Iraqi forces launch large-scale push to retake western Mosul from ISIS

FILE - In this Nov. 28, 2016 file photo, Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi speaks during an interview with the Associated Press in Baghdad, Iraq.

U.S.-backed Iraqi forces launched a large-scale military operation on Sunday to retake the western half of Mosul and dislodge Islamic State militants. It is the latest phase in a 4-month-old offensive to retake Iraq’s second largest city.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the start of the operation on state TV, saying government forces were moving to “liberate the people of Mosul from Daesh oppression and terrorism forever,” using the Arabic acronym for ISIS. He called on security forces to deal with civilians properly and to respect human rights.

Iraqi forces declared eastern Mosul “fully liberated” last month, however ISIS militants continued to launch attacks there. Hours after the latest operation was announced, suicide bombers struck troops and pro-government Sunni militiamen in eastern Mosul.

“ISIS’s cruelty, brutality and reach show they are not just a threat in Iraq and Syria, but to the region and the entire world,” said Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, in a statement.

Plumes of smoke were seen rising into the sky early Sunday morning as U.S.-led coalition jets struck militant positions southwest of Mosul and militarized Iraqi police fired artillery toward the city. Heavily armed police units were getting ready to move north with their armored vehicles from a base just southwest of the city.

“This is zero hour and we are going to end this war, God willing,” said Mahmoud Mansour, a police officer, as he prepared to move out.

The battle for western Mosul promises to be the most daunting yet, as the half of the city west of the Tigris River has older, narrower streets and is still home to hundreds of thousands of civilians, who have been told to shelter in place.

“Mosul would be a tough fight for any army in the world, and the Iraqi forces have risen to the challenge,” said Townsend. “They have taken the fight to the enemy and sacrificed their blood for the people of Iraq and the rest of the world.”

The immediate objective was to take the villages on the southern outskirts of Mosul airport, a police spokesman told The Associated Press. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters.

Police units quickly moved into the village of Athba, about 3 miles (5 kilometers) southwest of the airport, encountering only light resistance, according to an AP reporter traveling with them. Separately, the army’s 9th Division moved into the village of Bakhira, also southwest of the city, the Iraqi Ministry of Defense said.

The United Nations meanwhile warned that hundreds of thousands of civilians trapped inside their houses “are at extreme risk,” with dwindling fuel and food supplies and scare drinking water and electricity.

“The situation is distressing. People, right now, are in trouble,” Lise Grande, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, said in a statement. “We are hearing reports of parents struggling to feed their children and to heat their homes,” Grande said.

Citing witnesses in western Mosul, the U.N. said nearly half of all food shops were closed and bakeries had shut down due to a lack of fuel and an inability to purchase costly flour. Prices of kerosene and cooking gas have skyrocketed, and many of the most destitute families are burning wood, furniture, plastic or garbage for cooking and heating.

“Three out of five people now depend on untreated water from wells for cooking and drinking as water systems and treatment plants have been damaged by fighting or run out of chlorine,” said Peter Hawkins, of the U.N. agency for children.

The humanitarian agencies were gearing up to aid 250,000 to 400,000 civilians who may flee due to fighting, the statement said. The U.N. estimates that about 750,000 civilians may be left in western Mosul.

Iraqi forces spent three months driving ISIS from eastern Mosul, but the militants appear to have left sleeper cells to carry out attacks behind the front lines.

Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool, an Iraqi military spokesman, said a suicide bomber set off struck a patrol of Sunni tribal fighters in Zihoor neighborhood, while another targeted Iraqi troops in Nabi Younis.

Rasool declined to provide casualty figures. Two policemen said one Sunni fighter was killed and nine wounded in the first attack, while the second attack wounded five soldiers. They spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information.

Iraqi special operations forces, regular army and federal police units are taking part in the offensive along with government-approved paramilitary forces, mainly consisting of Shiite militias, which are operating on the city’s outskirts.

Mosul fell to ISIS in the summer of 2014, along with large swaths of northern and western Iraq. It is the extremist group’s last major urban bastion in Iraq.

