The Near Memo

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Ep 160: GBP Chat is Dead, Consumers Frustrated with Search too, Local Takeaways from the API Leak
Google Business Profile Chat is dead, long live GBP with WhatsApp, Scorpion survey highlights growing consumer frustrations with Google Search, 3 Local takeaways from the Google API leak.
Ep 159: Rand Fishkin interview: The importance of the the Google Search Leak
Rand Fishkin helps us explore the implications of the Google Web Search leak, how it impacts our understanding of how the search ranking aglo actually works & some thoughts on new tactics to explore
Ep 158: New SAB Local Ranking Factor & Interpreting Google AI Tea leaves around Search
Is Service Area a new SAB ranking factor in Google local? What do Google’s comments around web traffic in the AI Overview era really mean and what can we learn about Google’s struggles in this new era Part 1 starts 00:13 - New SAB Local Ranking Factor
Ep 157: ChatGPT & Google I/o: How Will Users & SEOs Adapt to the New Google AI Features
ChatGPT 4o makes an impression while undercutting Google I/O, Google I/O’s chaos largely reflects the confusion and complexity that haunts Google, How should we think about SEO going forward?
Ep 156: Google finally fixing LSA reviews? Why Google fails, DOJ slide deck details abusive Google ad practices
Will Google finally fix LSA reviews in the U.S & what do their LSA failures say about Google’s process? How Google search has consistently failed to reward the best content with their new updates, The DOJ slide deck detailing Google’s abusive monopoly search ad practices: Kills it!
Ep 126: (from the vault) Do searchers use Local Finder?, How many links does a local website need? Google’s BS around content
We’re taking the week off, but here’s an episode (#126) from the “vault” that we think you’ll enjoy! Part 1 starts 00:13 - Do Google searchers enter the Local Finder? Local SEOs wonder whether searchers actually enter the Local Finder from the Pack results. We often think no but
Ep 155: An interview with Dana DiTomaso: To Google GA4 analytics hell & back again
We take a deep dive into Google GA4 analytics with Dana Ditomaso: what you need to know, the limits of data, how to get the most benefits and how to overcome its deficiencies
Ep 154: Ad Sales Up, Physician Guilty of Violating Federal Review Law, Content Only as Good as ChatGPT Will Fail
IAB annual Report: Digital Ads up but Ad market dominated by a few players, Seattle physician found guilty of violating Federal Consumer Review Fairness Act, If your content is only as good as ChatGPT you will fail.
Ep 153: Standardizing Review Processes to Avoid Fear, Google Cries Wolf Around DMA, The Future of SGE
Reviews are Like Death & Taxes & Should be Treated that Way, Google Cries ’Wolf” When it Comes to DMA Compliance, SGE about to get real but will it be any good?
Ep 152: Conversation with John Jantsch: How your agency can increase retention & profitability by offering a fractional CMO as a service
In this episode with John Jantsch we discuss the he need to move SMBs from tactics to strategy & how agencies can increase profits by developing a fractional CMO capacity to do that.
Ep 151: Google goes to Brussels & attempts to defend their DMA compliance
Google tried to conquer and divide in Brussels at their recent DMA compliance seminar. Their presentation, while slick, left it unclear whether the EU would see their actions as compliant.
Ep 150: How on page factors & Google updates, Learnings from a G Quality Rater, What is the future of SEO?
Special Cyrus Shepherd interview. What on-page factors are associated with sites that see big gains or declines after Google updates? How one quality rater thinks Google Quality Rater Guidelines should influence our sites. What is the future of SEO and Google?
Ep 149: Google’s Core Update & FUD, Brightlocal Consumer Review Survey, Do Searchers Use the Local Finder?
Google’s March Core Update: Enforceable or just FUD? Key findings from the recent BrightLocal review survey ; How Often Do Searchers Use the Local Finder?
Ep 148: Consumer Research Highlights Limited Impact of DMA Mandated Google’s SERP Changes
Consumer Research Highlights Limited Impact of DMA Mandated Google’s SERP Changes, The rise of zero-click Searches is a challenge to content publishers and a boon for Google Business Profiles, The EU faces regulatory challenges vis a vis Google’s Self-Preferencing in Local search results
Ep 147: Long tail searcher behaviors, Gemini switch appears, Content publishing being upended by search
Long tail searcher behaviors: 10% of Discovery searches involve a brand search on Google, Gemini search now a front and center toggle in the Google App, Content publishing being upended by search - Can it change?
Ep 146: G-SERPs product searches, Google PR around review removals is puffery, Google Maps SGE a hot mess
Google adds Reddit to product searches and spammers follow, Google announces review removals with PR puffery, Google Maps AI (SGE) a hot mess
Ep 145: Will AI Improve SMB Websites? GMaps Getting Gemini, Bright Local Brand Survey Takeaways
Consumers overwhelmingly prefer AI-generated content over human-created , will it improve SMB websites? Google Maps is getting smarter with conversational AI, BrightLocal Brand Beacon Report 2024 reveals insights into multi-location marketing strategies
Ep 144: 10 years of SERP changes, Hidden Gems update is impacting Local Search, New EU Local Search Results
What 10 years of changes to the SERPS mean for marketers today, How the “Hidden Gems” update is impacting Local Search, New EU Local Search Results Part 1 starts 00:13 - What 10 years of changes to the SERPS mean for marketers today We discuss Andy Crestodina’s most
Ep 143: Fired Google Raters replaced w/ AI? SEO Tools are just tools, Hidden Gems & decline of Big Social
Will fired Google quality raters ultimately be replaced with AI? We think so. SEO Tools, with their assumptions and inherent limitations are just tools and should be used for guidance not truth. Google’s Hidden Gems update and the decline of Big Social point to rethinking your content strategy.
