As the media world continues to expand and fragment, services targeted at local businesses are likewise evolving into a more holistic set of marketing channels. A good example of that evolution can be seen at ThriveHive, as we discussed with the company’s newest member and longtime Street Fight contributor, David Mihm, on the latest episode of Heard on the Street.
The introduction of a new Knowledge Graph layer in the form of “Topics” indicates to me that Google’s latest efforts in this arena will extend in two directions beyond Local entities. I see these linkages extending all the way up the search journey to initial consideration and even further down the funnel beyond Local entities.
Voice is the future of online search, but not enough businesses are prepared for the transition. To that end, the local SEO firm Synup recently released a product it’s calling the Voice Readiness Test to help brands discover how their search results sound to consumers using popular hands-free systems such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
Online-to-offline (O2O) commerce is one area where AR will find a home. Just think: Is there any better technology to unlock O2O commerce than one that literally melds physical and digital worlds? AR can shorten gaps in time and space that currently separate those interactions (e.g. search) from offline outcomes.
Artificial intelligence is the future of search engines. Increasingly conversational, intelligent, and visual, search engines are adapting to become the centerpiece of consumer engagement, as well as a virtually new tool for marketers. Purna Virji, senior manager for global engagement at Microsoft/Bing, broke down the AI revolution in search at Street Fight Summit Wednesday.
For many years, Physical Address in City of Search was the most important ranking factor, but it has now been overtaken by Proximity of Address to the Point of Search (Searcher-Business Distance). As such, the canonical local search use case has become a mobile user searching for a business nearby his or her current location.
GoDaddy today is releasing a new Web hosting product that the company says makes it easier for anyone, regardless of their technical proficiency, to run high-traffic, e-commerce sites. It’s also a way for SMBs to gain access to more management and security options for their websites while sticking to a budget.
“The flow of dollars from businesses of all sizes has clearly been away from lower-performance niche platforms into boosted Facebook posts,” writes David Mihm. “We can debate the value of that activity, but relative to the questionable/delayed/opaque performance of so many digital ad products, Facebook seems to have found a sweet spot.”
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.”