72 episodes

Exploring the big stories for the week at the intersection of local business & marketing across the spectrum of search, social and commerce. With Greg Sterling, Mike Blumenthal & David Mihm.

The Near Memo Greg Sterling, Mike Blumenthal & David Mihm

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 5 Ratings

Exploring the big stories for the week at the intersection of local business & marketing across the spectrum of search, social and commerce. With Greg Sterling, Mike Blumenthal & David Mihm.

    Entities not keywords, key to search, Google Offers shows playbook, Data privacy even more important

    Entities not keywords, key to search, Google Offers shows playbook, Data privacy even more important

    Time to stop lamenting “zero click” search and to embrace the “messy middle” of Google’s entity search and barnacle SEO. Understanding how Google has remade all of search from inventory to brands into entity search as a way to help consumers make a decision is key to building out a successful search optimization strategy. 
    Google is leveraging ever more granular product entities and product information to create a local product search experience that Amazon can’t compete with. 
    Privacy should be a right not a convoluted opt out process. Most users, in choosing to not allow Apple’s app tracking show the way forward on privacy - opt in not opt out. While it is unlikely the federal government will go there states will. Hopefully sooner rather than later. 
    The Near Memo is a weekly conversation about Search, Social, and Commerce: What happened, why it matters, and the implications for local businesses and national brands.
    Near Memo Ep 71

    • 29 min
    Google Search Quality Declining?, Google Local Test & Self-preferencing, Shifting search behaviors

    Google Search Quality Declining?, Google Local Test & Self-preferencing, Shifting search behaviors

    There's a growing perception that Google is in decline or dying. In an article in the Atlantic, Charlie Warzel interviews Marie Haynes, Dannie Sullivan and Rand Fishkin to try to understand his growing dissatisfaction with Google’s results. Is it too commercial, too corporate or too sanitized? He is not sure but he does know its not what it used to be.
    What would Google local search results look like if Google couldn't put the Local 3-Pack at the top of search results? A recently discovered test may give us a clue. New 'Local Cards' have appeared in organic results. They offer less information but still link to GBP pages, not local websites.Even if this test is abandoned, we need to be prepared for change in local SEO and local marketing if the anit-self-preferencing act passes Congress. . 
    There is growing anecdotal evidence that users are switching to alternative methods to discover local goods and services. Is GenZ ready to abandon Google? Have they already moved on to TikTok and Instagram? Google has lost other search battle before but have managed, by hook or by crook, to stay relevant. 
    The Near Memo is a weekly conversation about Search, Social, and Commerce: What happened, why it matters, and the implications for local businesses and national brands.
    Near Memo Ep 70

    • 32 min
    The power of great CX, What % of searches are local? Antitrust laws & how marketing might change

    The power of great CX, What % of searches are local? Antitrust laws & how marketing might change

     Chewy’s provides great CX and it goes viral: When a dog owner’s pet died and they asked Chewy to refund their unused food, the company went above and beyond. In doing so, they demonstrated the incredible viral value of great customer service. A simple customer service act provides bountiful returns. 
    A look at the top 1000 Google queries on the desktop and what it says about local: Kevin Indig of Shopify looked at the top 1000 searches on Google Desktop. Interestingly at least ⅓ were local in intent and most of those were branded local searches.
    John Oliver & Rand Fishkin look at the two antitrust bills that might pass this summer: John Oliver, like many comedians these days, does a  better job of explaining the antitrust bills in front of Congress than the news does. And he is more fun to listen to. Rand Fishkin looks at how the bills will dramatically change what we do as marketers.

    The Near Memo, with David Mihm, Greg Sterling & Mike Blumenthal, is a weekly conversation about Search, Social, and Commerce: What happened, why it matters, and the implications for local businesses and national brands.

    • 33 min
    Amazon doing Local Ads, Yep it, Apple BNPL & Search developments, Auto created Google Ads showing up

    Amazon doing Local Ads, Yep it, Apple BNPL & Search developments, Auto created Google Ads showing up

    Amazon has been posting new job positions for “rare opportunity to join a start-up business within Amazon Ads and play a strategic role in building the future of Local Ads”. It is hard to know exactly what it is they are building but talk of building relationships with agencies, clients, and service providers to scope solutions, partnerships, and business opportunities that result in the acceleration of Amazon's Advertising growth in New York City, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Seattle and Chicago. Regardless, it is clear that they are looking to grow their ad business via local and looking to take Google (and perhaps Walmart) on directly in the space.

