Top 10 local search insights of 2017

Is it just me, or does it seem time flies faster in the local search industry? Another year has gone by, with many changes and developments to boot. Here’s a list of my top 10 insights from 2017:
1. Customer data is the new competitive edge
SMBs often feel at a competitive disadvantage compared to larger companies who benefit from scale at every level, including the purchase of search advertising or other marketing services. Data is helping even the playing field as it emphasizes quality over quantity.
Better data resulting in better targeting means that local businesses experience lower costs, higher conversion rates and greater ROI. And while targeting is not a new strategy, what’s new is the access to and quality of data.
Just as the price of technology drops with increased adoption, data will be cheaper, more accurate and more insightful. The Internet of Things (IoT) is driving growth in data much faster than what could be achieved by

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19 technical SEO facts for beginners

Technical SEO is an awesome field. There are so many little nuances to it that make it exciting, and its practitioners are required to have excellent problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
In this article, I cover some fun technical SEO facts. While they might not impress your date at a dinner party, they will beef up your technical SEO knowledge — and they could help you in making your website rank better in search results.
Let’s dive into the list.
1. Page speed matters
Most think of slow load times as a nuisance for users, but its consequences go further than that. Page speed has long been a search ranking factor, and Google has even said that it may soon use mobile page speed as a factor in mobile search rankings. (Of course, your audience will appreciate faster page load times, too.)
Many have used Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to get an analysis of their site speed and recommendations for improvement. For those

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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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Google’s virtual game changer: Leveraging 360 VR video & image optimization for SEO

With little fanfare, earlier this year Google rolled out a way to embed 360-degree VR media for headsets in search engine optimizable web pages accessible via desktop and mobile. That’s right, immersive VR videos and images for VR headsets can now be optimized for search, accessed directly from Google and experienced on desktops and mobile devices, with or without the need for a native mobile app or VR headset. (Full disclosure: I own stock in Google.)
Considering Google has shipped over five million Cardboard VR headsets, and over 12 million VR headsets are expected to sell this year, this innovation presents a major opportunity for search marketers in travel, real estate, design, education and other industries.
While it has always been possible to embed 360 VR media in pages for consumption on desktop and mobile, compatibility issues made it nearly impossible to embed content for VR headsets in web pages. Google’s “VR View” is changing that by making immersive 360-degree

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