Ep 142: SGE NOT the Future?, GBP End Days? Google Chooses Sizzle over Steak
SGE has huge impacts but is still likely to continue as just a testing ground for AI search, As GBP nukes features, what is the future of the GBP dashboard as a hub for SMBs? Should a distracted Google be focusing on the basics to protect their franchise?
Ep 141: Google Guarantee LSA Scam & Honest Businesses, Did Google Create a Shitty Internet? Generative AI & its Impact on Google
How the Google Guarantee scam impacts honest businesses, Did Google’s dominance result in a shitty Internet? New generative AI developments, the future of Consumer Preferences and their impact on Search
Ep 140: Businesses & Google SGE, Google Goes All in On Interstitials, Where is Bard Going?
What should businesses do about Google SGE?, Google goes all in on Interstitials in attempt to get the iPhone users to switch from Safari to Chrome, Google Product Manager asks for Bard suggestions on Reddit
Ep 139: The Google Review Fraud Landscape in Maps & LSA and How a Business Should Respond
In this interview with Curtis Boyd of the Transparency Company we discuss the current state of review fraud, LSA review fraud and how businesses can cope with the ever increasing amount of fake reviews.
Ep 138: Google’s Reactive Behavior to Search Quality, LSA Ad Efficiency, Notebook LM: AI for the Rest of US
Will Google’s Reactive Behavior to Broken Search Quality & AI Solve Their Problems? LSA Ad Efficiency and Google’s Transition to a UX That is AI Driven, Google’s Incredible Notebook LM IS the Future of AI For the Rest of Us
Ep 137: Can Gemini Fix Search? The Impact of Google’s Rating Bias, LSA Reviewjacking
Can Gemini Fix Google search by fixing both query refinement and the interface? Why are Google review ratings consistently higher than Yelp or TA and what is the impact? Reviewjacking Reflects Big Problems with Local Service Ads
Ep 136: How Local SEO Agencies are using Generative AI & ChatGPT: Tips, tactics and strategies
Joy Hawkins of Sterling Sky and Darren Shaw of Whitespark share how Generative AI and ChatGPT are transforming their agencies at both a tactical and strategic level to improve content, reporting and employee results.
Ep 135: Google’s newest search features, Whitespark: Reviews by category, Fake review enforcement failures
Google’s Newest Search Features: “Whipped cream on S.H. I. .T”.? Whitespark Research: Exploring the Landscape of Local Business Reviews across 1 Million Listings, There is a lot of work to be done on the fake review front
Ep 134: Google Map new features from useful to bloat?, Citations and their value to Local Search, Google’s New Small Business Attribute: Helpful or Performative ?
Google Map new features from useful to bloat?, Citations and their value to Local Search, Google’s New Small Business Attribute: Helpful or Performative ?
Ep 133: BeanBox – Lessons in Building and Marketing a Consumer Brand
“Running a startup is like being in a knife fight,” BeanBox Co-Founder and CEO Matthew Berk says, as he describes the arduous but rewarding journey from the world of SaaS to making a real-world consumer product.
Ep 132: GBP Call History returns, Local Trust Report, SGE Where now?
GBP Call History’s History - What does it say about Google?Bright Local Local Business Discovery and Trust Report, How will Google’s SGE impact local search and what will it deliver?
Ep 131: Bulk Dashboard Comeback?, GBP listing cleanup, Alternatives to Google search
Does recent Insights upgrade indicate new life for the GBP multi-location dashboard? GBP listing cleanup & more rigorous verification might mean less fraud but more work for honest businesses & agencies, Half of all users indicate dissatisfaction with Google but defaults make change hard.
Ep 130: So Clicks are a ranking signal? Google Comments on Review Fraud, Bard enhanced with extensions
“Clicks Are Not a ranking signal” except when they are, Google Comments on Review Fraud: “We are the victim here”, Google’s local and travel data creates better AI experience
Ep 129: High Impact Content Marketing in the Age of AI
In this expanded guest episode, author Purna Virji brings her many years of experience as a journalist, PR veteran, search marketer, speaker and content creator to content strategy and marketing.
Ep 128: What and why of review fraud on Google & how to deal with it
An interview with Curtis Boyd of the Transparency Company on the big picture of review fraud - who does it and why, How to deal with it, and whether the new FTC fake review guidelines and rules and Google’s new(wish) filter mean for possible enforcement
Ep 127: Google Antitrust case unlikely to change anything, GBP deduping form, Searchers go deep & wide in the SERPS
Upcoming Google Anit-trust case unlikely to change much of anything in the world of search, GBP (Google business Profile) support finally introduces a form to dedupe listings in Google Maps, When searching, consumers consider many results
Ep 126: Do searchers use Local Finder?, How many links does a local website need? Google’s BS around content
Part 1 starts 00:13 - Do Google searchers enter the Local Finder? Local SEOs wonder whether searchers actually enter the Local Finder from the Pack results. We often think no but our research indicates that not only do searchers enter the Local Finder on a regular basis, they also
Ep 125: SMBs search to find services, GBP supports bends to European regs, No copyright for AI
Small and very small businesses (VSMBs) use search as a primary way to find new services, Google Business Profile (GBP) support is rapidly coming into compliance with new European regulations, AI generated artwork is NOT covered by copyright
Ep 124: GBP support using gig workers, SGE while browsing rolls out, AI Generated review summaries roll out
Google Ambassadors (i.e. Gig Workers) now staffing GBP support poorly, New Google feature: Search Generative Experience while browsing, Are AI Generated review summaries the future of platform reviews?
Ep 123: Google VS Chat GPT quality, Google proffers bad advice to CNET, Do consumers actually read reviews?
Google VS Chat GPT Taste Test -which is more satisfying? Google Ad Liaison provided bad pruning advice to CNET, Consumers indicate that reviews are important but do they read them?
