The world of search engine optimization never stands still for long. In 2018, even your local SEO efforts will be part of an increasingly competitive environment for driving traffic and converting sales. These nine trends will keep you on top of the local search results page in 2018.
1. Embrace Voice Search
In the coming months, nothing will impact local SEO as much as voice search functionality. You must create marketing content that makes sense as a result of voice search. In other words, your website must be more mobile-friendly than ever.
2. Utilize Google’s Small Thanks Hub
In an effort to increase the visibility of local small businesses, Google has introduced a service called Small Thanks Hub. After your business has gained a few positive reviews, Small Thanks will advertise excerpts from those reviews and display them on the results page. Best of all, the excerpted reviews are displayed in attractive fonts that help your business stand out.
3. Update Your Presence on Google Maps
As always, Google Maps continues to update its look and functionality. Google’s regular updates have been known to open the door for errors in small business identity. For example, you may own a restaurant that is represented by a “services” icon. Make sure to begin 2018 by ironing out the details on Maps.
4. Utilize Schema Markup Code
As search engine algorithms change to mitigate internet predators, SEO is in a constant state of unrest. Schema markup code, however, has been used for a long time — and it figures to reach a new level of utility in 2018. Organizing your website’s content on the code level gains you the favor of the search algorithm. If you’re not much of a web developer, you may need some help figuring this out. But it’s certainly worth the effort.
5. Make the Change from HTTP to HTTPS
With each passing day, Google is showing more favor to sites that have transitioned to a “secure” protocol. At the most basic level, websites protected by HTTPS offer significantly safer environments for spending money online. Sensitive information like credit card numbers is sent to an encrypted server, verified and sent back to your site. Before long, HTTP sites will be unable to rank in the results page at all.
6. Don’t Turn Your Back on Bing
Though Google is by far and away the premier search engine of all the land, Bing still has a surprisingly dedicated community of users. As a result, your marketing efforts should at least partially extend to Bing. It will be much easier to increase your stock on Bing’s results pages.
7. Get in Touch with a Local Guide
Local guides are community activists who partner with Google to spread the good word about local businesses. Over the past year, the number of local guides has increased 10 fold. Getting in touch with a popular local guide could be an effective way to draw some attention to your business and increase your standing on the results page.
8. Plan Your Jump into Virtual Reality Advertising
Virtual reality’s potential is off the charts. By the end of 2018, most are predicting VR will play an increasingly integral role in all our lives. Putting together a VR commercial before competitors could be the ace up your business’s sleeve.
9. Get on Board with Google My Business
Google My Business had a messy launch but is finally starting to follow through on its promise. The app is a one-stop-shop for all your business’s account information on Google. Though some of its features still seem half-baked, neglecting it will close the door on an important outlet for exposure.