Augmented Reality: Where are we now, and what does it mean for marketers?

Summer 2016 seems like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it? Barack Obama was president, the Chicago Cubs were carrying on their 108-year losing streak and swimmer Ryan Lochte was busy fabricating a story about getting robbed at gunpoint while representing the US at the Rio Olympic Games.
One of the biggest digital stories to come out of last year was the meteoric rise of Pokémon Go. The mobile game brought augmented reality (AR) to the masses and effectively demonstrated the technology’s potential as a new platform for customer engagement.
Pokémon Go disappeared from the limelight almost as quickly as it appeared, solidifying its place as a pop culture curiosity that will almost certainly be covered in an “I Love the ’80s”-esque retrospective 20 years from now.
Pokémon Go’s story may be over for most, but what about its underlying technology? How has that fared over the past 12 months?
Well, augmented reality isn’t just for gamers anymore. It can be a major asset for

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How local businesses can turn the threat of on-demand deliveries to their own advantage

As a digital marketer, you have to stay on your toes. It sometimes feels like new market disruptions have become an annual rite of passage. What were once generational, seismic changes are now just the normal order of business.
The latest development in a long line of digital commerce revolutions is the emergence of on-demand delivery. Like any disruptive change, on-demand apps have created a lot of anxiety for brands and their local stores. Is this technology a threat to localized businesses, or an opportunity to improve brand engagement and drive customer loyalty?
Amazon leads another digital revolution
You have Amazon to thank for the current fervor whipping up around on-demand delivery. While Uber Eats, Instacart and Soothe, among others, laid the foundation for this change, Amazon will likely be the company to catapult on-demand local services into the wider consumer consciousness. The e-commerce giant’s recently announced plan to acquire supermarket chain Whole Foods signals a radical change in the way consumers

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An easy quarterly plan for local link building

Summer conference season is in full swing, and this month I’m stepping off Greg’s Soapbox to share some in-depth knowledge. With the release of the 2017 Local Search Ranking Factors and several studies, local SEO sessions are all pushing the importance of building local links. Even when tips are shared that explain how to get great links, people always seem to come back with variations on the same question:
How do you actually build local links?
I wrote a post here on Search Engine Land last year about building local links, and I usually point people to that post to get good ideas. But recently, several people have pointed out that it shares high-level ideas, not actual tactics.
So, I decided that I should share some insight into how our team works the link-building process, with a focus on actual process and tactics. Keep in mind, we’re talking local SEO for SMBs, so we won’t have huge budgets to create

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9 SEO tips for better Google Image search results

While a lot of energy is being spent trying to figure out how to take advantage of the anticipated growth in emerging areas like voice search, there is a much easier search medium that seems to be underutilized: image search.
According to Rand Fishkin’s analysis of Jumpshot and Moz data, image search on Google is the second most highly used search platform behind Google.com and it is searched more than the remaining Top 10 web properties combined.
Image searches may be more significant than you think
According to data from Jumpshot and Moz, Google Images accounts for a considerable number of searches, dwarfing those performed on YouTube, Google Maps, Amazon and Facebook combined. Searches in Google Images are made more than 10 times as often as any search on Bing or Yahoo, and they represent more than 40 times the number of searches on Facebook.
Graphic courtesy of Moz.
The above chart doesn’t present a complete picture of search, as it doesn’t include search on other

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12 things to know to succeed with Google Posts

Google has been cranking out the updates this year for Local Search, and the latest thing to hit the SMB market is Google Posts. This new feature allows you to publish your events, products and services directly to Google Search (in the Knowledge Panel) and Maps. Here’s an example of what a Google Post looks like on mobile:

I’ve been testing this feature for a while (one of the perks of being a Top Contributor) and have made several observations that I wanted to share. I collaborated with local search expert Mike Blumenthal and came up with the top things you need to know to get the most out of Google Posts for your SMB.