Ep 122: New Local ad format, Updated GBP Guideline clarifies policies, Google SGE shows reference links
New Local Ad format is a local ad as local ads should be, New Google Business Profile (GBP) Guidelines clarify long “secret” policies, Google SGE finally includes reference links
Ep 121: Google loses product search share, Phone #s hijacked on Google, Yelp scolds business for soliciting
Google continues to lose product search market share although now to social, Scammers hijack Airline phone numbers on Google…. again, Yelp scolds businesses for soliciting reviews.... again.
Ep 120: Apple Maps KPIs, SEOs & Google quality guidelines, Google SGE usage decline
Apple Maps & Local Opportunities, Learnings from going undercover as a quality rater for Google, Is Google’s AI based SGE a dead end or the future of search?
Ep 119: GA4 enshittification, Twitter alternatives, New FTC review guidance
The enshittification of Google Analytics - GA4 is largely unusable, Twitter, where art thou replacement? The FTC releases new review Guidelines & Rules for Reviews
Ep 118:TikTok IS about local, Google Perspectives perspective, New GBP “by owner” button
Tiktok IS about Local but not the way you think, Google Perspectives: innovation for the SERPs or bandaid to prevent social media flight? New Google GBP feature “By Owner” & new Whitespark tool reflect reality that GBP is rented not owned
Overture Map Foundation goes open source to solve 3D mapping for the “rest of us”
Marc Prioleau has spent a majority of his career in digital mapping. He now is running the Overture Map Foundation, an open source project funded by Meta, Amazon web Services, Tom Tom & Microsoft to provide alternative sources for critical 3d mapping data.
Ep 117: Google LSA reviews suck, Localized stories and visualizations for content, The future of search
Google LSA reviews come, they go but LSA still sucks, Localized stories and visualizations are a path to SEO success for National Local Brands, Are AI driven personal assistants the future of search?
Ep 116: When to ask for reviews, Is SGE a headfake? Is Apple Vision the next platform?
When should you ask for reviews for your business? Is Google SGE the real deal or just a placeholder? Apple Vision Pro might just be the next great thing.
Ep 115: Yelp for sale? Google Merchant Center Next, Does Bard offer an alternative to search?
Activist investor suggests Yelp sale, Google Merchant Center Next - a cool product without market? Bard’s Journey as an Alternative to Google Search
UnBounce - Using AI to increase conversions
AI will transform SAAS. Unbounce shares their journey of using it to move from pixel perfect landing pages to higher converting landing pages and more
Ep 114: GBP Image Not Allowed bug, ChatGPT adds plug-ins & web, Yelp integrates with Google Reserve & Toast
GBP Image Not Approved, a bug or feature & how to tell, ChatGPT has added plug-ins & the web integration sucks, Yelp integration with Google Reserve reflects strange bedfellow and Yelp’s weak position
Ep 113: Google I/O from the mundane to the future of the local customer journey
Google I/O - How to make the interesting seem mundane, Google search and AI = SGE, The Rise of Bard: Expanding the Boundaries of Search, The Future of Search & Implications for Local
Ep 112: Google’s local Knowledge Panel the - CMS you never knew you had: conversations with Claire Carlille
Understanding and managing the ever expanding Google Local Knowledge Panel, Google Local - tracking your way to success, Beyond Google Local - being ready to live without Google
Ep 111: AI reviews on Amazon, Peak GMB listings, Implications of failing news sites
Will AI totally destroy the review economy & what will replace them? Does declining Google Business listing totals reflect “peak” GBP? As social media fueled news sites fail opportunity abounds for sites willing to build own audience
Ep 110: CR Permission Slip eases privacy burden, TA Report Hides Declining Reviews, Google Rushes to AI
Consumer Reports new app, Permission Slip eases privacy requests but is still a baby step, TripAdvisor Review Transparency Report highlights 2022 review increases but hides declining reviews, Google AI PR push masks lapses and fear
Ep 109: Google’s Online Local Ads, Bard & Local SEO, The Impact of Chat on Future of Local Search
Unpacking Online Local Ads (OLA): The Pros and Cons of Google’s New Ad Type for Local Businesses, Bard’s Local SEO: Implications for businesses, The Impact of Chat Engines and Virtual Assistants on the Future of Local Search: Challenges, Promises, and Possibilities
Ep 108: Google merging Bard into Assistant, Wix integrates AI for SMB content, Can GM build a better CarOS?
Will Google merging Bard into Assistant resurrect assistants from the ashes? Wix integrates AI for SMB content in a way that will helps the SMB, Can GM build a better CarOS & throw CarPlay away?
Ep 107: Local Search Ranking Factors Survey with Darren Shaw
Local Search Ranking factors with Darren Shaw: Big Takeaways and big changes from previous years, Local search difference makers & lesser known tactics, Conversion factors and myths
Ep 106: New FTC rules to rein in subscription abuse, Google Bard goes local, Bard is generative not searchy
FTC proposes proposes amending Negative Option Rule to rein in subscription abuse, Google Bard goes local, sort of, The Bard use case is more generative and less searchy
Ep 105: New Google GPB Bug, TikTok rolling out search ads, Social mapping tool Gowalla returns
New Google GPB Bug: Your Business is not visible to customers, TikTok rolling out search ads, will they come to local?, Social mapping tool Gowalla returns to the scene,
Ep 104: Google LSA adds new categories, ChatGPT changing local SAAS, Everyone needs a “how we use AI” FAQ
Google LSA expands to new categories & faces spam, ChatGPT making rapid and differentiating inroads into SAAS tools for Local, Why every company needs a “how we use Generative AI” FAQ
Ep 103: Bing not a Google killer, Yelp research masks market share decline, Dealing with review attacks on Google Business Profiles
Bing isn’t a Google killer but it is important for a number of other reasons, Yelps’ remote work report likely indicates declining Yelp market share, How to deal with fake review attacks at Google
Fake Review Attacks Increase on Google Business Profiles
In Episode 102 of the Near Memo, we discussed how a recently implemented change in the Google Business Profile review filter is leading to more fake review attacks. Below is the video, a supporting graph and a transcript. Transcript Mike: On February 1st, Google wrote an article in the Local
Ep 102: GBP Services impact rank, Local title tag rank research, Google eases review filter, Impact of Google easing review filter to placate Local Guides
Google Business Profile services positively impact rank, Local Seo Guide research: Which geo title tags have the most impact on local search rank? Impact of Google easing review filter to placate Local Guide on fake & missing review reports
Ep 101: Bing transformed by AI, Groceries drive Walmart upscale & Ecommerce invests in PPC & SEO
Microsoft’s transformation of Bing with AI & other smart moves, Walmart overcomes stigma of evil & appeals to upscale shoppers, 100 Ecommerce execs are investing more in SEO & PP
Ep 100: How digital agencies can use AI: a conversation with Joy Hawkins & Kevin Indig
In this extended episode we explore the role AI in general and ChatGPT is having on the work within digital agencies. What are the opportunities and challenges that agencies face when using it?
