Digital marketing trends are always changing. As Google and other search engines evolve, as new updates to their algorithms are released, and as new platforms emerge, you’ll have to change with them to maintain your edge on the competition.
Local SEO is no different, especially with how quickly localized searches are growing.
Here are 9 of the biggest local SEO trends in 2019 that you can’t afford to miss.
1. Optimize Your Local Pages
On-page SEO is one of the top rank factors for local SEO. There are two ways you can optimize your website’s on-page content, and the first is by creating unique local pages for each of your business’ locations.
For each page, you should include as much information specific to that location, including the following:
- Business name, address and phone number
- Hours of operation
- Map and/or directions to the location
- Listing the key products or services that the location has
- Coupons, discounts, special offers and promotions for that location
- Ratings and reviews for that location
- Parking information
- Building facilities like bathrooms or free wifi
This information helps give people the information they want to know when they are choosing where to go. On the other hand, you don’t want to overwhelm people with too much information, so stick to the important parts that customers will usually ask you about.
Make sure you find a way to also include the information on all your social media and directory pages for each location.
2. Create Localized Content
The second way to optimize your website’s on-page local SEO is by creating high-quality and localized content. A blog is the best place for writing about what’s going on in the local area, especially when your business is involved.
Sponsoring a local sports team or event? Write about it. Holding a fundraiser or special event at your location? Write about all of that too. It gives your website more local authority if local people find your website when they search for those topics.
3. Jump on the Local Voice Search Bandwagon
A recent study by BrightLocal.com found that people using voice search (such as through their phone or smart home device) for local searches is growing in popularity.
75% of people who owned smart speakers said they used them to search for local businesses once a week. In fact, more people now voice search to find local businesses than those who perform searches on their computer, tablet or mobile device.
That means you need to start optimizing your business for local voice searches immediately. Voice search is one of the hottest local SEO trends that will continue to grow in the next few years.
There are a number of strategies you can use, including researching natural language keywords, creating content that answers questions people ask in local searches and optimizing your data structure.
4. Expand to Beyond Google to Other Local Platforms
Google is the king of search engines, but for local searches, there are so many platforms that can have an impact on your business individually. Combine them all together and you can have a big impact.
Yelp is one of the top local platforms for reviews and local engagement. It also shows up in a lot of local searches for things like “best [business type] near me”. Having your location verified and optimized on Yelp will help drive local business.
Waze, a Google-owned app, has started showing “billboard” style ads within its navigation system that will show to people who are driving through your area.
Other platforms include Apple Maps, Urban Spoon, Trip Advisor, Yellow Pages, and Facebook business pages as good sources for driving local business.
5. Generate More Local Engagement
Aside from local voice search, the other big new development is how local platforms are moving towards becoming more than just listings for basic business information. They are all turning into total local marketing platforms, where you can engage with local customers in ways you never could before.
You can create entire online communities where your customers can find you, leave a review, comment on your posts, create a post of their own, use your hashtag, check-in at your location, and view the current products, specials and offers at each location.
People can now post questions on your Google My Business pages. They can ask details about that location or your business in general. When you answer them, people can see them to both find out more information, but they also see you engaging with them. This fosters a sense of trust.
You’ll want to make sure you have fully active and fleshed out accounts on Google My Business, Yelp, Apple, and all the other major players that are moving in this direction. Make sure you have people who can quickly respond to any engagement you receive. This will allow you to directly drive appointments and sales without them ever having visited your website.
6. Link Back to Sources of Online Brand Mentions
This ties into the last two points as well. Reviews are one of the biggest local rank factors because people put a lot of trust in them. 88% of people said they trust online reviews and recommendations as much as they do from people they know, according to a study by Search Engine Land.
The new trend for local SEO is expanding beyond reviews to all online mentions of your brand. People want to see more reviews, more recent reviews, and more reviews for a specific location so they can trust your business more.
You can help establish that trust by linking out to the major sources of reviews and brand mentions that you receive, such as Yelp, Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor, and so on.
Create content that is highly shareable so people mention you when they talk about the topic you covered. Be active on social media and encourage people to publicly share their thoughts about your products and services in the comments.
When people can easily find and read positive mentions and reviews of your brand, they’re more likely to trust you and you’re more likely to rank at the top of local searches.