Report: 57% of traffic now from smartphones and tablets

It’s been a little over two years since Google first announced that mobile searches had exceeded desktop queries on a global basis. That number has continued to grow, although the company has not provided an official update recently.
At a recent press event, a Google speaker casually said that the “vast majority” of search queries are now mobile. However, this is not official and wasn’t affirmed by spokespeople.
In the absence of official updates from Google and Bing, third parties have offered a range of statements on the question of mobile search and mobile traffic volumes vs. the desktop. For example, earlier today, BrightEdge reported that 57 percent of traffic among its clients is coming from smartphones and tablets.
Mobile vs. PC Traffic in US (BrightEdge customers)

In some categories (e.g., restaurants), the numbers can besignificantly higher. That goes equally for younger demographic segments, where all the numbers skew more mobile.
In general agreement with BrightEdge, StatCounter reports that mobile traffic in

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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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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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The Yext IPO and the triumph of local SEO

Yext’s successful IPO several weeks ago represents a kind of triumph for local SEO. Despite the fact that Yext now calls itself a “Knowledge Engine,” the company is essentially doing local listings management. It recently added reputation management.
Yext began in roughly 2006 as a next-gen pay-per-call network. The company’s growth and evolution is a product of some smart decisions by CEO Howard Lerman and his management team. It also speaks to the power of marketing and branding. There are numerous companies that do what Yext does, yet it has been able to rise above the competition with some savvy marketing and heavy spending.
But more broadly, the Yext IPO stands in for the importance of presence or listings management as a foundational tenet of digital marketing for omnichannel brands and businesses.
For roughly 20 years, various digital marketing pundits have been predicting the death of SEO. And despite a dramatic migration away from traditional SERPs to more “answers” and

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Just released: 2017 Local Search Ranking Factors survey results

At the risk of oversimplifying what it takes to rank in local search results in 2017, links and reviews are hot.
That’s one of the many conclusions drawn by more than three dozen local SEOs who have come together in the 2017 Local Search Ranking Factors survey, just published today. This is the latest in the long-running survey that David Mihm began almost a decade ago. The survey went on hiatus in 2016, then Mihm handed it over to Darren Shaw.
While reviews and links are considered more important now, citations appear to be losing importance in the survey. Still important? Yes. But as Shaw explains in his post introducing the survey, “the emphasis on citations has seen some decline (certainly in favor of links), and rightly so. In particular, there is an increasing focus on quality over quantity.”
The survey breaks down what those local SEOs believe are the most important ranking factors for both local packs and localized

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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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5 ways you can improve your new business’s visibility on Google Maps

New businesses need all the help they can get to attract customers, generate revenue and establish themselves to compete with existing companies. And for brick-and-mortar storefronts, being found on Google Maps is key to driving traffic to the business.
Due to the economic explosion in the Plano and Frisco suburbs of Dallas, opening of new local stores is rampant. New commercial developments are being built and filled with shops within a matter of months. This growth also provides the ability to make some interesting Google Map search observations, as comparisons can be made between stores with similar attributes.
I’ll take a look at new restaurants located in the map area below. It’s a less-than-one-mile stretch of a busy road running north to south. The east side of Preston Road is substantially built out and has many established businesses and restaurants that have been there for several years. The west side of Preston Road is very new — all five restaurants there

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