Local SEO is going to become more important over the next couple of years, which will make it more difficult for local businesses to be featured at the top of search results. In fact, the importance of a local search is going to increase as 46% of searches on Google right now can be related to local. What’s more, almost every local search that occurs turns into a sale, either offline or online.
50% of searches will become voice-based, which means that there will be more long-tail keywords and local specific searches.
Reviews will become pretty significant, with businesses that have more positive reviews ranking high in search results. Lastly, user engagement will be the most important part of your brand online. This is because Google will prioritize businesses that receive more engagement.
So, in light of all of this, what will remain the same? Let’s take a look.
RDP Will Stay the Same
RDP is relevance, distance, and prominence. The basic factors of this formula will stay the same.
- Relevance: this means how well your business’ listing matches with the intent of the user.
- Distance: this is the measurement of how far the person searching is from the business when they make the search. Google detects your location and will offer up search results closest to you.
- Prominence: this measures how popular the brand is both in the real world and online.
For example, if you search for pizza online, then a popular pizza brand like Dominoes is going to come up first.
Top Factors Making the Biggest Difference
Let’s talk a little bit about the top factors that are going to make the biggest difference in terms of local SEO for this year and many years to come.
1. High-Quality Product/Service: businesses that have a high-quality product or service to sell the client are going to win in terms of ranking high in local searches. This is because Google is adjusting its algorithm to feature brands that are highly rated and loved by existing and previous customers.
This means that there will be no foul play involved in your content marketing strategy. Buying your engagement isn’t going to take your business to where you want it to be like it might have a year or so ago. Building a great product that people actually love is your best bet in terms of ranking high on Google.
2. Entity Authority is Important: the authority of your brand is going to play a big role in terms of Google rankings.
Google is going to determine your authority based on how many times people mention your website, the name of your business, and the location of your business on third party forums, articles, and communities through social media channels. This means that the more people that mention your brand out there somewhere on the internet, the better a chance you have of ranking well.
A great way to increase those online mentions is to produce content that is specifically aimed towards your target audience.
Entity engagement is how people react when they interact with your brand and your brand’s content. Do people love what you’ve got, or do they hate it? Of course, you need to make sure that your brand receives excellent, positive engagement everywhere.
Often, you will need to outsource this type of time consuming work to a third party if you are going to have any chance at all to compete. Companies that specialise in this include the Avidon Marketing Group, RankSnack and LyfeMarketing.
3. Engagement Metrics Are Important: local search engagement metrics are when people save your brand as a contact in your phone, or how many people are asking for the location of your brand using maps in their smartphone.
Google already has complete control of the sources that determine how they judge the reputation and popularity of your business, so that it can rank at the top of your local search results. All of these apps are constantly tracking user data, and engagement metrics will play an increasingly important role in deciding what local rankings should look like.
4. Voice SEO: 56% of smartphone users have used their mobile device to make a local business search in the past 12 months. The same survey also pointed out that food delivery, grocery stores, and restaurants are the top three things that people search for locally.
What this shows is that voice searches are becoming more and more popular. This means that if your brand hasn’t been optimized for voice search, then you will struggle to get a good ranking.
Here are some things you can do to optimize your brand for voice SEO:
- Accurate Listing: you need to make sure that your business listing on Google is accurate and complete. You need to accurately feature your business name, your full address, the price of your product or service, and it’s also essential that any videos or images you include are of high quality. You also should invite customers to add reviews of their experience. When someone searches for a local bakery, for example, Google is going to rank the best bakeries based on things like entity authority, reviews, and mentions, so the more of these you have, the high you will rank.
- Long Tail Keywords: because more and more people are conducting voice searches, you need to be optimizing your content with long-tail keywords. People aren’t typing their searches as much anymore, which is why their search keywords are longer and more specific.
- List Your Business Under a Knowledge Panel: Google likes it when businesses are listed with a knowledge panel. You need to include local structured data with your website so that Google can collaborate the information to display your brand in this way.
- • Optimize for ‘near me’: more and more people want ‘near me’ searches to come up when they are looking for something through Google. This is why you need to list as many locations as you can in your ‘Google My Business’ account. This is going to help Google find your business locations and offer them as a search result to people that are looking for a brand likes yours in that area.
It’s going to be more and more difficult to be seen through local SEO online as we enter another year with the internet.
Of course, more businesses will pop up and try to compete with older, well-established ones, which is going to make it harder for everyone to feature at the top of Google’s search results.
Keep these suggestions and advice in mind when optimizing your content for local SEO, and you’ll give your brand a fighting chance