Make sure you track click activity with UTM codes. Since Google posts don’t integrate naturally with Google Analytics, it’s hard to get any insights beyond the standard number of views and clicks Google provides inside the Google My Business dashboard. By creating a custom URL to use

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Google My Business website builder SEO review

Google officially launched its Website Builder within Google My Business in an effort to help small businesses easily and affordably create websites. This is a great initiative, as there are many small businesses that do not have a website.
Google’s Marissa Nordahl made the announcement it in a Google My Business Help thread on Tuesday, June 13. Here is what she wrote:
One of the most common actions people take when exploring a Google listing is to go to the website, but we know that getting a website can still be a challenge for a lot of small business owners around the world: too complex, too expensive, too time consuming. Millions of small businesses (60% of small businesses globally) don’t yet have a website.
Website is a free tool that allows small business owners to create a simple, striking website in just a few minutes. It’s easy, and you can create and edit your new website from your computer or your

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Small business SEO: Your questions answered

Being a small business is tough. Many businesses fail in the first year, and many more will not make it to the five-year mark. But even established businesses can fail if they are unable to adapt to changing times.
Marketing is difficult — digital marketing even more so. And the black-box nature of SEO can make it the most difficult form of marketing your business. Yet when done well, there is little that can compete with strong, organic search engine visibility to promote your small business. Organic listings build trust with local customers, and all the best business relationships are built on a foundation of trust.
In this article, I want to look at SEO as a marketing tactic specifically for small businesses. I will share everything we have learned working on hundreds of small business SEO projects. My intention is to arm you, as a business owner, with the knowledge and power to make the right decisions when implementing an SEO strategy —

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Dear Google: 4 suggestions for fixing your massive problem with fake reviews

Hey Google,
If you’re reading this, you already know that fake reviews on Google have been a hot topic lately — and it appears the problem is getting a lot worse, resulting in a huge headache for small business owners.
Rather than outlining all the issues and turning this post into a huge rant, I wanted to offer some suggestions that I think would help solve some of the major issues we are seeing in the Local SEO world.
1. Please offer business owners a better path to reporting fake reviews
Currently, there are several ways to contact Google My Business (GMB) support: phone support, email support, Twitter and Facebook. But there’s no way to get anyone at GMB to look at reports from people on businesses that aren’t theirs.
That means if Joe the Plumber’s competitor in his town is a massive spammer and is ranking everywhere on Google, Joe can’t contact GMB about it at all. They won’t allow him to report the

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Google Maps ad traffic steadily growing

Over the last couple of years, Google updates have shown the company’s growing focus on monetizing searches with local intent and navigational queries. From local inventory ads, which are a version of Product Listings Ads that feature information on when a product can be picked up at a local brick-and-mortar store, to ads featured in the Local Pack, it’s clear that Google sees local searches as fertile ground for more ad interactions.
This strategy has extended to Google Maps, where ads derived from location extensions now populate for searches. These ads are steadily growing in importance, as shown by a rise in the share of traffic attributed to the “Get location details” click type.
‘Get location details’ clicks on the rise
While there’s no clean way to view all impressions and clicks from Google Maps, Google confirmed that very nearly all traffic attributed to the “Get location details” click type can be attributed to ads featured on Maps. Taking a

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10 ways to improve your business locators

How often do you review your store or professional locator to make sure it is up to date and optimized to convert on the KPIs that matter most? After all, anyone who is visiting your locator is already interested in your brand. Your job is to use your locator to turn that consumer intent into a purchase or lead, as successful online shopping carts do.
At a time when Amazon is giving brick-and-mortar stores the fight of their lives, locators are a not-so-secret weapon to combat Amazon’s dominance — but only if you treat your business locators as revenue generators. Here are 10 tips to get you thinking about your store locator in a new way:
1. View your locator as a revenue generator
If you learn one lesson from this article, it should be this: the goal of your locators is to create revenue for your business, not simply to drive traffic to your location pages.
Your business locators should not

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