Perhaps, firstly it should be made clear that it is not just small businesses themselves that, more than ever, need local SEO – rather local areas and town centres as a whole can benefit from everyone being on board with local SEO. The more accurate, enticing and competitive an area is; the more local businesses engage with each other and come up with ways to forge links and symbiotic relationships the better it will be for the town in general.
And, let’s face it, high streets and local areas need all the help they can get when it comes to beating the challenges set by a stalling economy, not least owing to the uncertainty and economic fragility resulting from Brexit.
What’s working for local SEO in 2020?
According to Lojix, a UK based digital marketing agency, local SEO is constantly evolving, not only reacting to the unique challenges resulting from Google’s shifting algorithms, but also by the nature of the way people use the internet.
However here are some of the factors that have been shown to have a positive impact on local SEO in recent months and look set to continue into 2020:
- Obtaining a strong number of GMB (Google My Business) views
- Strong basic SEO and organic ranking is still vitally important
- Backlinks and citations are still of great importance as long as they are high quality
- Reviews have never been more important. Facebook, Google and Yelp and any number of industry-specific review sites are all vital
- CTR (Click Through Rate) optimisation is key.
In addition to the above, forging local links should not be underestimated – some of the most successful methods include:
- Event hosting
- Forging ties with local publications
- Local webinars
- Work experience or apprenticeship programs with local schools, colleges and universities
- Industry-specific AMAs (Ask Me Anything)
How Local SEO benefits small businesses
There are so many obstacles in the path of local businesses without adding more as a result of not optimizing online business listing for local searches. There are so many benefits from strong local SEO and 2020 will be no different in this regard.
Mechanism and benefits collide
One of the great things about local SEO is that some of the mechanisms for boosting it simultaneously act as benefits themselves. Take for instance, forging links with other local businesses – especially in retail. This can help create those much coveted backlinks, get more mentions on social media, but also, at the same time it can ground businesses in their local area, forging a cultural identity and a sense of kinship that can be quite infectious and really boost the feeling of community among customers, residents and employees. All of these are positive points of difference between shopping in a local area compared to the online shopping experience. Another example of this kind of happy accident is in the drive to achieve more local reviews that is so integral to sound local SEO.
One of the main benefits of local SEO campaigns is that it can also lead to a boost to the number of reviews gained from the local community. This will all come together to boost your overall SEO profile. The whole idea of local SEO is so integral to successful business management and as such it is no coincidence that the mechanisms you can put in place to achieve good local SEO and the benefits you can reap are often one and the same.