Ep 99: Own your processes, SEOs need AI for automation, AI will increase fake reviews, now what?
You don’t own Google but you do own your processes, AI and Automation is now officially a thing in SEO, and not just for writing
Ep 98: Mailchimp Campaign Manager, Copyright implications of generative AI, GBP forums provide bug insights
Mailchimp’s Campaign Manager - A sophisticated tool with misaligned marketing, Growing visibility of copyright implications of generative AI precedes solutions, Google’s GBP forums provide insights into bugs, practices and policy
Ep 97: Failings in Apple Business Connect Agency Model, Big agencies define local as a fad in CallRail survey, Technical SEO’s don’t get respect or resources
Failings in Apple Business Connect Agency Model, Big agencies define local as a fad in CallRail survey, Technical SEO’s don’t get respect or resources
Ep 96: Apple Business Connect goes live, Is stack ranking of staff effective? AI productization
Why the new Apple Business Connect is so important, The value of stack ranking as a way to prune employees, AI’s rapid advancements and easy implementation will impact everything from audio chat bots to Excel
Ep 95: AG sues surgeon for review fraud, Shopify targets enterprise retail, Bing to integrate ChatGPT
Washington AG sues Plastic Surgeon for review fraud under the federal Consumer Review Fairness Act for using NDAs to suppress reviews and more, Shopify targets big retail with modern, composable stack for enterprise, Bing to integrate ChatGPT & what that might mean
Ep. 94: Barry Schwartz Talks All Things Google - UI, Algorithms and AI Spam
A fun and engaging conversation with Barry Schwartz about the Google UI, most important algorithm updates, coming impact of AI and whether Google has “gotten worse.”
Ep 93: Age cohorts & reviews, Apple’s Business Register, Google’s Visual Elements → Search complexity
How different age groups think about reviews; Evolution of Apple’s Business Register - Why isn’t Apple targeting the Enterprise? Google’s Visual Elements Gallery demonstrates just how complicated search has become
Ep 92: ChatGPT’s impact on local, How Google’s new review filter works, Google nukes The Beam (boo!)
How ChatGPT’s breakthrough ability to create content will significantly impact local, A deep dive into the common factors in Google Local’s new AI based review filter, David laments Google nuking a joke location that promotes a lame basketball tame
Ep 91: Survey:Buying links works, Why did Alexa fail? Moderation will be at center of Sec 230 debate
Authority Hacker Survey of Linkbuilders: Buying links works & so does content, Alexa pullback by Amazon points to difficulties with Voice, Content Moderation will be at forefront of Sec 230 Fight in 2023
Ep 90: Google Review Bug Saga, Impact of Local Business Reviews, Google’s Misguided Store Finder
Google ‘fesses up’ as the Google review bug saga continues, Takeaways from the Moz ‘Impact of Local Business Reviews on Consumer Behavior’ survey, Google promotes lame store finder to bulk GPB users, adding insult to the injury of forcing the new search (NMX) interface on them.
Ep 89: GPB Bug Nuking Reviews, Google Review Location Surfaced, AirBnB Branding VS SEM for conversions
New Google Suggest Edit bug Nuking reviews? Google Business Profile test Now Showing Local Guide review quantities in a city. Is it helpful? AirBnB stops buying adwords & relies on brand & SEO. Can other brands give up Adwords?
Ep 88: Just How Prevalent Are Zero-Click Search Results? (featuring Marcus Tober of Semrush)
Marcus Tober, SVP of Enterprise Solutions for Semrush, joins Greg and David for this episode of the Near Memo. The trio discusses Semrush’s recent zero-click search study in depth.
Ep 87: Shopify disappoints on retention, SEMRush Zero Click research & Apple Maps vs Google Maps in Europe
Shopify study shows much higher churn than WooCommerce, why & what are the implications? SEMRush zero click study makes the case that the web clicks are still king. Apple Maps makes gains Vs Google Maps Functionality in Europe
Ep 86: (Google 3-Pack) New Branded Ads, GBP Neglect, and Container Retail Models, featuring Krystal Taing
Krystal Taing joins Greg and David to discuss Google’s latest visually-significant ad update, the rapid increase in GBP-related bugs and complaints over the course of the last several months, and the acceleration of the store-within-a-store trend.
Ep 85: Whitespark’s Effort to Reach an Underserved Part of the SMB Market with Its SEO Services
Allie Margeson, Director of SEO Services for Whitespark, joins Greg and David for a deep dive into the logic behind, and the mechanics of, Whitespark’s new three-tiered service offering.
Ep 84: Near Media X NearSt: Google’s Insatiable Appetite for Local Inventory Data
Nick Brackenbury, CEO of NearSt joins Greg and David for a fast-moving conversation about his company’s growth curve alongside the explosion of “near me” searches and Google’s appetite for local inventory in search results since 2015.
Ep 83: How Nerdy Nuts Co-Founder Blended Creativity, PR, Influencer Marketing, and Tiktok to Fuel Success
Craig Mount, Co-Founder and CEO of peanut butter (and media) brand Nerdy Nuts takes us through the trajectory of his company – from starting up selling a handful of jars at a farmer’s market to doing $80,000 in ecommerce sales in just two minutes.