    Can Yep It get off the ground and sustain an income stream or is it just another “ankle biter”. There are many wannabes in the search space with many different models, Yep It is trying to partner with content creators first and foremost. Although the question remains how will they get consumer uptake to make it work?

    There was a great deal of speculation about an “Apple Search Engine” with dreams of a Google competitor that actually had consumer support. What Apple in fact did do was elevate Spotlight to a place of prominence and use AI, the Siri Knowledge Graph and local access to deliver on an improved “federated” search as a feature not a destination. While they were at it they rolled out an incredibly consumer friendly buy now pay later plan that apparently does not get reported to the credit bureaus if you drop the ball
    The Near Memo is a weekly conversation about Search, Social, and Commerce: What happened, why it matters, and the implications for local businesses and national brands.
    EP 68 Near Memo

    • 29 min
    Apple search engine, GBP product kerfuffle, Walmart stores to be used for 3rd party local delivery

    Apple search engine, GBP product kerfuffle, Walmart stores to be used for 3rd party local delivery

    Rumors have surfaced that Apple will roll out a general purpose search engine at WWDC this week. Will it be browser based? Available on the desktop? Apple has historically favored “search as a feature” over the years as they have slowly built out Siri, Spotlight and Safari search. The UI/UX could use a refresh and it could become more obvious but will it be a Google replacement? Probably not. 
    The disappearance of the Product feature from the Google Business Profile caused lots of speculation.
    Whether it was a bug or a very small test that was not meant to be seen, the removal of the Product feature from the Google Business Profile (and to be replaced by Merchant Center) last week lead many to soul search about the role of real time inventory in Google’s push for ever more granular data. Google has been taking a holistic commerce strategy (online and in-store inventory) to create a more complete consumer offering than Amazon. 
    Walmart announced that they will offer last mile same day delivery to 3rd parties from their stores
    Walmart continues to push the boundaries of on-line/offline commerce and publicly shared that they will be using their many locations as a warehouse and point of delivery for 3rd party resellers. Can their retail stores efficiently function in this capacity? Can they compete with both Google AND Amazon with this strategy?
    The Near Memo is a weekly conversation about Search, Social, and Commerce: What happened, why it matters, and the implications for local businesses and national brands.
    Near Memo Ep 67

    • 22 min
    Walmart does drones, GML: AI, automation & images are future, Local inventory ad unit mimics 3-pack

    Walmart does drones, GML: AI, automation & images are future, Local inventory ad unit mimics 3-pack

    Walmart announced that they were rolling out drone delivery in 6 states this week, offering upto 100,000 picked in the local store. Meanwhile Gorrila (Europe’s largest food delivery company announced massive layoffs and UberEats continued to struggle to find a profitable path forward. Walmart’s many rural & suburban stores gives them a unique advantage in driving their own, same day delivery service. Interestingly Amazon’s drone work seems to have stalled.   
    Google is moving full steam ahead on a vision of search and advertising that includes an ever increasing amount of AI driven automation and an ever increasing amount of images and other visuals in the search results. They noted at the GML event that “​​we're transforming the SERPS into an endless stream of visual ideas”.  Google sees automated retail ads and local as their path to compet with Amazon
    Google testing new Local inventory ad unit that looks like the 3-pack
    The Near Memo is a weekly conversation about Search, Social, and Commerce: What happened, why it matters, and the implications for local businesses and national brands.
    Near Memo Ep 66

    • 25 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
5 Ratings

5 Ratings

Caroline Ngu. ,

Relevant, timely insights on local search

With this podcast, now it’s easier for me to stay up to date on the local search industry with its constant mergers, product updates, and evolving consumer behaviors. The hosts keep it fun and casual while explaining the history and context behind industry trends. I appreciate the different types of formats (email, podcast, blog).

Jonathan C. Hall ,

For local digital marketing news/insight, put this on your shortlist

It's a privilege to listen in as these three veterans of local digital marketing riff on a handful of cherry-picked industry news stories each week. The episodes are short but substantive. And the format brings both range and relevance. The Near Memo highlights some of the most interesting and important developments in local: moves by big tech monoliths, rising new entrants in the market, and just interesting new data that comes to light. If you're going to listen to one podcast in this space, put this one on your shortlist. (Great name BTW, just search "podcast near me"!)

AaronWeiche ,

Great coverage of local digital landscape

It’s hard to get better hosts than Mike, David and Greg for the topic of local search, social and commerce. All experienced industry thought leaders. Easy flow and great range of sources each episode. If you want to plug into the direction of local and digital, subscribe now.

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