Video: Last Week in Local 11/25/19
Mike Blumenthal

Every week we bring you a brief 15 minute video and the links of the best articles in Local Search. OK. It’s not always 15 minutes but we are never off by more than 10 minutes or so.

Last Week in Local is now available as a podcast. Sign up here for your regular Local Fix. What better way to spend your drive time? Interested in sponsoring Last Week in Local? Get in touch with us!

Malls are dying — or are spending millions to reinvent themselves — The Washington Post


Mike: Retailers have announced plans to close more than 10,600 stores nationwide compared with 5,400 for all of 2018. Even healthy chains are “pruning” locations which affects mid and low end malls more than higher end lifestyle malls.

As a result One in four U.S. malls is expected to close by 2022, according to a 2017 report by Credit Suisse.

This portends a major shift in where people shop particularly in rural and denser urban areas that I think bricks and mortars need to be aware of.

Walmart’s Jet to Cease Its New York City Fresh Grocery Business


Mike: Workers had to resort to using portable space heaters to keep the facility warm. In late August, out-of-stock items included bananas, cantaloupe, iceberg lettuce, yellow and red onions and, and and…they were losing $20 on every order.

Meanwhile Walmart is expanding their curbside delivery. Grocery delivery is a hard business and it is not clear whether it is sustainable long haul or whether it is just another bubble.

CallJoy – Answer with intelligence


Mary: Google’s CallJoy has become more than call tracking. Watch this video to learn how to automate your phone answering.Google says: “nearly half of calls to local businesses go unanswered.” Shame on us!

DC Attorney General Sues DoorDash Over Tipping Practices


Mike: n a lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of D.C., the AG’s office called DoorDash’s tipping operation “deceptive trade practices.” “Any reasonable consumer would have expected that the “tip” they added to the delivery charge through the DoorDash checkout would be provided to the Dasher on top of the payment promised by DoorDash for the delivery….But during the relevant time period, that was not the case. Instead, DoorDash used consumer tips to subsidize the Guaranteed Amount payment it promised to Dashers.”

It appears that finally there are consequences to the “ask for forgiveness, not permission” attitude of many Silicon Valley companies. It can’t happen soon enough.

Zagat 2020 New York City Restaurants: Special 40th Anniversary Edition: Zagat, Danny Meyer: 9780578483610: Books


Mike: In honor of Zagat’s 40th anniversary, the 2020 guide returns to the place where it all started: New York City. You’ll also notice a return to the 30 point rating system and to the brand’s original logo.

The Infatuation last year, and since then, are attempting a major relaunch of the Zagat brand. It will be interesting to see if this more curated approach can succeed once again.

North Carolina Walmart blacklists customer for too many negative reviews


Mike: If you are going to ask for feedback you darn well should be prepared to listen.

New Brandify Survey Reveals Consumer Habits in Local Search


Mike: Some interesting stats about where people search. More valuable was WHAT they are looking for and those items should inform both your Google listings AND your website.

Multi-granularity matching for Bing Image Search


Mike: Image search is evolving further towards a more intelligent and more precise search engine through multi-granularity matches, improved understanding of user queries, images and webpages, as well as the relationships between them

Bottom line is the search engines are developing a better understanding of both the photo content AND context around the photo.

And I think properly shot and expressive images can become a major SEO advantage going forward.

Awesomeness Near Me – Izzi Smith


Mike: From Izzi Smith, SEO Manager at Sixt rent a car, this is a great deck on the basics of Local AND operational issues of Local from an Enterprise view…

It is not just here are the things you need to think about but how to get them done which is often missing from the enterprise local story.

Social Media, Blogging, and Lawyers: Forming Human Relationships | TechLaw Crossroads


Mike: “Let’s not forget the reason to have a social media presence and the network is to create opportunities for real meetings. To form human relationships. “

The article provides a high-level way, strategic way to think about blogging and social.

And the section on what people need to know when selecting a lawyer speaks well to an outline for both your website and the Google Q and A questions you should think about creating.

Google Q&A Drops 55%. What is Going on? | GatherUp


Mike: It appears that after 40 some days, the Google Q&A disappearing act MAY be coming to a close.

Local business study finds 0% of site traffic coming from email, paid media – Search Engine Land


Mary: Zero traffic from email. That’s what @brightlocal study of SMBs revealed. @gsterling wonders “what’s going on?”

CallJoy, Google’s virtual phone agent for SMBs, gets an upgrade – Search Engine Land


Mary: Read @gsterling’s take on CallJoy.

Google search results eye candy: How users navigate search features and what it means for SEO – Search Engine Land


Mary: See eye tracking charts for the SERPs – it’s like pinball!

Google Analytics for Local Businesses Study – BrightLocal


Mary: @brightlocal studied GA data from 11,000 SMB websites. Benchmark against some of their surprising findings here.

Uber’s latest attempt to address safety concerns: letting riders and drivers record rides


Carrie: I guess its better than nothing – and maybe this should have been happening from the beginning? They record mass transit, why not taxis and rideshare?

Indian cafe chain customers upset by use of facial recognition to bill them


Carrie: A chain of cafes in India called Chaayos is using facial recognition to bill their customers and it has privacy advocates up in arms – for good reason. It’s one thing for Amazon to recognize your phone as you walk into their cashier-less stores – it’s another to have big brother scanning your face and sending you a bill. But, is this a glimpse into the future? You don’t need a phone, bar code or chip card – just your face to pay?

Claire’s Big List of Local SEO Resources • Claire Carlile Marketing


Carrie: Claire updated her list of resources – its amazing and a great place to source info on a particular topic or struggle you might be having!

Unexplained big drops in GMB rankings – Local Search Forum


Carrie: More Bedlam. Joy and others still seeing big flux in local rankings over the weekend. According to BrightLocal’s Local RankFlux – Sunday and Monday were/are busy!

Google Local Services Ads for Lawyers


Carrie: Gyi Tsakalakis breaks down LSAs for lawyers and why they should be dialed in. If you ask any Local SEO which category is most aggressive, I bet most would say Lawyers – so if you don’t take a look, know your competitors probably are. So far only estate and immigration attorneys but this feels like a “test category” setup that will extend to more types of attorneys soon.

Found Bytes Episode 8: Local Search Tips for Service-Based Businesses | ThriveHive


Carrie: Mary and I gave a ton of tips for SABs on the FoundBytes podcast with David Mihm of ThriveHive. If you struggle to get found in locations where you DONT have a brick and mortar, this is the podcast for you!

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