[Source:-Fox news]

[Update: Gone from the beta too] Twitter removes its homescreen widget support from the latest alpha

Twitter is struggling to figure out what it wants to be when it grows up. Life can be tough when you’re a social network that almost everyone has heard about but no one knows how to use when they’re just joining for the first time.

But despite these tumultuous times at Twitter’s headquarters, the Android app has seen some of its best days in the past few months: an overhauled Material Design inspired interface, a test for a night mode, Android N Direct Reply, and more. But instead of giving something new, the latest Twitter alpha 6.9.0 takes away a feature: the homescreen widget.

If you have the widget added to your homescreen, you will see the above message instead when you’re on the latest alpha. The widget is clearly no longer functional. Whether this change will carry through to the beta and stable versions remains to be seen, but it’s clear that Twitter’s Android developers are at least considering the possibility of removing the widget support altogether. Maybe they found out it wasn’t used all that much and the people who had added it were so few that it didn’t warrant keeping it alive and supported. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, feel free to cry foul in the comments below.

[Source:-Android Central]

10 things learnt from 10 years of blogging

10 things learnt from 10 years of blogging

Image via Shutterstock

For the past 10 years I have been writing a blog about Melbourne’s visual arts. My first blog post on Black Mark, Melbourne Art and Culture Critic was on February 16, 2008. It was ‘Faster Faster Pussycat’ about Phibs, Debs and other street artists painting a wall in Fitzroy. Now over a 1000 blog posts later this is what I have I learned about blogging.

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    1. It can motivate you The first thing I learned was that writing a blog was motivation to do more in life; I was already going to many art exhibitions but now there was more motivation to go to places, meet people and do other fun things. Soon I started to get invitations to do more things and meet more people. Blogging changed my life; although it wasn’t actually the writing, nor the taking endless photos, or the posting online that really made the change.
    2. You probably won’t make money Do not expect to make money from advertising on your blog but there are a variety of other ways that you can use a blog professionally from promotion to networking. My friend Professor Alison Young, who I met through blogging, uses her blog Images to Live By, to introduce herself. Middle-aged academics are not a typical part of the street art/graffiti scene but now Alison is ‘Banksy favourite criminologist’.
    3. You can make friends I have made many new friends through writing the blog, which has improved the quality of my life. One reason why I have made so many friends blogging is that I mostly write about what other people are doing.
    4. You learn how to manage enemies I have learned how to deal with hostile comments, trolls and other idiots. You can’t predict what will get people to write hostile comments – it could be pigeons in Coburg. I have never shied away from controversy, writing posts about the persecution of Bill Henson and Paul Yore. When I have hostile comments I always remember that the person writing them will forget about it after a day or two. If they don’t, that I can always block them from making comments, but I’ve only had to do this once in ten years. Comments are not indicative of anything; no comment does not mean a bad post. Out of 1,077 post I have only had 2,099 comments; half the comments are my own because I generally reply to all comments but I avoid feeding trolls.
    5. You need a focus My blog is focused on Melbourne’s visual arts but I do post about other things on it. Having a clear focus for a blog is important but it is a balance between a very narrow focus and ranging too far. With 13 categories on my blog I’m not sure that I’ve got it right but it is a lesson I’ve learned.
    6. You get to do a lot of people watching Vox pops can make a good local blog post. These don’t have to be direct quotes, but observations on how people are reacting. I like to watch how small children react at art exhibitions; are they engaged or bored? ‘Why does a tree need a sweater?’ is an example of how one observation of an angry man made a successful blog post about yarn bombing.Another local blogger and people-watcher is the writer Jane Routley, who writes about her day job in Station Stories, life as a Station Assistant.
    7. You might get a book published In 2015 my first book, Sculpture of Melbourne, was published by Melbourne Books. I started writing and researching the book on my blog and before I started my blog I couldn’t have imagined writing a history of Melbourne’s public sculpture. I am now working on my second book about true art crimes in Melbourne.
    8. You should follow your analytics I learnt from watching my stats the there was an interest in Melbourne’s public sculpture. What the public wants to read about art is different to what many arts writers want to write about. There are a lot of different kinds of feedback that you can get on blogs from comments to stats. Lots of stats, numbers of subscribers, views, repeat views. In ten years I’ve had approximately 537,000 views from 155 countries around the world (still no views from Greenland, Cuba, Iran, South Sudan and various central African countries). Stats can be addictive – you get the idea.
    9. Blogs can be works of art.My blog isn’t but the artist Peter Tyndall’s blog was exhibited at the NGV in 2013’s Melbourne Now exhibition and there are other less notable examples.
    10. It is hard work but satisfying