Ep 82: Google goes Astroturf, iOS elevates search but #fails, Search alternatives are blooming, why?
Google doubles down on SMB deception to achieve political goals; iOS 16 elevates search but still fails at local and internet search; A blooming of search alternatives; competitors or ankle biters?
Ep 81: The demise of local audiologists, Content bots for local news, Facebook shutters Neighborhoods
The impending demise of the local audiologists with the arrival of over the counter hearing aids, The growth in the use of content bots for local news, Facebook’s shuttering of Neighborhoods and their persistent failures in local
Ep 80: Google Quick Read- useful or Gen Z bone? Why are Google Posts rejected? Why Nextdoor needs local seo
Is Google’s Quick Read Feature useful or a Gen Z bone? Why Google Posts are rejected - Another Google AI first fail, Why Nearby, TikTok & Instagram need local seo now
Ep 79: Shopify Influencer Play, Google’s Human Content Update; Why now? Google’s AI First Approach is Flawed
Shopify Cretes an Influencer Marketplace, Google’s Human Content Update; Why now? Google’s AI First Approach is often just wrong for business and society
Ep 78: Yelp selling its business data, Google’s Review Spam algo nukes many legit reviews, Tik-Tok for brands
Part 1 David: Yelp has recently publicized their newest revenue stream; selling merchant data to marketers. It seems sleazy and is likely just a money grab by Yelp Part 2 Mike: Day in and day out, small businesses are flocking into the Google Business Profile forum to complain about their
Ep 77: Google whines about iMessage, Axios acquired by Cox, Facebook B2B segments
Google whines to get Apple to integrate iMessage with RCS messaging, Axios’ local play gets highlighted in Cox buyout, Facebook B2B segments hold promise for lower cost, easier targeting
EP 76 - Shopify invests in email, End of location intelligence, E-commerce not eating retail, it is retail
Shopify invests in Klaviyo for increased enterprise appeal, The golden era of hyper detailed location data intelligence is coming to an end, At Covid start E-commerce was eating retail, turns out it is retail and retail is ecommerce
Ep 75: Instagram evolves (?), Google turns off reviews for women’s clinics , Google Commerce SERP Trends
Instagram evolves (?) to target Gen Z but leaves others behind, Google prevents reviews on listings that offer reproductive services, Local Packs show for 77% on Google commerce query SERP results
Ep 74: Amazon & Google pander to the FTC, American Privacy Act: Opt-In/Out Battle, Instagram goes local
Amazon & Google pander to the FTC on reviews, American Privacy Act might become law but Opt-In/Out battle remains, Instagram (& Facebook) finally goes local with discovery search
Ep 73: Indie Bookstores Rebound, Privacy abuses both public & private, Ages 18-25 shun Google for Tik-Tok
Part 1 Video start 0:13 - Indie bookstores have rebounded strongly, why? Part 2 Video start 8:54 - Amidst broad privacy abuses the FTC is looking to target data brokers around location & health info Part 3 Video start 20:46 - What does it mean for search when
Ep 72: Europe’s DMA and DSA to limit gatekeepers , create an even playing field for business online
Part 1 Video start 0:13 - Digital Markets Act attempts to limit gatekeepers & create an even playing field for business online Part 2 Video start 15:23 - The Digital Services Act attempts to create a safe and open environment for consumers. Reference Articles: * US, EU Diverge on Antitrust
Ep 71: Entities not keywords are key to search, Google Offers shows playbook, Data privacy even more important
Entities, not keywords, are the key to SEO so embrace the messy middle, Google Offers shows Google’s playbook for combatting Amazon and dominating transactions, Data privacy has become even more important in light of the Supreme Court decisions
Ep 70: Google Search Quality Declining?, Google Local Test & Self-preferencing, Shifting search behaviors
Part 1 Video start 0:13 - Is Google Full of ‘SEO Chum’ and Less Useful? Part 2 Video start 4:18 - A Look at Google Local Results without ‘Self-Preferencing’ Part 3 Video start 24:59 - Are people now searching less on Google? Reference Articles: The Open Secret
Ep 69: 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, A look at the top 1000 queries on the desktop and what it says about local, John Oliver & Rand Fishkin look at the two antitrust bills that might pass this summer & how that might affect marketing.
Ep 68: Amazon doing Local Ads, Yep it, Apple BNPL & Search developments, Auto created Google Ads showing up
mazon getting into Local Ad space, Yep It search engine looks to deliver creator benefits, Apple delivers Buy Now, Pay Later Solution that is consumer friendly, Apple Spotlight search is moving front & center
Ep 67: Apple search engine, GBP product kerfuffle, Walmart stores to be used for 3rd party local delivery
Apple search engine coming to a browser near you? Google Business Profile product kerfuffle when ability to add products disappeared. Walmart to use stores for 3rd party local delivery.
Ep 66: Walmart does drones, GML: AI, automation & images are future, Local inventory ad unit mimics 3-pack
Part 1 Video start 0:13 - Walmart does drones deliveries ahead of Amazon while gig deliveries are failing Part 2 Video start 7:18 - Google Marketing Live & I/O events point to AI, automation, ads & images as Google’s near future Part 3 Video start 15:53 -
Ep 65: Mourning Bill Slawski, Will people use My Ad Center? Baby formula shortage shows CTR impacts rank
Saying goodbye to Bill Slawsk, a discussion around Goolge’s promised Ad Center and how click throughs really do drive rank on Google.
Ep 64: SMB more successful with content, Google I/O dreams big but puts in stake around Local, Multisearch & Lens + Near Me
SMB more successful with content, typical looks at SMBS often undercounts total ad spend, Google I/O dreams big for hardware but puts in stake around Local, Multisearch & Lens + Near Me
Ep 63: Earth Day promos damage reputation, CX - more than a #, SMBs need an integrated digital approach
Amazon’s Earth Day promotions damage their reputation, Customer feedback & reviews can be so much more than just a number, With in store being up & e-commerce driving expectations, SMBs need an integrated digital approach.
