Every week we bring you a brief 15 minute video and the links of the best articles in Local Search. OK. It's not always 15 minutes but we are never off by more than 10 minutes or so.;
Mike: Image recognition plus simultaneous localization and mapping allows smartphones to get their bearings in relation to the physical world and overlay graphics and other information correctly over material surroundings. For local businesses, visual search will allow customers to point their smartphone cameras at storefronts in order to obtain information such as hours, menus, and so on, and it will also allow customers in-store to gauge the quality of the products in front of them.
Obviously rapid gains in using AI to understand images will lead to all sorts of interesting local use cases that will start to becoming apparent this year.
Mike: Local search is not well serviced by traditional SEO tools. What might tools look like that do serve local better?
Mike: With Google taking searchers directly to the embedded paragraph of a webpage will change user behaviors. Exactly how isn't clear but this is one more reason to keep an eye on AMP. AMP is still not ready for prime time but you should stay abreast of developments as this is the way Google is steadily moving.
Mary: Tim Capper gives us a "glimpse under the curtain" of the GMB Product Expert program and how you can get started becoming one, if you wish. While there are definitely benefits, it's always chapped me that one of the richest companies in the world expects (and gets!) people to do their customer support work as volunteers.
Mary: Ann Smarty gives us a nice guide to satisfying both curious searchers and the "answer engines". Ann describes some tools and how to use them and how to re-optimize existing pages to answer common questions.
Mary: Craig Mount of ClassyBrain discusses a recent Yelp update that downgraded a significant number of reviews to "not recommended".
5 take-aways: This update was a cross-platform wide update. Everyone was affected. The reviews that were filtered into “Not Recommended” weren’t all 5-stars. Of the 187 business that lost reviews, two business lost enough reviews to lose one full-rating point; 45 lost .5 rating point; but 140 lost no rating points at all. Whether or not a business was an advertiser with Yelp didn’t seem to matter. Whether or not you were a Yelp Elite did not seem to matter, these reviews would have also been filtered. Reviews that have been on the platform for several years were filtered.
Hospital Prices No Longer Secret As New Data Reveals Bewildering System, Staggering Cost Differences | HuffPost
Carrie: Hospitals have to publish their pricing as of Jan 1 - it's a hot mess right now - but what does this mean for local hospital/clinic competitiveness when they have overlapping services?
Andy Simpson ? on Twitter: "Unicode used in a GMB Business Name Not spam, just company branding! ? GMB, Instagram and Twitter ?https://t.co/gh6rtFxs58 ... this could get ????? "
Carrie: Using unicode to make your business name stand out on maps and in knowledge panel. Like emojis in business names - probably not inline with GMB TOS, but it seems to be working okay - and wont likely incur a "penalty" if Google takes it down.
Carrie: Great article from Phil Rozek that outlines the types of pages that can really make an impact on local rankings. Some of us already have some of these pages - some of us have some work to do!
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