You are your own boss, your own editor and you make your own deadlines. Ignore the advice about blogging that you have to post regularly. Writing a blog may not be for everyone but it has worked for me and I will continue.

[Source:-Arts Hub]

Five Themes And Matching Songs To Expect From Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl Performance

Lady Gaga will perform the halftime show at Sunday’s Super Bowl game and is expected to put on an eye-popping spectacle. Here are a few things to look for and some song choices.

1. A Statement About Equality: For an artist who has always been about inclusion, this is no big surprise that she is stressing that will be the theme of her performance. But given that everything in the current climate tends to take on some political weight, expect her actions to be interpreted as a political statement— either for gay or immigrant rights or both. Potential song choice: “Born This Way”

2. Guest Stars: There’s been speculation that her buddy Tony Bennett would join her, but that seems unlikely beyond his already announced role in her introduction. If the Super Bowl were in San Francisco or New York, it would make sense, but Bennett isn’t famous for singing about Houston.  You know who is from Houston? Beyonce. Any while Beyonce has been busy breaking the internet with her announcement that she and Jay Z are expecting twins, Lady Gaga’s recent Instagram post featuring an emoji of a bee has folks going crazy that Queen Bey will join her. Potential  song choice: “Telephone.” .

3. High-flying Entrance: The half-time show is an exercise in military precision-like execution and not always prone to special effects beyond lots of fireworks and lights given that the first rule is to do no harm to the field. However, Lady Gaga has hinted that she will perform while hanging from the roof of NRG Stadium at some point. She credited her sister with coming up with the idea during  a Boston radio show interview. Potential song choices: “Edge of Glory” or “Perfect Illusion”

4: An Athletic Performance: She has around 13 minutes to stake her claim in Super Bowl history and despite getting sidelined with a hip injury a few years ago, Lady Gaga has stressed that hers will be a very high-energy performance. During a press conference, she noted that she and her dancers have been working on the set for two months and spies apparently saw the dancers working out their routine to some material. Potential song choice: “Bad Romance”

5. No Left Shark: While there will likely be plenty of water cooler moments to dissect, Lady Gaga’s style isn’t cutesy.Instead expect flashiness, lots of dancing, some feel-good moments possibly  involving kids,  tremendous vocals, and some wow moments that are shocking, but not deliberately provocative. Lady Gaga seems to know that she has a real opportunity to provide a moment of unity when we really need one. And yes, it’s just a Super Bowl performance, but more than a billion eyes will be on her and on the USA. Potential song choice: “Poker Face.”

Bonus: Beyond the performance, it’s now become commonplace for artists to use their Super Bowl platform to announce a new career move, such as a tour, and there have been rumors that Lady Gaga will use the opportunity to announce a world tour behind her latest album, Joanne. Keep your eyes peeled for that.

[Source:-Forbes]

New mercury threat to oceans from climate change

mercury

Rising temperatures could boost mercury levels in fish by up to seven times the current rates, say Swedish researchers.

They’ve discovered a new way in which warming increases levels of the toxin in sea creatures.

In experiments, they found that extra rainfall drives up the amount of organic material flowing into the seas.

This alters the food chain, adding another layer of complex organisms which boosts the concentrations of mercury up the line.

The study has been published in the journal, Science Advances.

Toxic form

Mercury is one of the world’s most toxic metals, and according to the World Health Organization, is one of the top ten threats to public health. The substance at high levels has been linked to damage to the nervous system, paralysis and mental impairment in children.

mercuryImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionMercury is used in many parts of the world especially in gold mining

The most common form of exposure to mercury is by eating fish containing methylmercury, an organic form of the chemical which forms when bacteria react with mercury in water, soil or plants.