Ep 62: Ratings vs Review Text, Can G Ad automation replace agencies?, Will Musk torpedo Twitter ads?
Ratings vs Review Text - Which is more important for buyer conversions? Performance Max - Is Google’s newly updated automated ad product good enough to replace agencies? What is the future of advertising on Twitter under a Musk regime?
Ep 61: Amazon’s Buy with Prime; AI content & the future of the internet, What content drives SMB research?
Amazon’s new Buy Prime looking to push Prime across much of e-commerce, What is the future on-online content? Will it be AI generated? What content works best for SMB research when buying SAAS products?
Ep 60: Google: Ad Domination, Self-Updating Maps reflects failure to engage, Mobile SERP are Image Serps
Google Search Dominates Digital Advertising, Google’s AI based Self-Updating Maps reflects failure to engage SMBs, Mobile SERP are Image Serps
Ep 59: Live Inventory Improves 3-Pack Rank, LocalU-Spam Study, Review takedowns & Vicinity Update, GA4 Sucks-what’s next?
Google claims Local, Real-time Inventory Improves Rank in the 3 Pack, Joy Hawkins offers LocalU Advanced highlights on Spam impact, review takedowns & and update to the Vicinity Update, GA4 Sucks, can Data Studio & analytic alternatives fill the void?
Ep 58: Antitrust Laws Closer, Google partners with CVS on appts, Consumer review trust down but usage is up
Antitrust Laws against self preferencing closer to passage in US & Europe, Google partners with CVS Minute Clinic on appointments in the Google Business Profile, Consumer review trust down since 2017 but usage is up in the past 2 years
Ep 57: Featured Snippets & Ranking, Consumer Expectations: Chat vs SMS, Google Product Images in Local Packs
Featured Snippets & Ranking- Jumping the Queue; Consumer Expectations for Business Responses: Chat vs SMS; Google Increasingly Showing Product Images in Local Packs to Gain Edge in Product Search Battle
Ep 56: Google goes local w/ product search; FTC: HomeAdvisor cheated SMBs; SMBs dislike direct sales model
Google goes local w/ product search and smaller stores filter, HomeAdvisor accused of cheating service businesses for years by the FTC, How do small businesses prefer to work with Sales people?
Ep 55: Google Sued Over GBP Order CTA, Publishers Sue Ad Providers, Yelp’s 2021 Traffic Declines
Google Sued in class action by restaurants for adding Order buttons through 3rd parties to their Business Profile, Publishers argue ad providers are scraping too much content to deliver contextual ads, Yelp’s 2021 showed solid financials but user and review acquisition headwinds
Ep 54: Review reliance up but trust is down; Amazon kills bookstores for Grocery Business, Nextdoor’s #s
Review reliance up but trust is down, where will it lead? Amazon kills bookstores for Grocery Business, Nextdoor’s 1st earning report surprises with small $, big losses & limited user base.
Ep 53: For sale: Yelp reviews, Core Web Vitals & Local Rank, Google’s SEO training, Google in 10 years
Yelp Elite reviews for sale; Core Web Vitals: No impact on Local ranking, Google offering SEO training, What will Google be in 10 years?
Ep 52: Will Google make SEO superfluous? Is Android Sandbox Real or PR? Wix’s Q4 #s & how big is the SMB market?
Will Google’s new AI summary tool give SEO’s a better understanding of their content? Will it someday make SEO superfluous? Is Google’s Android Privacy Sandbox Real or Performative? What do Wix’s #’s say about how big the SMB market is?
Ep 51: Google spams Congress w/ SMB emails, Amazon hits $31B in Ad sales, Apple Tap to Pay available soon
Google takes astroturf SMB emails to the next level & spams congress for support in their anti antitrust fight; Amazon, breaking out advertising for the first time, did $31B in ads; Apple’s Tap to Pay turns every recent iPhone into a credit card terminal
Ep 50: Meta Takes a Dive, Yelp, Google take review high ground & FTC warns review Platforms
Meta Messes Up But Blames Others; Yelp & Google claim they maintain review quality, & The FTC warns 10 review platforms to stop deceiving customers
Ep 49: GMB PWND by spammer, Google moves toward contextual advertising & The FTC updates review guidelines
Part 1 Video Starts 0:13 - GMB Pwnd; Google abandons FLOCK and moves toward contextual advertising standard with Topics Part 2 Video- Starts 11:06 - The FTC fines Fashion Nova and establishes new review guidelines Part 3 Video- Starts 21:01 - The practical implications of the new
Ep 48: Bill to end surveillance ads, SMB use of SAAS tools low but growing, Niantic’s path to the metavearth
Radical bill to ban the use of personal data proposed in response to surveillance capitalism, Interesting survey of new SMBs indicate low but growing use of SAAS tools, Niantic is making AR interesting, profitable and more useful now enroute to the metavearth
Ep 47: Vendasta buys MatchCraft, Business required vax shows path, TLDR bill requires TOS simplification
Vendasta buys MatchCraft and adds PPC to their mix, Despite Supreme Court decision the path forward for business is clear, TLDR bill attempts to make TOS clear, will it matter?
Ep 46: NFTs as a funding model? Can Google compete in product search? Distrust of tech companies is high.
