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In “Robot and Frank”, a 2012 movie, the protagonist is a retired cat burglar named Frank who is suffering from early symptoms of dementia. Worried and guilty, Frank’s son buys a home robot for him that can talk, do chores like cooking and cleaning, and reminds Frank to take his medicines on time. In the movie, Frank is initially not happy with the thought of living with a robot, but he gradually starts to see the robot as a functional tool and companion. The film ends on a happy note with a bond between a man and a machine. This can be all our future.  

Friendship Philosophy

John Danaher, a robotics philosopher, reflects on Greek philosopher Aristotle’s meaning of true friendship which talks about a bond premised on mutual goodwill, admiration, and shared values. In a sense, he says friendship is nothing but a partnership of equals. But according to John, building a robot with that level of emotion will be challenging. The closest we have to this philosophy is Hanson Robotic’s Sophia. This AI robot lays its behavior on a library of pre-prepared responses which makes it a chatbot rather than a conversational equal. If you interact with Alexa or Siri, you will notice that AI has a long way to go before achieving the Aristotle level of bonding.  

Artificial Pals

It has been observed that for some people, interacting with robots comes as naturally as it comes with pets, people, and possessions. Psychologists stated that there are people who respond socially towards computers and televisions, but humanoid robots are vastly different from televisions and computers. It’s not just a voice talking, it’s a more human-like structure. A group of UK researchers who came up with a set of ethical principles of robotics claims that a human-robot companionship is an oxymoron and to propagate that robots will understand social cues like humans is dishonest and alarming. On the other hand, there are people who develop bonds of machines like vacuum-cleaning and lawn-trimming machines by giving them pet names. Not just utility machines, Sony’s Aibo robot dog is a life-like pet robot that owners have a great bond with. Such stories are evidence that we are capable of having emotional bonds with robots if they don’t show any signs of threat.

Like it or not, the future will demand humans to co-exist with robots. That raises the question, can humans and robots be good friends, or will the pairing cause destruction as they show in sci-fi movies? In “Robot and Frank”, a 2012 movie, the protagonist is a retired cat burglar named Frank who is suffering from early symptoms of dementia. Worried and guilty, Frank’s son buys a home robot for him that can talk, do chores like cooking and cleaning, and reminds Frank to take his medicines on time. In the movie, Frank is initially not happy with the thought of living with a robot, but he gradually starts to see the robot as a functional tool and companion. The film ends on a happy note with a bond between a man and a machine. This can be all our chúng tôi Danaher, a robotics philosopher, reflects on Greek philosopher Aristotle’s meaning of true friendship which talks about a bond premised on mutual goodwill, admiration, and shared values. In a sense, he says friendship is nothing but a partnership of equals. But according to John, building a robot with that level of emotion will be challenging. The closest we have to this philosophy is Hanson Robotic’s Sophia. This AI robot lays its behavior on a library of pre-prepared responses which makes it a chatbot rather than a conversational equal. If you interact with Alexa or Siri, you will notice that AI has a long way to go before achieving the Aristotle level of chúng tôi has been observed that for some people, interacting with robots comes as naturally as it comes with pets, people, and possessions. Psychologists stated that there are people who respond socially towards computers and televisions, but humanoid robots are vastly different from televisions and computers. It’s not just a voice talking, it’s a more human-like structure. A group of UK researchers who came up with a set of ethical principles of robotics claims that a human-robot companionship is an oxymoron and to propagate that robots will understand social cues like humans is dishonest and alarming. On the other hand, there are people who develop bonds of machines like vacuum-cleaning and lawn-trimming machines by giving them pet names. Not just utility machines, Sony’s Aibo robot dog is a life-like pet robot that owners have a great bond with. Such stories are evidence that we are capable of having emotional bonds with robots if they don’t show any signs of threat. If all goes well, many of us will follow Frank’s path and accept the fact that robots can make for good companions. Humans are social animals and social interaction is rewarding in our own ways. In this manner, it seems possible that people who lack human relations will benefit from a robotic bond and address the need for social interaction like providing physical comfort during distress, emotional support, and enjoyable social exchanges. Maybe expecting an Aristotle-defined bond is an expectation set too high, but a co-existing future with robots is inevitable.