Levels of mercury in the world’s ecosystems have increased by between 200 and 500%, since the industrial revolution say experts, driven up by the use of fossil fuels such as coal.

In recent years there are have been concentrated efforts to limit the amount of mercury entering the environment, with an international treaty, called the Minamata Convention, signed by 136 countries in place since 2013.

mercuryImage copyrightSOFI JONSSON
Image captionResearcher Erik Bjorn injects mercury into sediment samples

But this new study suggests that climate change could be driving up levels of methylmercury in a manner not previously recognised.

In a large laboratory, Swedish researchers recreated the conditions found in the Bothnian sea estuary. They discovered that as temperatures increase, there is an increased run-off of organic matter into the world’s oceans and lakes. This encourages the growth of bacteria at the expense of phytoplankton.

“When bacteria become abundant in the water there is also a growth of a new type of predators that feed on bacteria,” lead author Dr Erik Bjorn from Umea University in Sweden told BBC News.

“You basically get one extra step in the food chain and methylmercury is enriched by about a factor of ten in each such step in the food web.”

Under the warmest climate scenario suggested by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, there would be an increase in organic matter run-off of 15-20% by the end of this century. This in turn would see levels of methylmercury in zooplankton, the bottom link in the food chain, grow by between two and seven fold.

mercuryImage copyrightERIK LUNDBERG
Image captionSediment cores were recovered from Swedish coastal waters for use in the mercury experiments

Different parts of the world will suffer different impacts say the researchers, with lakes and coastal waters in the northern hemisphere being the most likely to have significant increases in methylmercury levels in fish, while the Mediterranean, the central US and Southern Africa will likely see reductions.

Researchers hope that the Minamata treaty will be successful and countries reduce the amount of mercury that is being produced. Otherwise this discovery of a previously unknown source could have impacts for human health.

“If we reduce mercury emissions, then we need to know how fast will ecosystems recover,” said Dr Bjorn.

“If we don’t do anything and mercury doesn’t decrease, and we add this on top then the implications would be severe.”

Other researchers in the field say that the new study highlights important issues that have previously been little known.

“This work experimentally proves that climate change will have a significant effect of methylmercury budgets in coastal waters and its concentrations in fish,” said Milena Horvat from the Jozef Stefan Institute in Slovenia.

“This work will also have an important impact on future scenario simulations on the presence of mercury in fish in response to global mercury reductions from emission sources (primarily industrial).”

[Source:-BBC]

How to Stop Windows 10 from Syncing Themes Between PCs

If you’re running Windows 10 on multiple PCs and using the same Microsoft account, you have probably noticed that your settings and themes are following you. However, maybe you want a different theme on your laptop, desktop, or tablet.

Here’s a look at how to stop the latest version of Windows from syncing your theme between devices.

Windows 10: Disable Syncing Themes

If you would rather have unique themes to differentiate your PCs, you can. Here’s how:

  1. Go to Settings > Accounts > Sync your settings.Windows 10 Settings stop synching themes
      1. From the right-hand pane, select Individual sync settings.
      2. Toggle the Theme setting to off.
        Windows 10 Individual sync settings

    That’s all there is to it!

    Now, you can choose different themes on your different Windows 10 machines, even if your computers are linked by your Microsoft Account. If you want to go even more extreme, you can set up your multiple Windows 10 devices independently by creating a local account. When you use a local account, none of your settings will sync across computers.

    For more on Windows 10 themes, make sure you check out our other articles. As Andre covered earlier, you can now install themes from the Windows Store after installing the Windows 10 Creators Update. This is a departure from the previous method for installing wallpaper themes in Windows 10 from the Control Panel. Allowing you to get themes from the Windows Store is a step toward more user-friendly customization, rather than treating it like an advanced “under the hood” feature.