A proposed golf course raised $10 mil with NFTs as the funding model. Can Google ever compete in product search with Amazon? What would it take? American’s distrust of big tech is off the charts but continue to use them
Ep 45: Google rolls out new Local Packs; Yelp Survey: text reviews are best; Local Guides dominate Google reviews
Part 1 Video Starts 0:13 - Google Rolls out bigger, brighter Local Pack with more visuals Part 2 Video- Starts 8:14 - Yelp Survey says consumers prefer text reviews Part 3 Video- Starts 13:43 - SOCI Report: Local Guides dominate Google review landscape but leave shorter reviews
EP 44: Local Search Ranking Factors Interview with Darren Shaw
In this interview with Darren Shaw we take a deep dive into the Local Search Ranking Factors. We look at the key take aways, the strengths and weaknesses of the survey and areas that Local SEO’s should focus on.
Ep 43: Apple Maps goes from goat to great, Twitter needs new model, Fired Xooglers sue over Don’t be evil
Apple Maps gets real about navigation & discovery; Twitter’s underperformance & CEO change point to a need for a new business model, Fired Xooglers claim “Don’t be evil” is an employment contract
Ep 42: Consumer survey indicates that 50% of searches are local, Apple Maps makes discovery push, Apple positions themselves for AR via Maps
67% of Consumers Trust ‘Local Businesses’ More than Internet-Only Brands and over 50% of their search are local; Apple Maps makes discovery push and position themselves for AR
Ep 41: Vista rebrand elegance, Opportunities for new search engines, Google expands SMB propaganda campaign
Vista deftly rebranded & their success demonstrates the strength of SMB market, Can new search engines like You & Never make a go of it in the face of Google?Google has expanded their SMB propaganda campaign into Adwords and other business products to gain SMB against anti-trust regulation
Ep 40: Google My Business Rebrand - Is it a chance to fix GMB or an opportunity to nuke part of the stack?
This week we discuss just one topic, the rebranding of the Google My Business tools to the Business Profile. With enhanced in-search and in Maps editing, Google is trying (once again) to lure small businesses to edit their listings via new features. The GMB API will become the Business Profile
Ep 39: Amazon goes local BOPIS, Impact of images in Google Local search, Google Local driving the most leads
Amazon dips toes in local buy online and pickup in store, The arc of the impact of images in Google Local search, Google Local driving the bulk of leads in most industries
Ep 38: FTC: mobile ISPs abuse privacy, Snap blames Apple for shortfall, Performance ads an analytics scam?
FTC details broad spread mobile ISPs privacy abuse practices amongst major carriers, Snap misses qt. estimates and blames Apple for shortfall, Rand Fishkin asks what if performance ads an analytics scam?
Episode 37: FTC lays review fine groundwork; Amazon creates offline Xmas catalog; Google Lens surfaces Local Packs
FTC lays groundwork for review fines with 700 companies IF they violate rules; Amazon creates a stealth XMAS toy offline catalog that is barely branded; Google Lens surfacing Local Packs with product shots
Ep 36: Squarespace’s “Everything to Sell Anything,” Google vs. Lowe, and Has the Local Pack Outlived Its Usefulness?
Part 1 Video Starts 0:13 - Squarespace’s “Everything to Sell Anything,” Part 2 Video- Starts 9:58 - Google vs. Lowe Part 3 Video- Starts 16:18 - Has the Local Pack Outlived Its Usefulness? Transcript: Ep 36Greg: Welcome to the Near Memo, a weekly conversation about search,
Episode 35: Google enhances Lens for image-based commerce, Yelp’s restaurant SaaS, Amazon and Facebook stymied by consumer privacy
Part 1 Video Starts 0:13 - Google enhances Lens for image based commerce and shows the way for new image search paradigms Part 2 Video- Starts 7:28 - Yelp targets restaurant front of house operations with saas product: Yelp Guest Manager Part 3 Video- Starts 14:35 -
Ep 34: New retail formats offer hope; How many real customers does Wix have?Will the FTC require ad tracking privacy opt-in?
Can new retail formats save department stores? How many real customers does Wix have? Will we see opt-in privacy options and what does it mean for marketers?


Ep 33: Shopify benchmarks SMB CAC; Reviews tell the story of Walmarts inventory woes; Twitter & WhatsApp now offering local business pages
Shopify CAC, Marketing Benchmarks for SMBs; Is Your Customer Acquisition Cost Sustainable? Benchmarks for Every Industry; What Reviews Tell Us About How Walmart’s Supply Chain Issues; Twitter’s GMB Profile
Ep 32: How B2B sales have changed forever, ApplePay growth stalled, Can we trust FB smart glasses?
B2B sales have changed forever with self-serve playing an ever larger role. Why is leading digital wallet Apple Pay uptake still so low? Will Facebook’s SmartGlasses make it out of the gate?
Episode 31: MailChimp selling for $10b?, 1-800-Contacts sues Warby Parker over Adwords, Will Yahoo rise again?
MailChimp priced at $10b for Intuit proves value of SMB SAAS, 1-800-Contacts sues Warby Parker over trade name use in Adwords, Will Yahoo have a new life after Verizon sale?
Episode 30: Walmart Deliveries for SMBs, SMB Social Media Disconnect, Apple Maps Reviews
Part 1 Video Starts 00:13 - GoLocal: Walmart’s Last-Mile Delivery Service for SMBs Part 2 Video- Starts 8:28 - The SMB social media disconnect: what SMBs THINK consumers want is not what they want Part 3 Video- Starts 15:25 - With recent roll out of Apple Map


Ep 29: FTC takes big swing at FB, Survey: What SMBs really need, Can a Local food delivery co-op compete?
FTC says Facebook Resorted to Illegal Buy-or-Bury Scheme to Crush Competition After Failed Attempts to Innovate, Clients tell all: What small businesses need from marketing agencies today, How to Start a Local Restaurant Delivery Service: An Interview with Clay Seaman of Omaha LoCo
Ep 28: Google devastates local food delivery, The boom in pet adoption leaves Vets overwhelmed, Amazon sellers paying to delete negative reviews
The unintended consequences of Google ramping up Local Food ordering; local delivery devastated, a surprising outcome of Covid includes Veterinary burnout and a shortage of animal Vets, In the strange world of review abuse merchants pay (or abuse) for negative review takedowns
Ep 27: Yelp’s Positive Q2 Reports, When do SMBs Hire Key Roles & How to Create Content When AI Writes Well
Yelp recovers from pandemic lows, SMBs hire key staff later than thought and how to create content when AI writes it all
Ep 26: FB profits on way to metaverse, Apple & Snapchat up their SMB Maps play & Privacy seems less likely
We discuss the Facebook Metaverse, the non impact of Apple’s actions, Apple & Snapchats improved local mapping, and how privacy seems ever further away.
