To stay ahead of your competition, you need to monitor local SEO trends. They are ever-changing, and it is crucial to understand them and learn what you need to do to stay ahead. How often do you search for local businesses online? Probably quite often. Google’s Local 3 Pack appears right there at the top of the SERP (search engine results pages). Did you know that Google My Business Local 3-Pack is available for local businesses only? Large technology companies can not obtain these spots.
With terms like “pet sitters near me” searched more often, Google My Business is one significant advantage that local businesses must leverage. It is essential to keep up-to-date with the latest trends, algorithm updates to stay competitive in the SERPs. Here are 6 local SEO trends from BrightLocal and how pet service businesses can stay ahead.
1. Local Search Targeting Is Becoming More Precise
Proximity-based searches are becoming more popular. With “near me” type searches drastically increasing, being prepared is essential. Local targeting is becoming more and more crucial, and Google works hard to deliver search results that are close in proximity to the searcher’s location. With proximity searches becoming more and more specific, it is vital that your Google My Business listing and website are optimized. Quality of service matters, but proximity is also becoming a significant factor.
Ensure your Google My Business listing covers all of your service areas, towns, and zip codes. Your website has a service area page with an embed Google map. List the different locations you service and ensure you include a minimum of 600 words explaining the benefits to your avatar. It is essential to ensure Google understand what service area you operate in and which services you offer. Having one page per service you provide can also be very beneficial when optimized correctly. This information will help search engines deliver your listing to the appropriate highly-qualified leads.
2. Local Voice Search Is on the Rise
With Siri and Alexa, I am sure you are not surprised that voice search is on the rise. This emerging technology is something that needs your attention. Voice search is still very new for local SEO, but now is the time to start paying attention. According to BridgetLocal’s research, 75% of people who own smart speakers use them to search for local businesses weekly. Their research also states that 53% of these individuals search every day. Yes, the population of people who have smart speakers is small, but it is an emerging trend to keep an eye on.
To stay ahead of the competition, make sure you create and fully optimize your listing with popular voice search engines.
- Create a listing with Google My Business
- Google Assistant using Google My Business for search, business listings, and review.
- Create a listing with Apple Maps
- Siri uses Apple Maps for business listings and Google for search.
- Create a listing with Yelp for Business Owners
- Siri, Alexa, and Cortana use Yelp for Reviews.
- Create a listing with Bing Places for Business
- Cortana uses Bing for search and business listings, and Alexa uses Bing for search.
- Create a listing with Yext Listings
- Alexa is starting to use Yext for business listings.
3. Online Brand Mentions Are Becoming More Important for Local SEO Rankings
Google assess not only a business’ website for search engine rankings, but they also monitor a business’ overall online reputation. They analyze factors like trust and how complaints are resolved. Hence, collecting organic reviews and replying to all reviews, good and bad, is essential. Responding to all reviews will give you an edge over those that ignore reviews and comments.
Creating easily shareable high-quality content that is engaging can help boost your reputation. By creating shareable content, it encourages others to share your content with their audience/friends list. The result? You get brand mentions! Increasing your brand mentions can have a positive impact on your reputation with Google. If Google sees that people like you, then they will like you and trust your content.
4. Google Knowledge Panel Will Become More Detailed
Rich search results like Google’s Knowledge Panel continues to grow. It is time to get serious about Google My Business. Local Panels are what pet businesses need to focus on optimizing. It is up to Google if they want to show you in the panel. So it is crucial to make sure all aspects are prominent for the best chance of being displayed. Relevance, proximity, and business prominence are all contributing factors.
5. Business Websites Will Remain Important Assets
As Google gets smarter and Google My Business becomes more prevalent, maintaining your website is still vital. A mobile-friendly, well-optimized website is essential for many local SEO ranking factors and encouraging engagement with customers. Remember that your website should be designed with your client in mind. The days of optimizing for the search engines are behind us. Google likes websites that are user-friendly and intuitive.
According to BrightLocal’s research, 52% of customers check business websites every time or more than half the time when they’re deciding which local business to visit, and the majority of consumers trust business websites more than Google My Business.
Websites are still expected to have the most accurate information. Is your website up-to-date? If you don’t maintain your website, you could be losing customers to your competition. An outdated website or inaccurate information on your website can immediately damage your reputation with potential customers and Google. Pet sitters and dog walkers need to focus on ensuring their website and Google My Business listings have accurate and up-to-date information.
6. Google Will Increasingly Monetize Local and Maps Space
You may notice more ads popping up in the Local Pack. Google is monetizing local search. The frequency of ads on local SERPs is expected to continue to grow. It may be worth experimenting with these local ads, especially if you have not cracked the top 3 in an area that you service! These ads appear above the top 3 organic listings, so a customer using the “pet sitters near me” search, may click on the advertisement before the organic listings.
Incorporating both local and map ads to your marketing plan may produce better results than generic Google Ads. The SEO world is constantly changing, and it is crucial to stay on top of new trends and algorithm changes. Local SEO strategies are different than traditional SEO strategies. These trends should help you determine ways to improve your regional SEO strategy.
Need help with SEO? Check out our new program, BarkSEO.
Erika Godwin is the President of Barketing Solutions and the Co-Founder and CMO of ProPet Software, an industry-leading kennel management software. Erika has over 8 years of experience with WordPress and graduated from Elmira College in 2009 with a BS, Business Administration- Marketing and Management.