    [Source:-g Post]

Download Windows 10 themes from the Windows Store

Win10 themesIf you want to download official themes for Microsoft’s operating system you can do so at the moment by going here, and choosing the theme you want from a selection of categories including Featured, Animals, Games, Movies, Places & Landscapes, and Panoramic. There are also ‘Compatible with Windows 7’ and ‘Compatible with the new Windows’ categories.

In Windows 10, you can also go to Settings > Personalization > Themes > Themes Settings, and click ‘Get more themes online’. However, there’s now another way to get Windows 10 themes, and that’s from the Windows Store.

Microsoft describes themes as a combination of desktop background pictures, window colors, and sounds.

In order to download themes from the store, for the moment at least, you need to be a Windows Insider as this is something that will be introduced to the masses in the forthcoming Creators Update.

SEE ALSO: Windows 10 Creators Update Build 14986 ISO images available now

To see the available themes, go to the Windows Store by clicking here. While you can browse the selection, and even get to the point where you can click the ‘Get the app’ button without being an Insider, you won’t be able to install a theme.

If you are an Insider, however, all you need to do is click that button, then click on Get, and it will install.

[SOURCE:-Beta news]

Bomgar makes remote support easier from any browser or mobile device

Bomgar makes remote support easier from any browser or mobile deviceBomgar makes remote support easier from any browser or mobile device

Bomgar makes remote support easier from any browser or mobile device

Bomgar, a leader in secure access solutions, released Bomgar Remote Support 16.2, the latest version of its enterprise-leading remote support software. Bomgar Remote Support enables IT service desks and customer support centers to access and fix nearly any remote device, running any platform, located anywhere in the world.

Technicians using Bomgar can quickly connect to, view, and control remote systems and devices, chat and collaborate with end-users or other technicians, all while improving remote access security.

Bomgar Remote Support 16.2 offers numerous options for support reps to provide timely and superior support to customers and users. Bomgar’s new Web Rep Console is the first to bring the core remote support features to HTML5 browsers. With no download or plugins required, support reps can provide support from any computer. The latest version also introduces enhancements to the Bomgar InSight mobile camera sharing feature. With new zoom, flashlight, and auto focus capabilities, InSight makes it even easier to support hardware and peripherals that are beyond the screen. Also included are a new Android Rep Console and Customer Mobile Apps that offer a fresh user interface for a better support experience.

In addition to enhancing the support experience, Bomgar Remote Support 16.2 provides unprecedented security and performance features, including:

  • SAML for Mobile – Support reps can now use SAML credentials to login to Mobile Rep Console apps, creating a consistent login process.
  • Mobile Password Manager for iOS – Bomgar’s iOS Rep Console now supports integrations with password managers without having to copy/paste from the password manager app to the rep console.
  • Improved API Authentication – Removes the need to specify a user name/password with every API call and further controls the permissions associated with API accounts.
  • Enhanced Presentation Attendee Client – Attendees can join a presentation without requiring a download using their web browser with no dependence on Flash.
  • Enhanced Jump Client Maintenance – New settings allow administrators to configure whether or not to show uninstalled Jump Clients making the need to “jump” to remote systems/devices easier and cleaner.

Donald Hasson, director of ITSM product management said:

“In today’s always-on world, our customers are expected to provide immediate support even when they aren’t behind a desk or at their computer. At Bomgar, we’re dedicated to not only enabling the fastest, most reliable connections, but also giving support technicians the tools they need to do their jobs effectively and securely no matter where they are. Bomgar Remote Support 16.2 offers more options than ever before for support organizations to provide a superior support experience to their users.”

Bomgar has also released Bomgar Connect 16.2, which includes many of the new Remote support features such as Web Rep Console and the new Android Rep Console and customer apps. Bomgar Connect enables organizations with essential remote support needs to quickly connect to and support end users, customers and systems in any location. Offered via Bomgar’s secure Software as a Service (SaaS) platform, Bomgar Connect is extremely easy to buy, download, and use.

