Your local SEO strategy needs an ever-changing lineup of tactics that account for the latest trends. The search engine world is seeing a lot of changes in local searches and the way that Google handles these queries. From a majority mobile world to featured snippets, here are the 2018 local SEO trends to keep in mind.
Emphasize Your Quality
Google continually looks for the highest quality results to push to the top of the search engine rankings. The criteria that define quality changes over time and it goes beyond your on-site content. What kind of user experience do you offer to desktop and mobile users? Do you have a lot of broken links, typos and missing images on your pages? How many relevant sites and social media profiles are linking to your website or talking about your brand? Google and other search engines look for these attributes as part of evaluating your quality.
One major change in 2018 comes from the introduction of linkless mentions as a ranking factor for Bing. You don’t need to have your site linked from the off-site property talking about your brand. Instead, Bing uses AI to search for these mentions and determine whether it’s relevant.
You also need to consider your overall experience. Google has a lot of local data available, such as the number of people who come into a retail location, the busiest times of day, and whether you’re responsive to reviews on your Google business listing. Identify the weak points in your current customer experience and put measures in place to bring that quality up to par.
How many times do you search for information on a local business and get your answer directly from Google-owned properties? The local business listings, featured snippets, knowledge panels and other search engine features drive organic local search results down the page. When you have potential customers searching on mobile, they may not end up seeing your business at all.
Your local SEO strategy should look for ways to get Google to pull information from your site for these featured sections. Think of everything that a potential customer could ask or want to know before making a purchase or visiting your location.
Structure the data to make it easier for search engines to discover and use. Focus on thorough and useful answers. You can bring in sales tactics on other parts of your site. For your answers, focus on being as helpful as possible.
Voice search handles 20 percent of mobile searching. Can you afford to lose one out of five customers because you overlook the necessity of optimizing for voice search? If you already use the answer everything approach mentioned in the previous section, then you have a strong foundation for this local SEO tactic.
Use natural language phrasing to match common queries that potential customers use when they’re putting together a voice query. If you’re not sure whether you have a good set of targeted phrases, try saying them out loud and doing your own searches.
Mobile First Indexing
Mobile searches on Google are now the majority at 57 percent of queries. Google is shifting its indexing strategy to account for this change. Over the next few months, mobile first indexing is going to become the norm for all Google users. Spend a lot of time on the mobile version of your website to address any problems before this change happens, as it can significantly impact your local search rankings if you overlook this area.
Your local SEO strategy needs to incorporate all of these trends to stay on top of the latest best practices. If you wait too long, you could end up getting pushed out of your current search engine rankings and losing out on valuable customers.