After a great holiday break, I’m looking forward to getting back on track with the bi-weekly Agency Insider. Here are just a handful of stories that have caught my eye early in the new year.

Will 2018 Be a Tipping Point for Voice?

Source: streetfightmag.com

There may only be 6-7 ‘commands’ that we use regularly with voice, though I’m willing to bet that as people get more and more accustomed to the interface, the horizon of possibilities expands.


2017 Local Search Industry Survey

Source: www.brightlocal.com

Some great research from BrightLocal for anyone working in digital marketing, or building products for the digital marketing industry.

I was encouraged to see the number of smaller agencies participating (under $500K in annual revenue, sub-$1000 monthly retainers), since that’s the primary customer the Tidings Agency Platform is designed for.

(Also now’s probably a good time to plug my upcoming webinar with BrightLocal next week :))


Alphabet’s Google is exploring a sale of restaurant reviewer Zagat, sources tell Reuters

Source: www.cnbc.com

In Marissa Mayer’s impressive portfolio of major strategic mistakes, the wasted acquisition and bungled integration of Zagat while leading Google Local, I’d rate this one 29/30.

Can you imagine the results had Google spent the $151MM purchase price on SMB product development, outreach, and support?


Google Giving Less Weight to Reviews of Places You Stop Visiting?

Source: www.seobythesea.com

I would have included this article just on the basis of Bill’s opening line: “I don’t consider myself paranoid, but after reading a lot of Google patents, I’ve been thinking of my phone as my Android tracking device.”

But it also details an interesting long-term algorithmic vector from which Google can attack fake reviews (I’d argue that there are many, many easier ones to attack in the short-term).


2018 Predictions for the Local Ecosystem

Source: www.thelsa.org

The LSA interviewed 60 top local marketing folks to get their predictions for 2018. Virtually everyone shared my feeling that ads will be a much bigger part of the local search story this year.

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