The History and Value of Citations, or Citations are Dead, Long Live the Citation

Mihm to Blumenthal: Setting aside the fact that the vast majority of calls you receive from non-Google directories are from salespeople, if you’re paying for an expensive citation service with analytics, compare the non-Google numbers to your GMB Insights. It’s going to be a drop in the bucket.

It’s time that every brand, regardless of size, ask itself whether going beyond Google, Facebook, and maybe Yelp is worth paying any premium. 

If a tree falls in the citation forest and no customers are there to see it, not only does it not make a sound, but Google doesn’t care that it fell.

Retailers Leverage Prime Day to Boost Offline Sales

Unlike other shopping “holidays,” like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Amazon Prime Day is specific to a single retailer. But as the event grows, other retailers—both online and offline—are finding ways to leverage the anticipation that consumers are feeling.

Last year, 63% of Prime Day shoppers said they visited competing websites to compare prices. This is a major opportunity for online retailers to capitalize on the spike in traffic and provide consumers with personalized and targeted offerings and exclusive deals.

What’s the Relative Impact of Google My Business vs. Websites on Conversion?

Blumenthal to Mihm: The consumer is on a journey and is close to making a decision when they are seeing you on Google. Whether they make it at the Business Profile on Google or at the website, it is imperative that your profile at Google has enough information to confer trust. Otherwise, the end user will just move on to the next profile and never make it to your site.

Want to Know How Long the Wait For that Hot New Restaurant Is? There’s a Google Integration for That

Building on the Reserve with Google offerings that have made the tech giant’s SERPs the new homepage of local businesses, Google seems to be adding a feature that allows people searching for local restaurants to sign up for a waitlist. Busy folks with a penchant for busy eateries rejoice. 

Google Posts: Less Visible but Still Valuable

Mihm to Blumenthal: Google has been making a serious effort to get more business owners more engaged with Google My Business over the past 12-18 months. The irony is, though, that deprecating the success business owners can see from easy, compelling offerings like Posts makes them less likely to remain engaged. It’s a little bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. That said, and despite my initial skepticism about Posts, I have become a long-term believer.

Voice Search Readiness in 2019 and Beyond

Bernadette Coleman: 2019 is here. While the focus in recent weeks has been predictions on the digital marketing trends that are expected to emerge this year, I would argue that one of the most important measures brands need to take in 2019 is to implement a full-scale voice search readiness strategy, if they have not already.

Voice’s Local Impact in 2018 and 2019

Street Fight’s Mike Boland explained in a white paper on voice this year that there’s a number of misconceptions regarding how the medium will play out in local search and commerce, and there’s plenty of research out there to illuminate where voice is really headed. I outline some key insights about voice as brands and SMBs alike make plans to tackle it in the months to come.

Google Testing Restaurant Booking, Foreshadowing Ever Tighter Grip on Local Commerce

The news is an important signal that local-commerce options like Reserve with Google will get sleeker and more dominant in the years to come. And it calls to mind a crucial local-search debate: Will Google SERPs and the many options for engagement with local brick-and-mortars on them effectively supplant the local business website as the crucial interface for interacting with customers?

GMB App Adds Support for Service-Area Businesses

As of late last week, Google is offering an update to the Google My Business app that adds support for service-area businesses. Earlier in November, a Local Search Forum blog post indicated that Google would be adding features to help such businesses with local customers.

Efficacy of Google Posts Drops Following Relegation to Bottom of Knowledge Panel

Following a seemingly arbitrary choice on Google’s part to move Posts to the bottom of the Knowledge Panel, their efficacy in boosting businesses’ local search presence seems to be dropping.

Evolving Our Lens for Local Ranking Factors

Blumenthal and Mihm: We in the Local Search industry are not served by relying so heavily on traditional SEO logic and tools—in our approach to the Local Pack, our understanding of the ranking factors, and even what we suggest to clients as appropriate activities.

Consumers’ Reliance on Online Reviews, Evolving Rapidly, Is Reshaping Local Search

Recommendations gradually exchanged in person are now flooding webpages, most notably Google’s SERPs. Twenty-seven percent of consumers are now reading reviews of local businesses every day, marking a staggering jump from just 12% in 2017, according to a recent report.

Heard on the Street, Episode 17: Local SEO and Seeing the Matrix, with Andrew Shotland

What are the latest developments in local search ranking factors and SEO? These were a few topics we batted around with Local SEO Guide CEO Andrew Shotland on the latest episode of Street Fight’s Heard on the Street podcast.

2018 Ranking Factors Report Emphasizes GMB and Reviews

Damian Rollison: The annual report’s main takeaways are clear: to rank competitively for local searches today, you must focus your attention on three areas: one, providing Google with as much relevant local content as possible; two, pleasing your customers, pointing them to where they can review your business, and responding to their reviews; and three, creating a useful, relevant local landing page or website with authoritative backlinks.

Q&A: Does Google’s Latest Product Mean Death by a Thousand Cuts for Brands

Google really left businesses hanging with the Q&A release, Mike BLumenthal tells David Mihm in their biweekly column: “We had enough engineering cycles that we could “step into the breach” of what is obviously a big brand problem. Whether it is long term or not depends on what Google can parse from the questions in terms of improving results. “

Local SEOs: Don’t Play These Google Games

Trying to game Google today is not worth the risk. Yet every day I see examples online and talk to digital marketers, agencies and businesses who are still trying to trick Google. Whether you’re optimizing your client’s business or your own, here are a few local SEO games you should stop playing with Google.

Can Facebook Contend in Local Search?

Facebook has been formidable in a few key areas of local — mostly among SMBs. It has penetrated further in SMB adoption than any other entity to date, and Street Fight data indicates sustained growth. That’s half the battle for Facebook: The other half is gaining equal favor as a local search and discovery engine among users.

Sponsored Content: Optimizing Map Listings to Drive Search Results

In this article, we will take a close look at the role that maps and map listings, such as Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Bing Maps, are playing in the local search ecosystem. We will delve into how the data from those services is driving desktop, mobile, and voice search.

On the Various Challenges Facing European Publishers (and Some Solutions)

“As audiences age out, the number of print subscribers will plummet, and as older small business owners retire, old ways of doing business … retire with them as well,” David Mihm writes to Mike Blumenthal. “Legacy media companies that don’t evolve rapidly are going to be left with no audience and no customers.”

Is the Camera the ‘New Search Box’ for Local Discovery? Part II

It’s often said in the ad-tech world, and other sectors that are reliant on data, that “Content is King, but Data is God.” This is increasingly true in local ad-tech and martech given the need for “ground-truth” conversions to attribute ROI. And it will equally apply in local AR.