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Now Kids Can Easily Program A Complex Robot To Recognize A Smile

Since its release last year, the almost-too-cute tread-traveling bot, which was designed to spark an emotional, Wall-E-like connection with people, has become wildly popular, so it represents a well-established platform. It’s also a complex machine, with 1.6 million lines of code running between the robot itself and its companion app. The adorable bot can recognize individual faces, expressions, and imitate human emotions. Its “personality engine” leverages AI to allow it to emulate a human by doing things like losing interest in a specific game after playing it multiple times.

Since Cozmo’s launch, university students and others have been programming it through a software development kit. But to do that, they had to know the common coding language Python. That changed on Monday, when Anki opened up Cozmo’s brain to novice code-writers via a simple visual system based on Scratch, a graphical programming language developed at the MIT Media Lab. They call the new feature Code Lab.

Programming with pictures

Right now, that graphical code runs left to right in what’s known as a “horizontal grammar.” The next release in Code Lab will run a “vertical grammar” that goes from top to bottom, and can incorporate more complex actions, including well-known commands like conditional “if-then-else” statements that coders use in professional programming languages.

“We’re trying to figure out how to give people, in this case even kids or complete beginners, access to real robotics tools and functions,” says Hanns Tappeiner, the president and cofounder of Anki. “And when I say ‘real,’ I don’t mean lights blinking, or your robot driving straight, but we’re really talking about things like face recognition, face tracking, facial expression recognition,” and more.

A simple program. Anki

Robots that do kids’ bidding

Cozmo joins other kid-friendly programmable robots already on the market, like LEGO Mindstorms EV3. Aspiring coders can program that system using a LEGO-developed visual language that also uses graphical blocks to symbolize functions like actions. In August, the company will release a new system called LEGO Boost, also with its own visual programming language that’s geared towards kids aged 5 to 12. But neither of those systems are capable of doing facial recognition, even if EV3 does have sensors that allow it to respond to stimuli like touch and color.

And children can also program robots called Dash and Dot by using a Google-made visual programming language called Blockly, or an other one called Wonder that Wonder Workshop, the company behind those robots, created. Dash has distance sensors and microphones and can do things like turn towards a person who is speaking, and has awareness of other robots around it.

Using tech for creativity

MIT Media Lab created Scratch in 2007, and Anki is utilizing an open-source version called Scratch Blocks that was developed as a collaboration between Google and MIT. Kids who use Scratch are “learning the core computational concepts that are important for any other type of programming language,” says Mitchel Resnick, a professor of learning research at the MIT Media Lab and one of Scratch’s creators.

Ultimately, Resnick says that how tech is incorporated into toys matters. “I think it’s really important that we use new technology not just to deliver entertainment, or to deliver instruction,” he says, “but more to provide opportunities for kids to design, create, experiment, and explore.”

Realme X2 Pro Review: A Phone That Will Surprise You

Our Verdict

 Although it may sound cliché, Realme is trying to redefine the mid-range phone market with the X2 Pro, offering an unprecedented level of performance that will only be surpassed by much more expensive handsets. We especially like the variety of models and configurations to choose from, something which means you can get a 90Hz screen for under £400. For this and many other reasons which are outlined below, this phone is easy to recommend.

Although the initial lineup of Realme phones in Europe is somewhat limited (they can be counted on the fingers of one hand), the brand’s reputation and popularity has grown relatively quickly.

The Realme X2 Pro is the company’s most expensive model, but it is still among the most competitively priced phones at under £400. Also check out the Realme X50 Pro 5G.

In return you get the latest Snapdragon 855+ processor from Qualcomm, which reaches a clock speed of 2.96 Ghz and so will be free from any performance issues whatsoever. Let’s run through the different models and pricing.

Pricing and availability

The Realme X2 Pro is aiming to be the brand’s flagship model, combining speed, power and performance whilst maintaining a design that you typically only find in premium smartphones.