Ep 25: Google makes reviewing easy by adding attributes to restaurant reviews, Fake reviews are costly to SMBS but Google seems incapable of squashing them, Square’s new bank is a threat to traditional SMB banking relationships
Google makes reviewing easy by adding attributes to restaurant reviews, Fake reviews are costly to SMBS but Google seems incapable of squashing them, Square’s new bank is a threat to traditional SMB banking relationships
EP 24: Biden encourages departments to go all in on increasing competition, Will Craigslist decline create opportunity for NextDoor? Will public notification of facial recognition deter shoppers?
Biden Executive order sets stage for Executive branch cooperation to increase competitiveness in US, Does a declining Craiglist create an opening for NextDoor in classifieds? Will facial recognition notices slow down shoppers?
EP 23: Google Play store antitrust suit futile?, Good Local content makes the difference, Yext Search Data hub provides GMB Insights at scale
Google Play store antitrust suit futile? Case Study: Good Local content succeeds against Google algo updates! Yext Search Data Hub provides interesting GMB Insights Data across 600,000 listings
Ep 22: FB Bulletin = newsletter + social, Shopify creating Ad Network?, Supreme Court ruling re-opens scraping question
Facebook releases Bulletin, a subscription newsletter that integrates FB comments; Is Shopify creating a cross website Ad network to assist their SMB’s ad efforts?; The Supreme Court orders a review of the HiQ-LinkedIn dispute that could endanger scraping & Martech stacks
FLoC is flailing, Privacy Success of DuckDuckGo, Businesses need employee vaccination policies
FLoC is flailing, Privacy Successes of DuckDuckGo & Businesses need employee vaccination policies
The Near Memo, Ep 20 - The local arc from inventory to ordering to monopoly and consolidation
An exciting week in local. We explore the local arc from inventory to ordering to monopoly and consolidation
The Near Memo, Episode 19
Apple killed email? Google’s crazy Local business names; In person conferences are wonderful & weird
The Near Memo, Episode 18
Is there a solution to fake review?; Google’s Grand Vision for search is nothing if not ambitious; How a local bookstore is fighting for his business and his community in his fight against Amazon.
The Near Memo, Episode 17
Why Local Guides are Bad for Your Business; Google’s Push for Privacy to Regain Consumer Trust and SMB Products to Compete with Amazon. SMB platforms are converging on a suite of sophisticated tools for marketing & ops automation
The Near Memo, Episode 16
Are Yelp’s problems self-inflicted?; Google I/O: they flex their AI muscles and move further into local products with the Shopping Graph; Google going into Retail, really?
The Near Memo, Episode 15
Shopify makes the case for local ecommerce with some great stats; Why do consumers desire to buy local but still buy at Amazon?; How did Google win the review wars vs Yelp?
The Near Memo, Episode 14
Referenced Articles * Flurry Analytics iOS 14.5 Opt-in Rate [] * How Shopify’s Network Can Take on Amazon […
The Near Memo, Episode 13
Is Apple being paternalistic to not allow advertisers to provide ATT incentives? Can Yelp make their way with transactions? Amazon, amazing profits, amazing (& ruthless) efficiencies
The Near Memo, Episode 12
Zagat reviews, but shorter and more visual, rise from the Google ashes; The FTC ability to levy fines as a deterrent is knee capped by SCOTUS; Apple privacy changes AND review capability coming this week.
The Near Memo, Episode 11
FB Survey: increased SMB e-commerce & struggles What will consumers do when the economy opens? SubStack creates program to develop local news
The Near Memo, Episode 10
SWYFT Opens New Avenues for SMBs to compete with Prime. Is the FTC getting serious about review enforcement? So long Yahoo Answers, can Google Local Guides get this product category right?
The Near Memo, Episode 9
Website Builder SquareSpace acquires restaurant backend system Tock; Google My Business shoots themselves in the Messaging foot by showing competitors when a consumer attempts to message a specific business; GroundTruth bets on the SMB market with acquisition of Addy.
The Near Memo, Episode 8
Episode 8: Google fights with Rand Fishkin over “zero-click” searches. Can a rating only review ever be defamatory? Will Yahoo’s brand rise from the ashes as a Verizon subscription service?
The Near Memo, Episode 7
The impact of COVID-19 one year into the pandemic: consumers prefer rigorous mask enforcement by businesses, eCommerce has become table stakes, the trends in advertising and privacy favor the triopoly.
The Near Memo, Episode 6
How the advertising duopoly has created alternative income models, Tock and the restaurant friendly delivery model, deconstructing Google’s recent announcements about Local Guides and photo updates in Google Maps.
The Near Memo, Episode 5
Google’s first privacy stance benefits...Google, Measuring the Public’s Trust in Tech, and Volvo’s Direct-to-Consumer Model Portends Radical Shifts for Car Dealers.
The Near Memo, Episode 4
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. Greg: Okay, welcome to the nearer memo. Episode 4, I believe. This is our weekly conversation with me, Greg Sterling, Mike Blumenth…
The Near Memo, Episode 3
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.
The Near Memo, Episode 2
Welcome to the Near Memo. Our conversation about the important developments of the week and beyond.
The Near Memo, Episode I
Mike Blumenthal and David Mihm join Greg Sterling for the first episode of The Near Memo podcast, where they discuss Amazon’s recent PR stunt, the recent activity and interest around newsletters, the arrival of Clubhouse, and privacy.