In recent years, the primary focus has been on search engine optimization (SEO). Currently, local search has taken on greater importance for companies and brands trying to gain a foothold in the digital marketplace. This is not a fad because users move from search to shop very quickly. Of the four in five consumers who perform a local search, 34 percent make a purchase in a physical store within 24 hours. The following explains the local search trends that are popular in 2019. Hiring an online reputation manager is helpful in keeping track of them.
Google now considers engagement as not only a ranking signal but also a measure of a brand’s credibility. Online reviews indicate the essence of a company and having a page full of feedback from both sides will help a brand gain better indexing than a site that has never been reviewed at all. In addition, having reviews on both local listings and Google My Business presents an advantage that will attract more customers, especially if the feedback is mostly positive. This is a time where 85 percent of customers see online reviews as personal recommendations, making local search crucial.
Since 2016, voice search has grown in popularity. This is tied to more consumers using devices like Google Home, Echo and HomePod to make their daily lives easier. Smart speakers come with voice search, allowing people to easily place orders for their favorite products. With 39 million Americans now using a smart speaker each day, local voice search is vital for connecting consumers with information and products in their immediate area.
While it may seem old school, backlinks are still very important in 2019. When a business receives inbound links from other websites, that shows those websites have trust in the brand. This leads to search engines having more trust in the company as well. Backlinks play a crucial role in local organic rank and are the second most deciding factor for map rank. Google considers backlinks to be one of the three most important signals in a business’s overall rank.
Content continues to be king as a search engine ranking factor. A business that either does not have a website or has one with little to no content is not going to be relevant in local search. The brand will only show on the map pack with low-competition terms. This is why having a professionally designed website with SEO is so important along with fresh and engaging content that keeps people coming back.
Keywords will always be an important factor because that is how people conduct online searches. When it comes to local SEO, a business will want to target somewhat different keywords, especially those related to location. This will assist Google in determining how relevant the brand is for that vicinity. The next important factor is service or niche. This helps people find a specific business when there is a wide field involved, such as medical or legal. Since many people will search for a business or professional within a specific location, adding niche keywords will help the website and brand to rank higher and have a better chance of being found.
Gone are the days where a business had to have a desktop and a separate mobile website to keep everyone happy. These days, a responsive design can serve both by providing a consistent experience regardless of the device that is being used. With the majority of users accessing search engines through a phone or tablet, Google now indexes mobile versions of websites ahead of desktop versions. A poor mobile experience will hurt ranking faster than almost any other factor. Using a responsive design can also reduce bounce rate because people will stay on a site that is familiar, loads quickly and is easy to navigate on a smaller screen.