RankBrain, Echo, Facebook and local search conferences

local marketing news 30th Oct 2015

It’s Halloween tomorrow so have there been any scary happenings in the land of local digital marketing this week? Well, RankBrain (Google) sounds pretty scary as does Echo (Amazon). More details on both of those below along with some useful information about an update to Facebook’s mobile app and a listing of all the 2016 local search conferences you should highlight in your calendar. Have a great Halloween weekend. Enjoy!


Details about Google’s RankBrain start to emerge
Anyone who reads anything about Google’s search algorithm knows that it has multiple moving parts and is constantly evolving. Earlier this week a report in Bloomberg surfaced about a new aspect of the algo; a machine learning system known as RankBrain. It is geared around gaining a better understanding of search queries and therefore gives Google the ability to deliver higher quality search results. It really shows where Google (and others) are heading with search, perhaps even a self-learning algo! There’s a ton of stuff out there to read so hopefully you’ll find the three articles I’ve linked to below useful.

Read more:
 FAQ: All About The New Google RankBrain Algorithm via Danny Sullivan
Google’s RankBrain: 9 Industry Experts Weigh In via Jennifer Slegg
How to get the most from RankBrain, Google’s new ranking-robot via Ben Silverman

Amazon Echo goes local with help from Yelp
Amazon’s Echo was widely launched back in June this year. It’s a hands free gadget that enables the user to access information (news, weather, etc) and connect with various digital services (Prime Music, Pandora, etc). This week it got an upgrade with the integration of local data provided by Yelp. So now as well as asking Echo about your local weather for tomorrow you can then also ask it for the coolest local roof top bar. Tip for local business owners is to make sure that you’ve got a listing on Yelp, claim it and then ensure all your contact details are correct. Rumours and speculation have already started that this may lead to the possible acquistion of Yelp by Amazon, so watch this space.

Read more:
Amazon Echo adds Yelp local search for restaurants and businesses via Mashable
Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant can now tell you about local businesses using Yelp via The Verge
Amazon Echo Gets Smarter With Local Business Listings From Yelp via MarketingLand

Facebook mobile notifications tab gets an update
Facebook’s play at local continued this week as they started to roll out an update to the notifications tab in their mobile app. In the latest version you can customise your tab to get information on local events along with recomendations and offers from local bars and restaurants. Some have compared it to Google Now so we’ll have to see how they stack up against each other. You’ll need to enable your location history, of course, and the update is currently only rolling out to Android and iOS users in the US. Would be interested to hear from anyone who’s tried it out.

Read more:
A More Useful Notifications Tab on Mobile via Facebook
With updated notifications, Facebook pulls people down the rabbit hole via Gigaom
You can now customize Facebook’s notifications tab on Android and iOS via VentureBeat

Local search conferences for 2016
Staying on top of technology and digital developments is part and parcel of a local search professional. While they’re clearly lots of news and information online it’s also useful to check out various conferences and actually talk to people. Below is a great list of local search conferences for 2016 that the author mentions will be updated as and when more dates are added. They’re all US based so if any bright spark out there would like to put together a UK (or global) list together that would be fab! In the meantime, here are all the US slots.

Read more:
2016 Local Search Conferences via Location3

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See you all back here next week.


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Nick Rink

Managing Director at Smart Local
Nick runs Smart Local from its base in Wimbledon and writes about local search, social media, the mobile web and other online marketing issues affecting small businesses.

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