[sOURCE:-SECURITY]

 

Cowboys Linebacker Sean Lee Leads From The Front

 

Sean Lee has warmly come to be regarded as “the General” by BTB posters and rightly so. He is often praised for his knowledge of the game and can clearly be seen directing traffic for the Dallas Cowboys defense. But, as is often the case with football players, there is a tendency to categorize. People write about players as “smart” or “athletic” and rarely talk about the other aspect. Byron Jones, for example, is often spoken of regarding his glowing SPARQ numbers and 3-sigma athleticism. Rarely do people mention how assignment-sound his play is nor the maturity of his understanding of the very difficult position of NFL free safety. Likewise, the athleticism of Sean Lee is often ignored in the effusive (and deserved) praise of his football acumen.

Throughout the Giants’ game, Lee demonstrated both his intelligence and athleticism to a high degree, setting a franchise record for tackles. Perhaps more importantly, many of those tackles were at or behind the line of scrimmage. Here is a small sampling.

Play 1

Our first play is an old Cowboys standard. Dallas used to run this with Emmitt Smith back in the day. Rashad Jennings is going to come to Eli Manning and take the hand off, then counter back the other way as the line blocks down to the defensive right. Marshall Newhouse is going to pull from the left guard position to lead Jennings through the hole. Dallas is in nickel with Lee lined up to the play side.

You can see that this play is extremely well blocked. If the Giants had an ideal image of what the play should look like at this point in time, this would be it. Lee has read the play and is moving to try to contain, but Newhouse is barreling down with a 70 lb weight advantage and there’s no one else in the picture to clean up the mess.

Here we see Newhouse squaring up. There’s still no one else in the picture to stop this run. Anthony Hitchens is finally reacting to the play, but he is behind the RB and not going to get there in time. It looks like a huge gain. But notice Lee’s weight shift here.

Lee explodes to the inside of Newhouse who doesn’t lay a finger on him and wraps up Jennings for a loss. This would not be the last time the Giants would underestimate Lee’s quickness.

Play 2

The Giants have just motioned tight end Will Tye in tight and Lee, who was split out with him, follows. This seems to indicate Lee is in man coverage on Tye.

But being in tight, Lee instead drops into a short zone. I don’t know whether this is a dictated technique or a play call. Regardless, Lee shows his intelligence here. He knows Tye is past him and it’s now Anthony Hitchens’ job to drive on a ball thrown to Tye. Lee is now watching for running back Paul Perkins to leak out of the backfield, which he does.

Perkins is both fast and nimble. I actually wanted Dallas to draft the nephew of Dallas great Don Perkins instead of Elliott. Perkins has not had the impact on the Giants run game that I feared he would, but I still think he would’ve been a fine back, here. As the ball comes out, Lee explodes to the outside rather than upfield.

Nonetheless, Perkins gets the edge on Lee and this looks like a big play. Lee’s angle looks all kinds of funky here.

But it was the right one. Perkins underestimates the speed of the Dallas linebacker and cuts upfield a step too soon. Lee is on him like a wild cat and Perkins has to head back outside. He ends up with no gain.

Play 3

For this next play, file under “we’ve seen this before.” This time it’s a straight power run to the right side and they pull Ereck Flowers to lead the play.

Tyrone Crawford plays contain. Once again the play is well blocked and once again the pulling lineman is rushing to do damage at the point of attack. Sean Lee is moving towards the hole as if he is the running back— something I continually notice about him. He seems to read the line like a running back and flow to the hole, rather than watching the running back to see what he’s doing. File that under “intelligent”.

Once again, a 300+ pound man is squared up in the hole ready to take a run at Sean Lee. Will he have any more success?

I think we know the answer to this one. Once again, Lee deftly dodges inside to wrap up the ball carrier behind the line. File this under “athletic”.

Play 4

Lee made several big stops as the clock wound down to get Dallas the ball back, not once, but three times in the final six minutes of the game. Here’s one of them. New York will let David Irving fire off the line and into the backfield, right into the hole. Irving will fall to the ground (we saw this play earlier in my breakdown of Tyrone Crawford in the first game). Flowersand Newhouse both go right by to engage linebackers Lee and Justin Durant respectively.

The right guard, John Jerry, pulls to clean up Irving on the ground and help with Benson Mayowa. Newhouse is watching Durant. Lee is moving to engage Newhouse. Flowers is coming up to trap block Lee.

