In 2016, there were updates to everything from local search algorithms to Google My Business listings. Several updates to the Google algo in the past year modified the original Local SEO “Possum” update. This update first launched in September and hit those businesses that were targeting far outside of their physical city locations. As a result, ranking in outside cities is now far more difficult than it used to be.
Local search marketers also noticed Google Ads were now appearing on local pack results as of last year. Now that more space is devoted to ads, businesses that aren’t at the top are going to have a tougher time competing for those spaces. What was originally 7 slots became 3, and then 2. However, there are some new ways to get attention. New visible attributes have been added to search listings, and customers can sort results by these attributes.
Google showed plenty of love and attention to Google My Business this year. They tested out a new verification system targeted at locksmiths. The goal may have been to identify and remove fake GMB listings. The GMB profile has also been updated from the classic version, which made it look like more of a social page where your posts are visible to your visitors.
Google is expected to roll out a slew of new updates in 2017. Google MapMaker will be shutting down in March of this year. The big takeaway is that strong local SEO requires more diversification. To be ready for what Google is throwing at us, we’ll need to take advantage of all the search ranking factors like citations, links, reviews, etc.
Here are the most useful articles from the last year in SEO:
Being part of an SEO company, you know full well that your services and effort really have little to no effect when it comes to getting your clients the reviews that they want. Sure, you might be doing pretty well moving your client’s ranking up the ladder, but without good reviews those ranks are only going to be good for the competition. You need to step up your game if you want to prove your worth. Click here to read some things you can do to help your clients earn reviews.
Have you see your business listings suddenly suspended? You’re not alone. Tons of other businesses are wondering why their profiles are being suspended without warning. Aren’t you itching to find out why? Brace yourself, because the answer is going to take a little work. First thing first, there are two types of suspension: The first kind of suspension is the soft suspension. This happens when you break some of Google My Business’ rules. When you decide to log in, you’ll find yourself unable to manage your listings. The only way to fix this is to create a new account, re-verify your listings and commit to not breaking any rules. The second type of suspension is the hard suspension. This is a much more serious scenario, where all your listings have been removed. The only way for you to fix this is if you ever get Google to reinstate it. Now, back to the main topic: Why did Google suspend your account? Read more here to find out why.
An integrated search and social strategy is probably one of the trickiest, yet most important aspects of online marketing. If you’ve been into online marketing for some time, you’re probably already familiar with the use of different social media platforms for digital marketing such as Facebook and Twitter. But there are actually more social platforms that we can use for the sake of our online marketing schemes. Check out here.
A consumer citation is a shoutout regarding a specific brand within an article. And they are just awesome because they add value to your posts. We all know citations are really important in blogging, but nobody ever brings up why they’re considered important in online marketing. Word has gone out that consumer citations are the future of local SEO. Here are the reasons why.
Do you think you got SEO all figured out? Well, you should think again. Google has revolutionized the world of SEO more often than necessary. Word has even gone out that local SEO factors are different for branded queries. What’s the difference between branded and non-branded queries? Branded 3-pack queries are what they call when you type things like Starbucks Seattle in search engines. Non-branded 3 packs occur when you type less specific and more generic keywords in search engines. But what’s different? Find out here.
Other excellent Local Search articles from 2016, well worth your time:
Google My Business Expanding Wheelchair Accessibility Attributes
Google Adding More GMB Notifications
Why Google shutting down Map Maker should terrify SMBs
Google My Business tests a messaging feature to chat with your customers
Everything you need to know about Google’s ‘Possum’ algorithm update
Google My Business API adds features in version 3.1
Google adds ‘Reviews from the web’ to critic reviews in local search results
Google Local Business Cards or Posts about to roll out to ‘thousands’ of SMBs
Google My Business drops ability to edit business description field
Google Maps adds more ways to add or edit locations
Google My Business now offering some businesses email-based verification
Google confirms ads coming to Local Pack
Google opens home service ads to HVAC services and electricians
Google Pack Adds Ability To Segment Results by Rating & Hours
Competing for Local Queries With No Physical Premises
The State of Local SEO & Where to Focus Now
Getting Local Store Locator SEO Right
The 9 Most Common Local SEO Myths, Dispelled
Match Your Local SEO to Your Business Type with the Local SEO Checklist
Is Google filtering your business in the local search results?
How to solve duplicate content local SEO issues for multi-location businesses
Don’t trust Google to structure your local data
One-Time Work vs. Ongoing Work in Local SEO
Overcoming Your Fear of Local Landing Pages
Anatomy of an Optimal Local Landing Page Infographic
Why Listing Accuracy is Important
Are Coworking Offices Eligible for Google My Business Listings?
Why you cannot ignore practitioner listings on Google My Business
Got spam? Google My Business doesn’t care.
Google My Business Really, Really, Really Wants Your Photos – Will They Really Send You More Website Visits?
Best Practices for Practitioner Listings on Google My Business (GMB)
Using “Suggest an Edit” to Change a Google My Business Landing Page URL: Too Easy and a Little Scary
The 7 Citation Building Myths Plaguing Local SEO
Why Every Website (Not Just Local Sites) Should Invest in Local Links and Citations
Why You Need to Find All Your NAP Variations Before Building Local Citations
3 next-level Yelp tricks for business owners
When going HTTPS, don’t forget about local citations!
Do You Really Need to Clean up That Local Citation?
Niche Local Citations Don’t Get Enough Love
Need Local Links? Try These 10 HARO Outreach Tips
7 Easy Local Link Building Tactics You Should Be Using
The Ultimate List of Local Link Building Ideas
Think One .edu Link Will Move the SEO Needle?
The Complete Guide to Creating On-Site Reviews+Testimonials Pages
Diagramming the Story of a 1-Star Review
Don’t Just Manage Your Reputation—Improve it
70% of consumers will leave a review for a business when asked
Yext Reviews product is pre-optimized for Schema, balances reviews across sites
Review improvement strategies for franchise and multi-location companies
Should You Copy and Paste Your Online Reviews onto Your Site?
If Nobody in Your Area Cares about Yelp, Should You Still Bother Getting Reviews There?
Do You Really Need a Facebook Page for Each Location of Your Business?
You might want to check out some of our videos from last year where we cover all kinds of topics related to Local SEO.