Realme has positioned the X2 Pro at a very interesting price point, and it comes in two different finishes – Neptune Blue and Lunar White. We tested the latter, which is particularly striking as the tones changes as they reflect the light.

We like the fact that there’s a variety of configurations to choose from, with Realme allowing you to choose between three different combinations of RAM and storage.

This is, of course, reflected in the price. The phone starts at £399 (€399) for 6GB/64GB, with another 8GB/128GB model and the maxed-out version we tried, which gets you 12GB/256GB for £499(€499).

Unfortunately, the only place we could find to buy the phone in the UK is Clove Technology, where you’ll pay £539.99 for the 8GB/128GB version. However, it might be worth importing from Spain, where you can pick it up the highest-specced model for just €449 on Amazon.

When you buy the phone, there are also additional discounts on some accessories, including two generations of wireless earbuds and a more robust cover to add to the one already in the box. Head to the Realme website to see the full range. 

Nonetheless, it faces strong competition from the best mid-range phones on the market.

Design and build

During its unveiling in Madrid, which we had the opportunity to attend, the company compared the X2 Pro to the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Xiaomi’s Mi 9T Pro, specifically in the areas of photography, battery life, charging speeds and screen quality.

If you’d like, you can read our in-depth reviews of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and the Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro.

There are plenty of notable design choices with the X2 Pro. Aesthetically we can’t ignore the generous 6.5in screen, but this shouldn’t make the phone unmanageable for most people. However, at 199g it is among the heaviest phones of 2023.

It differs slightly from other Realme phones on the back, with the quad camera setup moved to the centre of the phone as opposed to one side. The four lenses are aligned in a vertical row, although the camera module does protrude slightly from the back of the device. This can easily be fixed by applying the included silicone case.

The phone is a notorious fingerprint magnet, although the effects less noticeable on the lunar white model. The screen also suffers from smudges, but they are only visible when the screen is off. There is a teardrop notch here to house the 16Mp selfie camera, alongside an in-screen fingerprint scanner.

The glass back blends seamlessly into the curved edges of the device, which help with gripping the device when case-free.

It’s worth mentioning here that we were pleasantly surprised by the responsiveness of the device, as well as its strong performance in benchmark tests.

90Hz screen

At 6.5in, the X2 Pro adds just 0.1 in to the screen size of the regular X2, coming in with a 2400×1080 OLED panel. However, the most surprising thing here is the 90Hz refresh rate, something which is very surprising to see on a phone at this price point. Realme has likely been inspired by its successful implementation on the OnePlus 7T and 7T Pro.

Additionally, a maximum brightness of 480 nits means that outdoor visibility should be fine, even in direct sunlight. This should also help people who suffer with chronic tiredness or eye conditions such as presbyopia, as it makes reading on the phone easier.

The higher refresh rate can be toggled in settings, and makes a surprising difference when playing intense games or certain videos. However, it’s worth remembering that the 20:9 aspect ratio will leave black bars at either end of regular video, which is produced in a 16:9 format.

There are also options in settings to activate a blue light filter to combat visual fatigue. This is in addition to changing font sizes and customising the display to suit your tastes.

In everyday usage, you will notice the fast and smooth performance throughout the user interface, and there’s no latency even when multitasking or playing graphic-intensive games. Having 12GB of RAM definitely helps in this regard.

Performance

In terms of performance, the X2 Pro comes with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 Plus, its flagship processor for 2023. Combined with an Adreno 640 GPU, graphics performance is similarly impressive.

Qualcomm say this chipset is suitable for elite level gaming, so it should be able to compete with some of the best gaming phones on the market. The phone has some features perfect for mobile gaming, such as specific vibrations and excellent haptic feedback.

It offers a number of other useful tools, including the ability to respond to messages without leaving the game and easy screen capture and recording tools at your fingertips.

The UFS 3.0 memory storage also ensures data transfer speeds are among the best out there.

This stellar performance is exemplified in the chart below, where it is compared to some similarly priced handsets. These even include major players like OnePlus and Google.

