“Google is rapidly moving towards a time when HTTPS will be an absolute necessity for websites,” writes David Mihm to Mike Blumenthal. “As soon as this month if an http:// website contains any input field, users will start getting scary security messages.”
“When you buy a new Samsung device, the phone just does more than the iPhone or any other Android,” says Mayur Kamat, Hiya’s VP of product. “Without downloading or installing anything, the user can call a business in the same way they call their friends and family.”
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.
The company’s chief executive, Jared Rowe, talked about where YP saw its sweet spot. In particular, he spoke of a “blended” print and digital model where publishers could move consumers “back and forth, and in between” to create more value for local businesses.
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.”
With so many people blocking traditional advertising, a growing proportion of internet users cannot be reached through “classic” search engine marketing. That’s why in the context of ad blocking, SEO is still king.
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.”
According to a new report from YP, 37% of consumers won’t consider local businesses with inconsistent information online, and 32% won’t consider a business with the wrong information listed on its website. Even inconsistent messaging and website content is enough to dissuade multi-channel shoppers.
Like it or not, SMBs have become far more educated and sophisticated with regard to digital media, and are in a much better position to hold their providers accountable. As a result, providers now must look for ways to more cost effectively provide higher quality products.
When a business launches a new product, or, say, the latest Harry Potter adaptation hits the market, retailers are often challenged to update their location pages in a timely manner to show the availability of the product for consumers who rely on local search to find what they want nearby.
“The biggest opportunity [will materialize] as we start to see technology platforms look at areas outside of their sweet spot,” says the company’s VP of business development. “We’ve heard rumblings around technology companies looking to purchase more agency solutions, as well as vice versa: agencies looking to acquire for tech.”
“Obviously Google still controls a fair bit of the searcher’s pre-purchase mindshare, and they obviously want to retain that role,” writes Mike Blumenthal. “They are also fighting like crazy to be relevant in a world where 50% (and growing) of users’ total digital media time is spent in Apps.”
The mandate for brands is simple: manage data attributes as a crucial element of your location marketing strategy. But it’s not enough to create attributes. You need to constantly monitor the ever-changing nature of your business and your customers and be ready to act on your attributes as needed.
A great site with proper titles, tags and meta descriptions alongside good and relevant ad copy, and an intelligent approach to drive the maximum number of relevant clicks, is the best defense for the local business against the self-awareness of the RankBrain machine.
Managing location data across hundreds and thousands of locations requires dedicated resources to scale the data and change it. Just as importantly, a business must treat location data as a competitive asset, organized and managed like inventory.
The reduction of local search real estate represents a huge challenge to marketers, who must work even harder to ensure their clients’ listings can compete in a shrinking field. It also suggests that a strategy combining organic and paid efforts is becoming ever more important.
Google continues to remind businesses that location data is the foundation of their brands. The question is whether your business is taking advantage of the opportunities Google is creating to use location data to build your brand.
So far, digital services, even those focused on local, have done more to atomize local communities than unite them, training us to rely on anonymous resources for the information and recommendations we used to get from our friends and neighbors.
Yelp took another step in its expansion into the online booking arena this morning, with the announcement that it would be adding five new platform partners to its roster: Whittl, TicketNetwork, delivery.com for laundry, Peek and foodjunky.