Local SEO in 2017

Written by: Jason Bayless | January 05, 2017
With each new year, digital marketers everywhere wonder what changes search engines will make to their SEO algorithms. Because Google, Bing, and other search engines are always looking for new ways to make their user’s experience more enjoyable, the algorithm tends to make frequent shifts, always pushing digital marketers to change their strategies.

As we enter into 2017, you may be wondering what kind of changes you should expect. Here are just a few of our predictions for SEO in the upcoming year.
1. Schema Markup

Schema markup is one of the newer tools for creating rich results in a Google search. With a Schema markup, both viewers and search engine crawlers can get a better understanding of what the website includes. Right now, Schema markup is encouraged but isn’t necessarily used by all businesses and companies.

In 2017, we expect to see more and more businesses taking advantage of Schema markup and the benefits that it brings. With this data, businesses can include things like contact information, business hours, and location without pushing the user to ever leave the Google page.
2. Google My Business

Google My Business is already a huge component of local SEO strategies. However, in 2017, the focus on these pages over company websites will probably increase. Because Google wants to encourage consistency among users, we can see more and more focus being put on the Google My Business pages.

If your company does not already have a Google My Business page, it is important to claim and fill out the contents as soon as possible. With more focus on Google My Business in 2017, it is likely that additional information, reviews, or content will be required of you in the new year.
3. Local Content

Any SEO strategy revolves around content, but for a local business, that content needs to focus on the area and community that the company serves. In 2017, the need for local content will only continue to grow.

Local content can include relevant news for the area, details explaining how the company’s services is important for individuals in the community, or just location specific keywords throughout the content. By using local content to establish a connection between the community and the company, both website visitors and search engine crawlers will know that the company serves that area.
4. Consistent Contact Information

Local businesses have focused on directory listings and local pages to get their name out in the community. With each of these additional listings, there should be contact information, business hours, business location, and other details to help bring customers through the business doors. But if that information is not consistent throughout, it is confusing to both potential customers and search engine crawlers.

In 2017, you will want to ensure that each listing has the same contact information and that the contact information is correct. If you have recently moved, had an address change or phone number change, be sure to go through your listings and ask for changes if necessary.
5. Positive Reviews

It is no secret to marketers that customers value positive reviews and recommendations. In 2017, it will be even easier for users to read reviews and learn about businesses before they ever decide to make a purchase. Just like a good friend, Google and other search engines are only going to recommend companies that give a positive experience.

To show that your company has value, ask your happy clients and customers to leave encouraging words on Yelp, Travel Advisor, Google My Business, or Facebook. The more positive reviews you have, the better your SEO strategy will be. In 2017, local SEO will continue to focus on the user. If you are consistently creating content that is valuable to your potential customers, you don’t need to worry about what algorithm changes will be made.