Cameras

The four rear camera setup is headline by a primary 64Mp sensor. Raw files shot with this lens will be in a stunning 9280×6944 resolution, meaning you could print a 3.6m poster without losing resolution.

A second 13Mp telephoto lens provides 2x optical zoom, which can be extended to 20x with the help of software. We loved the UI in the camera app, which allowed us to quickly switch between modes at the touch of a button.

2x optical zoom is the standard so it’s nice to see that here, but we would recommend using the 20x hybrid zoom sparingly as sharpness can quickly be lost.

The third sensor, an 8Mp wide-angle, extended the field of view to 115 degrees, while the fourth and final time-of-flight (ToF) lens allows for greater depth measurements. As a result, sharpness is impressive both at the point of focus and the edges of the images.

Looking at the same image from above zoomed to 5x, the variation in brightness and colour information (known as noise) is much more noticeable.

In portrait mode, it’s nice to be able to choose how much background blur you want in your shots. You can choose anywhere between 0 and 100%, with it set to 60% by default.

There’s also some special modes available here, including Beauty, Nightscape and Chroma Boost. We were pretty impressed with the results, as they allow a lot of flexibility when shooting even before filters are applied.

The X2 Pro supports slow motion up to 960fps, and you can even use the ultra-wide camera to achieve this effect. You can get some great shots as a result, particularly with an ultra-stable mode activated.

The aforementioned Nightscape mode is quite impressive, but it can’t compete with the dedicated low light modes on the likes of the iPhone 11 Pro or Google Pixel 4.

Battery and fast charging

In order to compensate for the 90Hz display on the X2 Pro, Realme has included a large 4000mAh battery.

However, the more surprising thing here is the included Super VOOC Flash Charge, which supports an incredible 50W. This technology is known for its use in Oppo phones, where it has had great success.

The X2 Pro charged unlike anything we’ve seen before, reaching a full 100% in just 30 minutes. We can confidently say it’s the fastest charging we’ve ever tested on a phone, and should be a key factor in the decision over whether to purchase this phone.

What’s more, the X2 Pro includes a new heat dissipation process that allows it to cope with any significant temperature rises. A gel helps spread heat across the whole device, ensuring no one component will overheat as a result. This should help it cope with more intensive graphical processes, as well as the staggering new charging standard.

The battery itself lasted 8 hours and 37 minutes in our testing, meaning it should be able to comfortably exceed a day’s usage for most people. This is a similar result to the Redmi Note 8T, but significantly less than the incredible 13 hours and 13 minutes we recorded on the Xiaomi Mi Note 10.

Android Pie with ColorOS 6.1

ColorOS also has better optimisation for bezel-less screens, with easy access to the most popular functions and an improved notification bar that can be customised, depending on the style of display cut-out.

The aforementioned Hyper Boost allows you to easily switch between high performance and power-saving modes as it adapts to your own usage patterns.

The game assistant mode allows you to simplify managing notifications and creates easy shortcuts to the most common functions while gaming.

The Oppo Reno 10x Zoom was one of the first phones to come with this new version of ColorOS 6, and you can read our review of that phone here for a more in-depth look at the new software.

Verdict

The Realme X2 Pro has plenty of notable strengths, and the fact so many of premium features are being offered at this price point makes it easy to recommend.

We can’t think of any other phone which is offering a 90Hz display at this price point, not to mention the ultra-fast charge which will give you nearly 100% battery in the time it takes to have a shower or eat lunch.

It is worth mentioning some of the deficiencies with the X2 Pro, including the absence of an official IP rating for water and dust resistance, and no support for wireless charging. However, you can quickly forget about the latter when the wired charging is so impressive.

The quadruple rear camera system does not disappoint, producing photos with great sharpness and vivid colours that stand out. It has everything and more that most people are looking for in a phone, including great cameras, superb gaming performance and super-fast charging.

We are extremely satisfied with the end result, even if there is room for improvement in some aesthetic and design aspects. At 199g, we hope the next device is just a little more lightweight too.

Note: This story was originally published in Spanish on our sister site, PC World Spain.