But Lee is again too fast for him and gets by, right into the hole, to stop the play in its tracks.

The intelligence is there in all of these plays, but Lee’s athleticism at 240 lbs. is what made these plays happen. Please remember, “athletic” and “intelligent” are not mutually exclusive labels when it comes to football. Sean Lee can show you.

[Source:-Blogging The Boys]

12 Local SEO Tips From SEO Agency Founders

12 Local SEO Tips From SEO Agency Founders

If you’re not a tech expert, local SEO can be daunting. From the outside, it may seem like a lot of speculation and experimentation without consistent results. And yet, it can have a big impact on your business success. Just consider these statistics:

  • 93 percent of online experiences begin with a search engine
  • 75 percent of users never scroll past the first page of search results
  • Search is the No.1 driver of traffic to content sites, beating social media by more than 300 percent.

Related: 5 SEO Techniques You’re Doing All Wrong

Here’s the good news: If you don’t know much about local SEO, but are ready to put it to work, you’ve come to the right place. Below are tips from 12 SEO experts to help you dominate your local search engine rankings.

1. Chris Rodgers

“Save time and money — and boost rankings — by outsourcing the labor-intensive task of managing bulk local listings. Local SEO can be tricky to manage; it’s time-consuming work that can end up being quite expensive for the client. The truth is that outside of citation-building, traditional SEO factors such as on-page content, back links and technical crawl health have a very big impact on local SEO rankings.

“At our agency, we’ve found that using tools and outside resources can minimize the cost in managing local listings. Rio and Bright Local are two platforms that stand out as good options for managing bulk local listings. Beyond local SEO platforms, we also work with clients’ in-house resources to perform listing management under our direction.

“Since this part of local SEO requires a fairly low-skill set and is quite time-consuming, finding a way to outsource effectively can save clients loads of money that is better spent on more challenging aspects of SEO.”   Chris Rodgers, of Colorado SEO Pros

2. Chris Everett

“There’s no hard, fast rule about local landing pages. Deciding how many to add to your website depends on your location and what’s being targeted. Sometimes, the thought of creating a bunch of local landing pages can cause a little bit of panic among clients. But if you want to optimize your site for multiple locations, you have to take the leap. It’s just a matter of taking into account what’s being targeted.

“For instance, if a company has a dozen statewide locations, then it makes sense to have a landing page for each location. However, if a company operates in one small area, and the surrounding municipalities have a low population, a dozen landing pages is overkill. Instead, stick to targeting the one city and surrounding areas on the same page.” — Chris Everett, Atlanta SEO Consultant

3. Chris Lara

“Take advantage of a directory submission services for relevant link-building. Directory link-building is a valuable factor if you want to boost rankings. But it needs to be strategic and intentional — and requires a lot of manual time and effort as a result. To help build links that scale, use a site like directorymaximizer.com.

“Outsourcing to a service like this saves time by finding the most relevant web directories for your unique site. It also manually submits to each directory. That way, you can quickly and effectively build a diverse link profile while also focusing on other SEO and business priorities.” — Chris Lara of Lara Master Creations

4. Will Guthrie

“The domain name you choose plays an important role in SEO that can impact your rankings. When you’re first launching your business, think through the domain name you choose. The one you decide on can ultimately have a big impact on SEO. You might think that including targeted keywords is a surefire way to boost SEO. But that approach has actually lost ground in recent years.

“Today, Google likes authenticity and uniqueness. So, focus on promoting your brand through your domain. Just make sure it’s easy to spell, short, relevant and memorable. Also, keep in mind that any name you select will take at least several months to rank.” — Will Guthrie, of Blue Laser Design

5. Erick Carlson

“You can get high rankings from just effective, quality content. If you want your site to rank locally, you need good content. Don’t know where to start? Take a look at the top five or 10 ranking local sites in your industry and use them as inspiration.

