Are you unsure about what to expect in local SEO in 2021? If you have a brick-and-mortar business, it won’t be surprising to hear you have concerns. There have been a few modifications in business transaction methods to help businesses combat the challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. Given the constant adjustments and updates being made by Google, there are many things to expect for local SEO in 2021. Research shows that over 80% of local searches drive genuine and valuable conversions. This implies that local SEO for businesses is a beneficial solution for generating both leads and revenue. All these occur via online and in-person sales.
Because of this, businesses should get set for what is ahead in 2021. This guide will break down what your business can expect from local SEO in 2021.
But before then, why is local SEO important?
Why is Local SEO Important?
In case you don’t know how crucial SEO is for local businesses, here are some supporting stats to consider:
- 46% of searches in search engines – i.e., Google, Bing, Yahoo!, etc. – have local intent, according to Search Engine Roundtable.
- 76% of users that search for a localized item on their smartphones usually visit a store the same day, according to Google.
- 29% of all Google SERPs contain a local pack within the results, according to RankRanger.
What is a local pack, you ask? For all local searches, Google usually comes up with a list of the top 3 local businesses. These top 3 businesses best match the search query. This particular result is referred to as the local SEO 3-pack. They appear right at the top of the overall search results. And they bear information obtained directly from Google Business accounts.
So, why does local SEO matter? Let’s create a scenario—a potential customer living within your area searches for keywords related to your business. Local SEO kicks in, ensuring your website greets them at the very top of their search results.
When your site ranks at the top of search results, more people in your area will find your business. And if you sell what they want, people will visit your physical store to make purchases. Consequently, investing in local search engine marketing is worth every penny.
How does Local SEO work?
If you want answers to ‘how does local SEO work,’ you need to know that it works like a regular Google search. When a user performs a search on Google, the search engine scans through its index and then comes up with the best organic search results for the person’s query.
What makes local SEO incredibly unique is that the leading search engine, Google, works differently. It makes use of a different set of ranking factors when ranking local search results.
Every day, beginners seek information on how to improve local SEO. The truth is that local SEO follows a set of unique ranking signals, which include:
- NAP citations
- The location the search engine user is searching from
- The overall sentiment of all online reviews
- Presence of Google My Business listing
- Shares on all social media platforms
- Keywords utilized extensively in Google My Business profile.
- Star rating of the business on Google Maps
- Number of check-ins at that particular location
Ranking Factors to Note
Improving local SEO calls for the knowledge of ranking factors used by search engines. Local SEO ranking generally boils down to the following:
- Relevance: Does the business sell or do what the online search is looking for?
- Prominence: Is the business highly reputable and relatively well-known?
- Proximity: Is the business within the locality of the searcher?
Once your local business meets all these criteria, you’re good to go!
But to stay relevant in 2021 and beyond, you need to know how to improve local SEO. Here’s what to expect from local SEO in 2021:
Long-form content will help to boost SERPs
Do you know that long reads of at least 3,000 words get up to 3 times more organic traffic? You may be shocked to learn that long-form content also engenders up to 4 times more shares. They can also achieve about 3½ times more backlinks than articles of average lengths.
Therefore, in 2021, part of your local SEO strategy is to create more long-form content. Of course, the quality of your content is also very important. The aim of learning how to improve local SEO is to provide readers with shareable information.
When your content is shareable, users become more engaged. Bounce rates are also incredibly low in such instances. And you stand a bigger chance of converting visitors to leads and customers.
Mobile Search Will Impact Rankings
Since 2019, Google rolled out mobile-first indexing for websites. This makes sense as up to 73% of internet users access the internet via mobile devices. Consequently, ensuring your site is mobile-friendly should be part of your local SEO strategy. If you own a site, you should consider running it through the cost-free Google’s mobile-friendly test.
Voice search will impact/increase search queries
Voice search technology has come a long way with innovations like Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, ad Apple’s Siri. Research shows that an estimated 55% of households will own a smart speaker by 2022.
You can take advantage of this by considering your keywords. Identify or find longer, natural-sounding phrases that most people use in day-to-day conversations.
Image optimization will become more prominent
Many webmasters are unaware of this simple fact. But visual image search has drastically evolved over the years. Back in the day, users could only look at images. But, search engine users will be able to make purchases via the use of images. They may also use images to obtain relevant information that will aid informed decisions. Google has also insisted on the proper optimization and marking of images.
Therefore, let the optimization of images on your site be part of your local SEO strategy for 2021. Ensure all the images you use are relevant, HD-quality, and customized.
Add relevant images to your site map, which makes them even easier to crawl. Use alt tags, which spiders use to classify images readily.
Local search listings will play more significant roles in local SEO strategy
The internet is a global village. However, most users use search engines to find localized services or products. They could be hunting for a new restaurant, a barbershop, or a coffee shop. Local SEO is vitally important and keeps evolving.
The rise of zero-click searches is becoming the new normal, according to SEO marketers. A user’s query is answered swiftly via the SERP itself in a zero-click search. This means they usually do not click on any of the results that rank. And this is a result of the rise in featured snippets. Most zero-click searches are local searches that reveal the SERP results in what is known as a ‘local pack.’
To get your business into that local pack, create a Google My Business Page. Check the type of backlinks your competitors get and start targeting them to your website.
Predictive Search is Set to Improve
In 2017, Google Discover was launched, thereby unleashing what has become a new kind of search. This type of search does not even require user queries. This AI-driven tool readily identifies users’ behavioral patterns over time and gradually learns the habits of the user.
Armed with this information, Google Discover identifies the most accurate content – text or video – that will interest the user.
At present, over 800 million active users utilize Google Discover.
SEO is getting much more complicated, as clarified above. The current SEO trends ensure thinking about voice search/control, artificial intelligence, image optimization, etc.
This article contains a list of what to expect from local SEO in 2021. You have also discovered how to improve local SEO. However, it would help if you learned more about the latest SEO techniques and trends. This will prepare you for what is ahead in 2021 and even beyond.