The Hidden Opportunity Cost of Google Plus: Review Volume

Blumenthal: I was able to look at reviews per month since 2015 for a large number of restaurant locations across the sites that are now common in the restaurant industry. Interestingly, Yelp’s and TripAdvisor’s review volume is roughly the same now as it was in January 2015, while you can see that Google’s review volume is now roughly 10x that of either of those two sites. And Google was receiving fewer reviews per location per month than either Yelp or TA in early 2015.

There is an interesting but not totally obvious point on the slide where Google’s review volume starts to take off and that is April 2016. For those of you who don’t track Google minutiae quite the way that I do, that was the month when Google finally separated reviews from Google Plus and no longer required a Plus profile to leave a review. 

The Increasing Impact of Reviews and Google+ (?!) on Local SEO

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.”

How SMBs Can Boost Their Online Reviews Without Breaking the Bank

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.

What Local Marketers Can Learn From the Trials of Google Plus

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.