“Also, create 500-to-700 word pages based on each targeted keyword (such as “plumbing repair”). Include pictures with alt tags, along with reviews or testimonials. Every single product and service should have its own page, complete with a description, pictures, tags and categories.” — Erick Carlson, of WebTechs.Net

6. Kyle Sanders

“Claim multiple listings on page one of Google by leveraging untapped authoritative directories in your industry. Find three or four well-known business directory websites in your industry and check the first four pages of Google for your target keyword and see if those websites currently show up in the search results.

“If a directory website does not show up, list your business on that site and thoroughly complete all of their requested fields including a full description, as many photos as possible and several customer reviews. Finally, build links to that specific directory page, and eventually it should rank, based on the existing domain authority, industry relevance, added content and growing authority.” — Kyle Sanders, of Complete Web Resources

Related: 4 Things Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know About SEO

7. Andrew Hagni

“Optimizing your website for search engines starts with great on-site content. There isn’t any secret formula or magic trick for getting organic SEO results. You need to have the best content possible, along with creating a great design and user experience for your customers.

“When I’m working on a project for a client, I actually create a simple checklist that starts with great content. If you have strong content, not only will you be more recognizable by Google’s algorithm, but customers and prospects will actually come to and stay on your site longer.” — Andrew Hagni of Byers Creative

8. Andrew Tuzson

“Accurate and consistent citations are critically important because Google uses them to evaluate the online authority of your business. When I’m working with a new client, the very first step in the process is to check their citation information. This includes any mention of their business details, such as name, address and phone number, on any web page.

“Citations can be structured, like on Yelp, or unstructured, such as in a news article. But what I’m looking for is to make sure they’re all accurate, up-to-date and consistent. This is important because search engines rely on the consistency of your online business information. If it’s not consistent, it can impact results.” — Andrew Tuzson, of Evol Empire Creative

9. Gayatri Patel

“Link-building and keywords are fundamental components of good SEO. If you could only focus on two things, I would say aggressive link-building and identifying the right keywords to rank for. Once you have your keywords in mind, then you need to create unique landing pages for each set. Also, don’t forget to update meta titles and meta descriptions to correlate with the keywords.

“Combined with internal linking, this approach allows the domain to boost itself without red-flagging Google. Let this all marinate for several months and you’ll see some fantastic results.” — Gayatri Patel of Basic Branding

10. Shailen Lodhia

“Ranking No. 1 is pointless without a positive impact on conversion and sales. Unless SEO leads to conversions, it’s worthless. So, if someone clicks on your site and immediately leaves due to weak content or a poor user experience, then all the optimization in the world doesn’t matter. You need to be focusing on conversion once a prospect gets to your website.

“I measure it by how many people go to the “Contact” page because they’re going there for a phone number or email address.” — Shailen Lodhia of EXPRESEO

11. Steve Schawb

“Use your business network as the foundation of your local link-building effort. Get the basics right first, including local link development. If you don’t know where to start, just look to your network of contacts. This includes business owners, suppliers, vendors, chambers of commerce, business associations, charities and non-profits you work with — and your local newspaper — as well as local bloggers.

“Not very many people look at these connections as lucrative business opportunities. But having other authoritative local organizations link to your site is a low-risk proposition that has the potential to yield big results in terms of local SEO.” — Steve Schawb of Digital Eel

12. Skyler Malley

“There isn’t any one tactic that’s going to help you increase rankings. Take a multi-dimensional approach built on the basics. I recommend taking a three-pronged approach to SEO. First, make sure your Google My Business page is optimized and correct and also has the right business name, address and phone (NAP).

“Next, use a local syndication service like Moz Local, Yext or Advice Local, to make sure the correct NAP is on all the major local websites. And, finally, invest some effort into traditional link-building. This is really still where you’re going to get the biggest bang for your buck in terms of rankings.” — Skyler Malley of Firestarter SEO

Related: These 9 SEO Tips Are All You’ll Ever Need to Rank in Google

Don’t be intimidated by SEO. It can be your best friend if you use these simple, yet proven, strategies from the experts to boost your business’s online visibility. When you do, you’ll be well on your way toward building your brand, expanding your reach and ultimately gaining an edge over the competition.

[Source:-Entrepreneur]