Marketing 5 min read

Amazon is hot on Google's Localized Search Trail

Amazon may just have found the key to dismantling Google's ad revenue empire. | Image via Pixel2013 | Pixabay

Amazon may just have found the key to dismantling Google's ad revenue empire. | Image via Pixel2013 | Pixabay

In the ongoing war between Google and Amazon, localized search initiatives could be the key battlefield.

In the ongoing technical and commercial turf war between Amazon and Google, the biggest loser of all continues to be the consumer.

Both sides continuously try to expand into the other’s territory, from shopping and robotic translation to smart homes.

As the rivalry between them heats up, neither Google or Amazon seem to be balking at hitting each other below the belt.

For example, late last year, Google cut access to YouTube from Amazon Echo Show. In retaliation, Amazon stopped the sale of Google’s Nest products on its e-commerce platform.

When companies get this big, it’s only a matter of time before they start treading on each other’s shoes.

Now, there’s a new chapter opening in the ongoing war between the two tech titans: Localized search.

On this new front, both companies need to capitalize on their past successes.

Google Doubles Down on its Search-Engine Cash Cow

In 2017, Google generated $95.4 billion in ad revenues, making up 86% of its total revenues.

This figure makes Google the undisputed king of digital advertising with a 37% share of the market.

It doesn’t require expert analysis to show that ads are the backbone of Google’s finances. Without advertising, the company would be powerless in its countless tech endeavors.

What made Google’s ad success possible in the first place is the company’s first mission and raison d’etre: its behemoth search engine.

From a marketing point of view, getting to Google’s first SERP page, if not the top of results, will make or break any business.

To capitalize on its hegemony over mobile search queries, Google is prioritizing mobile over desktop with the launch of its Mobile-First indexing system.

According to Google, over 20% of desktop and 40% of mobile searches have a localized search intent.

Though we can’t find updated stats from verified sources, we can assume localized search queries on mobile are rising with the rise of the medium.

To focus on this, Google launched Google My Business. To keep the cash cow fed, they continued to ramp up its dashboard for small business wanting to “bait” local customers and prospects into finding them.

The Google My Business information appears when Google’s algorithm assumes a query has a local intent.

Recently, in the local business geolocation on Google Maps, Google started adding a sold here label as part of the Local 3-Pack description for relevant items.

Not satisfied with just the U.S, Google also plans to take its local business services north to Canada.

Amazon can Have Faith in its e-Commerce Forte

Millennials and Generation Z have grown accustomed to e-shopping on Amazon. Now, it’s an access point to all the value that the company has to offer.

Amazon is now more than just the e-commerce platform of many years ago. With its own hyper-developed search engine used by millions of people every year, it’s starting to creep up on Google’s throne.

In Google’s algorithm, bots dispatch local search queries to a relevant destination. With recent updates, these results sometimes happen to be one of Google’s products or services.

This is a move that competitors, like TripAdvisor and Yelp, are not happy with, and which they describe as an anti-competitive practice. These actions already led Google to be legally scolded, four times.

Luckily for Amazon, they are immune to such accusations. As its site has a native search engine which operates within Amazon’s online sphere, it’s legally safe from similar charges.

According to CNBC, some advertisers are now moving 50 to 60 percent of their search budget from Google to Amazon.

This doesn’t come as a surprise as many users now use Amazon’s self-contained search engine instead of taking Google’s bridge.

Google’s recent cyber security incident that caused Google+ to shut down also doesn’t help its case.

Amazon’s open and vibrant ecosystem that seems to be attracting advertisers and consumers alike away from Google’s growing minefield.

With an estimated $4.61 billion in U.S. digital ad revenue this year, Amazon is the third biggest advertising platform after Google and Facebook.

Amazon’s ad business is poised for prosperity. Now, when it comes to local businesses, Google certainly has a head start, but Amazon is hot on its trail.

It won’t be long before Amazon starts rolling out community-based ad services for businesses. In this, it holds all the cards against Google’s current business model.

Today, over 49% of online shoppers start their search for products on Amazon. With a local business update, product vendors using Amazon’s platform would be more than happy to spend ad dollars to Amazon.

For Amazon, it’s just a matter of an algorithm optimized for local searches. That’s the easy part.

Will there ever be a definitive winner in the Google/Amazon local search battle?

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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