If you’re looking to make headway in the local listings or want to establish a more prominent presence on the local search engine results pages in 2017, then there are certain trends that we think you should know about. Here are 5 trends that we think will determine the future of local over the next 12 months.
Mobility is king
If there is a top priority for local SEO in 2017, it has to be mobile. The quicker a site loads on a mobile device; the greater its overall value. Mobile customers want information, and they want it fast. What’s more, search engines also place great store on speed and mobility too, and this is reflected in their search rankings. If you haven’t already set up a mobile-specific site yet, then you should do so as soon as possible. Ideally your mobile site should contain all the basic information potential customers need, but little ornamentation or unnecessary fripperies. When building a mobile site, optimise and minimise images so that they load faster, and get rid of unused plug-ins and any unnecessary apps.
Optimise for Google and local listings
Many Google searches on mobile devices have a local intent; that is, they have a local relevance. It’s understandable when you think about it because most consumers will search for products and services that can be accessed easily and speedily, and if those services are available locally they’ll probably choose those. How can we be so sure that mobile searches have a local intent? Well, a recent study by Chitika found that nearly 50 per cent of all mobile Google searches were locally-focused. This figure has since been verified by Google, so we know the figures are correct.
Search engines have recognised the significance of local relevance, and their results pages reflect this. So it’s important to make sure that all relevant business information, website details and location details are available on local listings. The reason why this is so important is because local listings have a much better click-through rate (CTR).
Citations and consistency
Citations are very important in terms of local SEO. However, what is even more important is consistency. There’s no point having different citations, or different business names on different devices: this will only confuse customers and undermine any SEO efforts you might have made. You should use the same business information and online branding right across the web. If you really do need to change your business information, then you should ideally change all the created citations right across the board.
Also, get citations from good authority sites, particularly those the high-quality sites that are widely respected in your industry sector: these citations will help to boost your business’ search engine rankings.
Customer Reviews Always Matter
Businesses have always claimed the customer is always right; now Google has endorsed that sentiment, giving sites with good customer reviews higher ranking on its search engine pages. You only need to look at these results to see that Google often includes snippets of customer reviews on its search results pages. If you have satisfied customers, then make sure you get recommendations from them. If you’ve received glowing reviews from happy customers; display them prominently on your website. These will help to boost your search engine rankings and boost your click-through rates.
Publish quality content, but make sure it’s locally optimised
It’s a well-known fact that posting quality content consistently can help to boost search engine rankings. However, in today’s online world users are increasingly time-stretched. They want information and they want it quickly, and they don’t necessarily have the time to sit down and plough through a long article to get the information they need. That’s why visuals and infographics are becoming increasingly important.
Whatever content you do create, it’s important to make sure it is locally-optimised, consistently delivered and includes relevant local keywords. It’s also important that the content includes effective calls to action.