Related stories for further reading Specs Realme X2 Pro: Specs

Connectivity: Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.0, USB-C, NFC, 3.5mm headphone jack, dual stereo speakers

Main cameras: Quad sensor w/ 64MP (main), 13MP (tele), 8MP (wide), 2MP (depth)

Display: 6.5in 90Hz Super AMOLED Full HD+ (2400×1080) screen

Storage: 64GB (UFS 2.1)/128GB (UFS 3.0)/256GB (UFS 3.0)

Battery: 4000mAh w/ 50W SuperVOOC fast charging

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+

Colours: Neptune Blue, Lunar White

OS: Android 9 Pie w/ ColorOS 6.1

Dimensions: 161 x 75.7 x 8.7mm

RAM: 6GB/8GB/12GB

Front camera: 16MP

Weight: 199 grams

Megapixels: What A Sonic Boom Looks Like

You’ve likely heard of a sonic boom—the loud noise that would reach your ears if a supersonic aircraft flew overhead. But it turns out that images of shockwaves caused by flying faster than the speed of sound are awesome to see even without the sound. In the image above, NASA photographed two T-38 aircraft flying at just faster than the speed of sound over California.

To get the image, NASA used a Super King Air turboprop aircraft flying at an indicated airspeed of about 160 mph at 30,000 feet. The two supersonic jets, separated by about 30 feet front to back and 10 feet vertically, were below the King Air by about 2,000 feet when it shot the images.

The King Air has ports on its belly that can be opened or closed, and the photography gear was positioned in one of those ports so it could shoot downwards.

“We have high-resolution, high-speed cameras, and we are photographing the desert floor,” says Dan Banks, a senior research engineer at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California. “And then the target aircraft—in this case, the T-38s—fly underneath.”

In one of the images below, you can see a T-38 on its side breaking the sound barrier. In that case, the turboprop doing the shooting was still above the supersonic jet, but the T-38 had rolled sideways.

The shockwaves form as supersonic aircraft travel through the air, almost like a bow wave in front of a fast boat, Banks explains. “The air basically can’t get out of its own way,” he says. “The way nature deals with that is, it develops a shockwave.” In the image above, the T-38s were going at Mach 1.01, which is just over the speed of sound. (Mach 1 is the speed of sound, which actually changes depending on an aircraft’s altitude.)

The shockwaves were photographable because of the change in air density. “The density change causes a change in the index of refraction,” Banks says, comparing it to the way a spoon will look distorted when you see it submerged in a glass of water. “As the shockwave goes over the desert floor, you’ll see the features—in this case, the scrub brush—will appear to move slightly.” In other words, the shock waves are visible because of the way they distort the background, like the way heat comes off a hot parking lot in the summer and changes your view of what’s behind it.

NASA had to do some work to make the image come together—the layer of the image that’s been processed to show the shockwaves doesn’t clearly show the aircraft. “It looks almost like a ghost aircraft,” Banks says. By combining that layer with another layer that sharply shows the planes, and then colorizing it, they were able to produce the shot above.

So why do all this? NASA is working on an aircraft called the X-59 QueSST—the agency’s goal for that craft is for it to be supersonic, but not as loud. It should just produce “a quiet rumble,” NASA said in a statement. Research like this will help the agency with that goal, Banks said, because it helps them visualize what’s happening with supersonic shockwaves.

This T-38 is flying sideways and breaking the sound barrier at the same time. NASA Photo

Another image of T-38s flying faster than the speed of sound. NASA Photo

Mayor Of San Juan: What Will You Do In A Moral Crisis?

Mayor of San Juan: What Will You Do in a Moral Crisis? Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto (CAS’84, Hon.’18) delivers emotional Baccalaureate address

Her voice often cracking with emotion, the mayor of San Juan, P.R., used her BU Baccalaureate address Sunday at Marsh Chapel to take attendees to the ghostly streets of her devastated island, while urging them to raise their voices against injustices.

Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto (CAS’84, Hon.’18) recounted her role as global troubadour for her island after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico last September. She publicly condemned the slow pace of federal help, a criticism recovery leaders themselves echoed, and President Trump responded by denouncing her.

