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October 11, 2022

The Future of Local Search: Convenient, Visual // Local Marketing Insider #044

With the introduction of /multisearch near me/ search functionality by Google, the complete toolset of visual search is now available to local businesses. Visual search is emerging and multimedia is even more important.

Hey! Welcome to Local Marketing Insider where 4,653 local marketing professionals get better at reputation strategy & more 2x a month.

Before we dive in this week, I'm excited to announce our biggest update to Widewail's review response guide in almost 2 years. We've upped it from 19 examples to 56, adding examples specific to a wide variety of industries. 

In total, the guide is 74 pages. As a bonus, we've included a printable cheat sheet of 54 words and phrases you can use to add variety to your responses. Download.

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Google first launched multisearch in April of 2022. 

It’s super cool. 

An expansion of Google Lens, the feature lets users start a search with an image and then add a text modifier to add more context. For example, here I did a visual search for my headphones and then added “Amazon” to find shopping results.

*You can find Google Lens via the Google App for iOS/Android. It’s not a feature of the Chrome mobile app.


Last week, Google introduced a new feature, adding “near me” to multisearch.

It enables people to find local businesses using an image as the starting point.

If nothing else, multisearch near me is incredibly convenient.

Just think of all the times you (or your customers) don’t know what something is called.

Say you’re in the market for a new car and see one you like in a parking lot. You have no idea what the name of the car is, you’re not a car person. 

But daymm, is that plastic fender cladding fire (IYKYK). 

So you take out your phone, go to Google Lens, search using a photo of the car, and add the “near me” qualifier. 

Google will use this input to source local dealerships that have an image of that product on its Google Business Profile or its site, serving up local opportunities for that shopper to find that car, all without knowing the name of the model. 

Very cool.

Search is about making the world’s information accessible. Making the same information available via multimedia simply better aligns with how our brains work.

Imagine you just got a new comforter in your bedroom. You and your husband decide a rug in a matching color would be a nice way to finish the room. 

How do you find that using search today? 

First, you’d probably go to the comforter manufacturer's site and find the color. 

“Sandstorm.” Nice. 

Then you’d do a search for rug + color + near me and hope for the best. It’s cumbersome. 

With multisearch near me you’d simply take a photo of the comforter and add “rug + near me.” That is fantastic. And if I were a betting man, I’d wager this will become heavily used.

As of today Google Lens already answers 8 billion questions a month, and now it's going local.

It’s our job at Widewail to stay on top of these developments so that the LMI readership and Widewail client base are always a step ahead.

This latest round of search product updates tells us that the present and future of search are visual. 

Last month I wrote about how TikTok is replacing Google as the search tool for GenZ. I was talking to Matt (Widewail CEO) about this and he isn’t buying the idea that Google is reacting to TikTok with these latest product changes. 

I tend to disagree with him on that, but more importantly, I think TikTok has proven that searching for and accessing information via media is very popular, especially among younger demographics.

Search will become a more visual experience over time. I don’t see that changing.

I could simply say you need to add more photos to your GBP. 

And that’s not necessarily bad advice. 

But here at Widewail, our job is to help you use these changes to reinforce the bigger goal - building trust between your businesses and local communities.

The addition of multisearch near me does not change the core truth that there is no better way to build trust than through the voice of past customers.

Which gets us to customer-led visual search. 

Empowering your customers to share their experiences through photo and video will become increasingly valuable as multisearch near me begins to be used daily by the masses.

A fun example of this, which is specifically for restaurants (in the short term), Google is going to use “machine learning to analyze images and reviews from people (like you!) to find what makes a place distinctive.” 

This is the example they provide, combining photo and review content, surfacing it front and center with a new UI:


Credit: Google

Widewail’s already hard at work thinking of new ways to help local businesses capture the customer imagery needed to power new search experiences. 

Currently, Widewail's Campaigns functionality can be put into action right away, using customized and flexible messaging to encourage customers to share photo content along with their reviews. Also, with Google Business Profile’s 30-second video functionality, Invite Video uses the same SMS request process and automation as Invite to source customer video reviews.

We’re definitely excited about these changes and the outcome is clear: more ways for prospects to find you = more growth.

Happy October. My second kid is due any day now. Fingers crossed!

And again, I can't recommend our guide to review response enough. It's taken my team 2 months of work to put it together, and it's based on four years of practice and experimentation. Download the 74 Page Book.

See you in 2 weeks - Jake, Marketing @Widewail

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Jake Hughes

I’m the Director of Marketing here at Widewail, as well as a husband and new dad outside the office. I'm in Vermont by way of Boston, where I grew the CarGurus YouTube channel from 0 to 100k subscribers. I love the outdoors and hate to be hot, so I’m doing just fine in the arctic Vermont we call home. Fun fact: I met my wife on the shuttle bus at Baltimore airport. Thanks for reading Widewail’s content!

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