Local SEO Trends
Every year we analyse the new SEO trends and what it means for local businesses, and this year is no different. It is clear that the SEO landscape is evolving. With access to so many devices, there are even more ways for users to consume the information they’re searching for.
Now is the time for local businesses to prioritise SEO to stay ahead of their competition.
What are the SEO strategies and tactics that we will focus on help local businesses dominate in the SERPs and earn more revenue?
Here are our top 5 SEO trends for 2020 according to our experience and research, that you need to know about.
#1 Think locally.
Local search will continue to grow. Making it tougher for local businesses to make it to the top of the search results. Statistics show that 46% of searches on Google already have local intent. And, almost every local search converts into sales either online or offline.
Having a strong local SEO strategy is key to driving more high-quality leads. Some of the top factors to consider when developing a strong local SEO strategy include;
- Proximity, Prominence, and Relevance: the cornerstones upon which all local search rankings are based. Each of these key factors will affect how your business shows up in local search results. These factors refer to how well your business listing matches the user’s intent. How far the searcher is from the business. When the search is made and the popularity of the business both in the offline and online world.
- Reviews: Authentic ones, in particular, have an impact on your local search rankings.
- Authority: Whilst links remain the overwhelming markers for authority in local search results, research shows that Google might be shifting their determining factors. Factors such as Entity Authority will become a major role in Google’s Algorithm.
#2 Google is the new homepage.
More and more brand marketing is happening on Google itself and not necessarily your website. This is known as On-SERP SEO and will continue to grow in importance in 2020.
Prospective clients and customers will almost certainly find something about your business online. Whether this is a random mention on social media, an old unclaimed local listing or an article in the newspaper that mentions your business.
When these prospective clients and customers search for your business it’s critical that the information that displays is correct and accurately represents your business. Therefore, we need to get more strategic about what shows up.
Our tips to improve your brand visibility is to feed Google:
- Google My Business: Leverage off of this free tool by optimising your business listing. Things like accurate and correct business details, regular Google posts, vibrant image/video content, and responding to all Google reviews will go a long way to let Google know who you are.
- Citations and Directories: Clean up any old business listings with outdated information such as old addresses, incorrect phone numbers or duplicate listings.
- Claim some of the popular niche listings for your industry and optimise your listings as much as possible. Here is a list of popular Australian Listings as developed by WhiteSpark.
#3 User Focused Optimisation.
Whilst keyword research is the backbone of any SEO strategy, last year’s BERT update shows that Google is shifting toward a search focus on intent matching rather than pure string matching. Long-tail keywords, phrases and queries should be your focus. Along with how this fits into a clean structure and content delivery will be crucial to SEO success.
So what does this mean for local businesses?
Focus on content that speaks to users intent, rather than singular keywords that a user might search for. Delving a little deeper into the customers buying journey uncovering their problems, needs and questions for each aspect of their journey. This will allow businesses to provide the best answers and ultimately increase conversions.
#4 Voice SEO is on the rise.
Voice will play a dominant role in local SEO. In fact, recent stats from BrightLocal shows that 58% of consumers have used voice search to find local business information in the last 12 months. Businesses that are yet to optimise for voice search will soon struggle to rank.
Optimising for “near me” searches is a great start toward Voice SEO. Adding as many locations as needed to your Google My Business account will help Google to identify the locations that your business serves, and return them as a result to any potential searcher in those particular locations.
Neil Patel explains that it’s important to understand the difference between optimising for voice search phrases, and the use of long-tail keywords. Voice search is more likely to contain question phrases such as ‘what’ ‘how’ ‘who’ and ‘where’. Starting your research with a tool like Answer the Public will help you identify natural language phrases, giving you insight into the consumer’s mindset.
#5 Content is still king.
It’s not enough to just write content and stuff it with keywords. It’s not enough to just write content that is relevant. In 2020 businesses need to be creating content that is relevant *and* valuable.
Focus More on Topics.
2020 is the time to move away from creating content around a single keyword that a page is targeting. Instead, create meaningful content around a topic that addresses an entire conversation holistically. Creating a comprehensive content strategy involves;
- Understand who your audience is and how they search.
- Understand the intent behind their questions or problems.
- Understand the format they prefer to be delivered these solutions. Through quality, concise and authoritative content.
Be careful of ‘content cannibalisation’ a term used to describe content that might overlap rankings.
In 2020 it all boils down to optimising content for users rather than search engines.
SEO is evolving. Whilst it’s becoming increasingly difficult to rank highly in organic listings, there are many opportunities and tactics to explore for local SEO. The rise of Artificial Intelligence is altering the SEO landscape, which means we need to think outside the box and get creative. Nonetheless, we think it is exciting times for SEOs.