Video: Last Week in Local March 19, 2018
Mike Blumenthal

Last week in Local 3/19/18

Join Local U for the latest public episode of Last Week in Local, a weekly conversation about the articles that attracted our attention during the past week ending March 19th. This week features Mary Bowling &  Mike Blumenthal.

If you have a special topic you would like us to discuss for our other weekly feature, the Deep Dive in Local, or if you would like to be on one or the other of our segments, reach out and send us the topic and your availability. If you are interested in sponsoring this weekly show also please let us know.


Toys R Us is closing or selling all its US stores — here’s why the company couldn’t be saved – Business Insider

Toys R Us then launched a turnaround plan that ended with the chain seeking buyers. Bain Capital, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and Vornado Realty Trust together invested $1.3 billion in a $6.6 billion leveraged buyout in 2005, taking Toys R Us private. The company had essentially been purchased using its equity, with the help of the private-equity cash.

This saddled Toys R Us with an astronomical amount of debt – over $5 billion worth – that the company hadn’t shaken even a decade later. According to the filing with the bankruptcy court, Toys R Us was still making $400 million payments on its debt each year

Claire’s Becomes Latest Retailer to Go Bankrupt

The company also had too much debt, costing it $183 million a year alone in interest payments. The retail apocalypse is as much about private buyouts and taking on too much debt even more so than competition with Amazon.

Walmart to expand grocery delivery business to 800 stores by year’s end – CNBC

The expansion will open up the retailer to 100 metropolitan areas, reaching more than 40 percent of U.S. households. It will offer shoppers same-day delivery of fresh produce, meat and seafood, along with non-perishable items.

It expects to make online order pickup of groceries available at about 2,200 stores before 2019.

Turmoil in Local TV, But Brands Still Like It and New Tech Gains Momentum | Street Fight

39% of big brands Street Fight surveyed still use TV for local advertising, and, as shown in the figure below, it’s one of their top 5 most effective tactics. Although email, that old work horse, rises to the top of the pack in terms of value.

Study: 63% of Local Searches Made by People Undecided on a Provider or Retailer | LSA Insider

New data from LSA shows that 63% of local search queries are made by people undecided on a provider or retailer. Additionally, following a search engine search, 58% made a contact, visit or purchase. Among those who made a purchase, 36% were new customers

Exclusive: ‘Where can I buy?’ – Google makes push to turn product searches into cash – Reuters

Google Shopping Actions For Voice Shopping & Assistant

The U.S. technology company is teaming up with retailers including Target Corp, Walmart Inc, Home Depot Inc, Costco Wholesale Corp and Ulta Beauty Inc.

Under a new program, retailers can list their products on Google Shopping, as well as on the Google Express shopping service, and Google Assistant on mobile phones and voice devices.

In exchange for Google listings and linking to retailer loyalty programs, the retailers pay Google a piece of each purchase, which is different from payments that retailers make to place ads on Google platforms.

The previously unreported initiative sprang from Google’s observation that tens of millions of consumers were sending image searches of products, asking “Where can I buy this?” “Where can I find it?” “How can I buy it?” “How do I transact?” Daniel Alegre, Google’s president for retail and shopping, told Reuters exclusively.

Over the past two years, mobile searches asking where to buy products soared by 85 percent, Alegre said.

Google Showing Answer Without Any Search Results

“For calculator, unit converter & local time, we’re experimenting with a condensed view to further speed up load time. People who search for these tools rarely use full search results, but the results will remain available for those who want them via the “Show all results” button.”.

A real tell about how Google’s sees search and where it is going.

Google as Your Landing Page – Classy Brain

In a case study comparing leads and sales from Google Local vs the business website, found that while 75% of the leads came from Google, the website generated a higher per job revenue.

G+ – Google Local Divorce Mop Up – Who Got the Kids? Not Sure But the Orphans Have Been Nuked

Google will remove all of the auto-created Google Plus pages that have not ever been used. If a business doesn’t want it removed they can post to the page within the next 30 days.

Is Google Stupid or Do They Choose Not to Solve the Local Spam Problem?

Why hasn’t Google solved the local spam problem? There are a number of institutional reasons that clearly indicate that it is a choice on their part.

Back to the Future: Google Rolling Out Business Descriptions in GMB Dashboard

Google enabling Local Knowledge Panel descriptions from owner.

It will be managed via  GMB and it can be 750 words or less. No links allowed.

What’s the Best Way to Ask For a Review?

Darren Shaw explains the methods of asking for reviews and the best ways to ask to influence ranking.

Link building in 2018: Audience-first link building – Kaiserthesage

Based on this idea from Bill Slawski:

“The links that people are most likely to follow are the ones that end up carrying the most weight.” – Bill Slawski, on Google’s Reasonable Surfer Patent and goes through various scenarios for placing links that will get followed by appealing to educators, indirect competitors, other content creators and so on.

Online Event

Upcoming Webinar on EU privacy rules

Even if you aren’t in Europe, if Europeans visit your site, you must provide the level of privacy the EU specifies

Feature Update: Send a call’s value to Google AdWords | PPC Call Tracking and Analytics

Call Rail’s dashboard  now enables you to assign a value to calls you receive and push that data into Adwords.

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