“There were no cars” immediately after the storm, Cruz said from the Marsh pulpit, “no people in the street, no dogs barking, and no music playing.…Just a deafening silence.”

Cruz told of spending a night with 685 homeless people in Puerto Rico’s largest emergency shelter. Without naming Trump or island officials who neglected serious review of emergency response plan updates, she said that “rather than leadership at the highest places, we faced a general lack of urgency and a dismissive attitude.

“Those charged with coming to our aid failed us,” she said. “We were dying, and they were killing us with bureaucracy.” Her pleas for help, however, galvanized others globally, including the Puerto Rican diaspora. “Boy, did they listen,” she added, coming forth with aid.

Cruz exhorted her listeners to raise their voices against other injustices in the headlines. Acknowledging in the audience Sunday’s Commencement speaker, US Representative John Lewis (Hon.’18) (D-Ga.), a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement, she said, “You may not accomplish everything you set out to do, but I guarantee you, as Congressman Lewis knows all too well, you will never fail.”

“If you believe that children everywhere have the right to schools without gun violence,” she said, just two days after yet another school shooting by a student who killed 10 in Santa Fe, Tex., “you must demand that sensible gun control laws are enacted.”

Cruz’s Baccalaureate talk before a packed Marsh Chapel audience earned a standing ovation and came just two weeks before the start of this year’s hurricane season, with Puerto Rico’s government vowing it won’t be caught flat-footed again with its emergency planning. At least 150,000 residents still await the return of electricity service and insurance payments for their destroyed homes.

In a prayer of optimism similar to Cruz’s address, Brother Lawrence Whitney (STH’09,’18), University chaplain for community life, quoted a famous line from Martin Luther King, Jr. (GRS’55, Hon.’59): “The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Cruz’s speech was part of the chapel’s regular Sunday service and was accompanied by scripture readings that reflected the occasion: graduates about to take leave of their alma mater.

Jean Morrison, University provost, read Ecclesiastes’ famous reminder that such transitions are part of the cycle of life: “To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven…a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together…”

Robert A. Brown, BU president, reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, offered departing Terriers the apostle’s exhortation to exceed others’ expectations: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

At BU’s 145th Commencement at Nickerson Field on Sunday afternoon, Cruz, one of five honorary degree recipients, received a Doctor of Laws.

Find more information about Commencement here.

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What Will Local Seo Look Like In 2023?

Local SEO will increase in importance over the next few years, making it tougher for local businesses to make it to the top of search results

The importance of local search will continue to grow with 46% of searches on Google already having local intent. Moreover, almost every local search converts into a sales either online and offline. This means, more and more businesses will try to make it to the top of the local search results, making local SEO tougher than before. Here are some things to consider:

By 2023, around 50% of searches will be voice-based so there will be less typing involved. This will give rise to a higher number of long tail keywords and hyperlocal searches.

Reviews will play an important role in businesses having more positive reviews ranking higher on the local search results.

User engagement will be the key. Google will give higher importance to businesses that receive the maximum engagement.

Now, let’s discuss the things that will remain same and what are the new changes that are set to impact the local search landscape in 2023 and ahead.

Integrated marketing 2023 guide

Take a complete look at what integrated marketing will look like in 2023. Our free guide provides your company with 10 steps it should take to get itself ready for the future.

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Basic factors like the ‘RDP’ will remain the same

RDP stands for Relevance, Distance and Prominence. The basic RDP factors will remain the same and it will affect your overall business presence in the local search results.

Relevance means how well your business listing matches with the user’s intent. For example, if you are searching for a ‘Sushi restaurant’ then Google will return a list that only includes local restaurants that serve ‘Sushi’.

Distance measures how far the searcher is from the business when the search is made. Businesses nearest to the searcher will be ranked higher. For example, if you are in Dothan searching for ‘a shoe store near me’ and Google detects your location to be near the Wiregrass Commons Mall then shoe stores in or nearest to the Wiregrass Commons Mall will be ranked higher.

