How Siri Works and Why It Matters for Local

It’s pretty clear that Siri’s interpreter can examine a spoken query for syntax and keywords in order to trigger what it thinks is the most relevant web service. Often when Siri gets it wrong, this is because it has made a mistake about which service to call. In my experience, Siri is somewhat over-eager to assume you want local businesses when you say a word that sounds like a product or service category…

Waze Highlights Inconsistencies in Local Data

There are too many different ways to categorize businesses, and none of them represents a unified standard for online search. Such a standard if widely implemented would make all businesses categorized as grocery stores line up neatly with each other and would provide a significant boost in overall relevancy…

What Can Online Directories Learn From the Yellow Pages?

I’m not advocating a return to the phone book, but I am curious about the lesson it might have to teach us. In particular, the notion of restricted and curated data sets may be worth a revisit. Without foregoing the benefits of scalability, search sites could do more to enable the curation of local data by business owners and other members of local communities…

How Can Local Search Better Serve Service-Oriented Businesses?

Local search isn’t just about brick and mortar. In fact, a very large number of the local businesses we interact with on a frequent basis are service-area oriented. And yet service-oriented businesses make something of a poor fit in a local search model that is oriented toward my physical location and the proximity of nearby businesses on a map…

Reputation Management: Making the Connection with Small Businesses

Now that everyone has a timeline of online activities going back several years — one that family members, prospective employers, and potential life partners are looking at and judging us by — we have all become public figures to an extent, and at the same time we’ve had to transform ourselves into hall monitors of our own online activities. So why hasn’t reputation management become a de facto part of every small business marketing plan?

Where Do Business Listings Come From?

At some point in the future, local data must become purely digital, because the phone book will not be around forever. But until a critical mass of U.S. businesses understands the rationale for managing online data, this fundamental problem will continue. We need the concerted effort of all local search players to educate the local business community and advocate for the transition to digital data…

Deep Data and the Semantics of Local

In the case of local search, there is no prevailing reason beyond lack of attention to prevent the industry from doing a better job of serving the full range of consumer needs. For the time being, industry attention is still directed in a self-fulfilling way toward the activities that have always received attention. This is the safe bet, but safe bets don’t lead to progress…

The Long Tail of Local Search

Far from invisible tools that merely get you to the store or service you want, local search products actually tell a story about the needs local search companies think they are trying to fulfill, demonstrating in some cases a stark contrast between the actual habits of the local consumer and the assumptions of local apps and websites…

6 Tools SMBs Can Use to Update Digital Directory Listings

Almost half of all business listings on hyperlocal services and online directories include information that is outdated, incorrect, or incomplete — a major problem given that 92% of people use online directories to research products or services in their areas. Here are six platforms that merchants can use to improve the accuracy of their directory listings and increase their businesses’ exposure online…

Yext Partners With UBL, Begins Push to Scale

The reapproachment between the competitors indicates a substantial shift in strategy for both companies as Yext looks for scale and UBL repositions its brand. UBL appears to be pushing forward with a full-service SEO/listings management product. Conversely, Yext is planting its flag as a technology play…