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I’ve been intermittently following Ed Dale an Australian marketer with a yen for all things Apple for the past couple of years, but I’d never really seen him as an authority on local search.  He’s the leader of a pack of gurus who run “The Challenge” which is a 60 day marketing course.   His main reason for still being on my radar, is that he has been “right on the money” in his anticipation of changes in the search world.  Now; he is usually playing with the big boys and taking on global niche markets.  The latest article he produced starts from just that viewpoint.  It is so interesting because it picks up on a lot of the disparate threads of the changes in people’s search and review habits and the fundamental shift in Google’s own way of delivering services.  Look out for Google Now!

He has been a long standing critic of Google and his insights into the beast suggest that the Giant on the screen had a bigger prize in sight for the past few years.  Google +, it seems, might after all be something a little bit more than a crappy social network.   The changes they made to Google Places back in May and the virtual absorption of every Google service into Google + suggested that the Big G was upping its competitive efforts against Facebook and Twitter.  Since Facebook and Twitter came along , Google has been losing its grasp of  what’s really happening: its reliance on links and anchor text was becoming an unreliable indicator of what people really think about the online world.  All their work and acquisitions of companies like Zagat have been building up to …. Jellybeans!?

Ed Dale’s Not an Android Fan! But…

Local Search wasn't Ed Dale's speciality

Ed Dale- Ozzy marketer not usually thought of as Mr Local Search

Mr Dale Esq. was playing with one of his many gadgets – this time a Galaxy Nexus that he has been weighing up.  and it seems he was somewhat blown away: firstly by what he saw on the screen; but secondly by the implications of what he was seeing for Google’s underlying long game plan.  He had had a particularly unpleasant epic trying to upgrade the Nexus tablet to the latest version of Android – Jellybean!  After some conversations and messages between him and a mate, it was as if the the Nexus almost knew what he wanted to do next and had a whole variety of information ready for him – if he chose to ask!   Welcome to Google Now!  it’s information in your context.

local search
Now what has a fancy new bit of tech and another fancy pants Google software got to do with “Good Ol’ Carlisle ” and locally focussed businesses in the rest of Cumbria and the Borders?  Well the ability of: Google Now in new generation Android devices and Apple’s voice operated Siri to pick up on your habits and anticipate what you might need are going to impact local search sooner than businesses operating on the national or global scales… because that’s where Android and iPhone users are actually going about their daily business.   Have you got all your local directory listings up to date?  Are you driving reviews to your business as part of your marketing plan?  If not then you better get your arse into gear if you want to stay competitive in your local space.  Google Now is going to Know!

I’ve pinched some of Ed Dale’s words to give you his view of the scene ahead.  It’s worth reading – however you feel about marketing online!

Insights for Local Search – Even in Reiver Country

What Should We Do?

The first to feel the effects of the context economy “ local business (I’m not referring to size here, I’m referring to the fact they operate out of a physical location). (My emphasis – Ray)

It’s going to be vital to keep information up-to-date. My favourite coffee shop does not have a proper Google+ listing, and can not completely take advantage of Google Now.

They also don’t have a good Yelp listing, Siri won’t recommend them as a great cafe nearby. As the context driven economy takes off, this will be fatal.

  • If you have a physical real-world business (Or you’re somebody who services these businesses) you need to get your butt into gear. Figure out the information sources both Google Now and Siri are using and make sure everything is up-to-date.
  • Encourage regular customers to check in, plus, tweet, like and anything else you can get them to do.

Google has been saying it for the longest time, Google+ is not a social network. It doesn’t need to be.

Google+ is a fundamental foundation layer binding all of Googles properties together to provides signals to Google Now so it can deliver contextual content in anticipation of your needs.

If you’re a taste maker/market leader/influencer in your niche. You need to be on Google+ stat. It won’t drive traffic (unless you’re after Hipsters, Googlers and Digerati) it will do something WAY more important.

Google+ will set your context in your market and in the next five years, this will be way more important than mere traffic

Yes, I’m recommending you use Google+

Yes, a pig just flew past my Window belting out “Hollywood Nights!”

You can read the rest of his article (and it is a fairly long one) at Ed’s Blog

No Flying Pigs but the Androids are Coming

It looks to me as if the next big changes to search are yet again going to be at the local level.  That’s the sweet shop and newsagents on the corner and big local independent store – huge opportunities to thrive if you get the next few pieces of your online marketing plan up and running now.  The new generation of Google Android phones and tablets are focussed on a much longer game than simply out scoring iOS operating system tricks.  Google’s boffins look like they’ve found a way to compete with Faceboof, Twitter, Siri and the march of the iPhone again.  Look forward to getting better search results when you search, but most importantly…

Get your business geared up to compete in another new age of local search.  The change will be as big as that!  At Consulting Cumbria I am working on a simple new service to help with the process of getting your business to show up locally as a living breathing thing that people and search engines should stand up and take notice of.