Prominence measures the popularity of the business both in the offline and online world. For example, if you are searching for Pizza then companies like ‘Dominos’ or ‘Pizza Hut’ will have an upper hand in the listings as compared to any other mom and pop Pizza shop.

Top factors that will make the biggest difference

Let’s discuss the top factors that will make the biggest difference for local SEO in the years to come:

1. Businesses With Exceptional Product/Service Will Have The Best Chances of Ranking Higher in Local Search 2. “Entity authority” will become a key factor

The authority of the entity (or business) will play a major role in Google’s local algorithm. An interesting article published on Tidings reveals that Google might determine the authority of the local entity based on the following factors:

Entity popularity

How popular is the entity? Are people discussing it on forums, in communities or articles? If people mention your site, your business name, your business’s geo-location but don’t link to it, it might get counted as an entity mention and help you get higher rankings in Google search. Bill Slawski mentioned this in his article. This means that brand mentions will become a key factor.

One of the best ways to generate a lot of brand mentions is to produce content that is locally relevant to your target audience. For example, the below graphic created by chúng tôi for the brand Trippy generated a lot of local business mentions and valuable backlinks. It featured 196 of the oldest bars in America. Publishers were able to find the bars of their area and share it with their readers. This was an amazing way of generating locally relevant brand mentions and backlinks.

Entity engagement

What is the reaction of the people for the entity? Do people love it or hate it? You need to make sure that your business receives the best engagement everywhere. Again, based on the Tidings article linked above, the following graph can be seen as the future of ranking factor where “engagement” is seen to be receiving a major share when it comes to local SEO.

3. New “engagement metrics” will come into play

Local search engagement metrics like how many people have saved the business as a contact in their Android phone or how many people ask for the location of the business using local maps will come into play.

Google is already controlling all the sources it needs to judge the popularity and reputation of a business so that it ranks the best at the top of the local search results. Google Chrome, Android, Google Maps, Gmail, Google Assistant etc. are all such services that are busy tracking user data. The user engagement metrics tracked by services like these will play a deciding role in the local rankings.

4. Voice SEO will play a dominant role

As per a survey performed by BrightLocal, around 56% of users have searched for a local business using a Smartphone in the last 12 months.

Moreover, the same survey revealed that restaurants, grocery stores and food delivery are the top three local businesses that people search for using voice.

This shows that voice has already started to rule the local search and businesses who are late in optimizing their presence for voice search will soon struggle to rank highly. Here are the steps you need to take to optimize your business for voice SEO:

Accurate business listing

Have a complete and accurate listing of your business on Google My Business. You must accurately mention your business name, complete address, business timings, price of the products, add proper images and videos, invite customers to add reviews and provide users with all the information they might look for when searching for your business on Google. Remember, Google displays an option to sort the local listings based on review, price and hours.

People may use a voice command like “find the best bakery store near me” and Google might take into account factors like reviews, mentions, entity authority and timing before suggesting the most relevant result.

Ranking for long tail (question-based) keywords

Research long tail keywords that users might ask to find your business on Google. Remember, most of the question-based keywords starts with what, how, when, where, which etc. Use tools like Answer The Public to identify potential question-based queries and create unique landing pages that answer the exact questions asked by the user. You can also take the help of Quora, Google related searches or scan your own analytics data to find even more questions that are already asked by your customers.

Getting your business listed under the knowledge panel

Google will prefer to list businesses that have a Knowledge Panel like the one given below. You need to add proper local structured data to your website in order to allow Google to correctly fetch all the details related to your business.

Optimizing for “near me” searches

Stats reveal that “near me” searches have increased over time. Hence, you need to list as many locations as needed in your Google My Business account. This will help Google to properly identify the business locations your company serves and return them as a search result when any potential searcher is searching for your business service in those particular locations.

Conclusion

Local SEO is certainly going to get tougher in 2023. More and more new businesses will try to compete with older ones making it difficult for marketers to gain the top spot in organic listings. Keeping the discussed factors in mind can certainly help to gain an upper hand.

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