Top 5 Local Search Trends to Look for in 2019
By now, every business owner should be aware that Google is the pervasive online search engine, netting just over 92% of all searches worldwide. However, with Google’s official blog announcing in 2015 that it has begun ranking websites based on their mobile site, and mobile searches hovering around 50%, the possibility of users searching while on the go is higher than ever.
When a mobile user enters a query for “widgets near me” or “best widgets in Funtown”, you want your business to prominently feature on the user’s search engine results page, or SERP. How are users making these local searches in 2019? How does this affect the way you approach your SEO? A look at these 5 trends could find some key points you’ve missed.
- Voice search. Voice search is growing – 30% of mobile users say they’ve used voice search in the past year, and the ubiquitous nature of Siri, Alexa, and the Google Assistant means that growth isn’t likely to slow any time soon. As a result, businesses may need to reconsider some of the keywords commonly used in marketing. Consider including phrases which more naturally fit the spoken word rather than the short and to-the-point language often used when typing into search engines.
- Page speed. Google announced last year that it would begin using mobile-first indexing when ranking websites for SERPs, using mobile page speed instead of desktop speed to determine site rank. Consider a potential customer, on the go and searching for your business’s product on their mobile device; if your page load time is too slow, your business won’t appear in the relatively small selection of websites that show on a mobile device. Consequently, you could miss a potential customer. In addition, customers report leaving pages that take too long to load, bouncing off most pages in under 4 seconds. Even if your business appears in the top several search results, you may still need to address your mobile page speed.
- Local listings. In order for Google or other search engines to return your business website as a good, local search result to meet a consumer’s needs, it must be able to find your business in local directories. This may mean inclusion on local review sites like Yelp, Foursquare, TripAdvisor or others, or simple listings in the Yellow Pages and Apple Maps. Your SEO should include optimizing your business’s inclusion in your 2019 plan to make sure you’re visible in local searches, as well as eliminating duplicate listings and checking contact information for accuracy.
- Google My Business. These short, to-the-point business listings are now commonplace on any local Google search. Businesses can input business category, contact information and opening hours as well as uploading photos, menus, and website links – ensure these are correct so users searching a specific category or opening time will access your My Business listing. Google users can then rate your business, increasing your business’s chances of visibility. An empty My Business listing can make your business appear closed or out-of-date; a lack of business information can lead the consumer to choose another business with fully fleshed-out information.
- User reviews. It’s no surprise that consumers trust businesses with positive reviews more than those with no reviews or with poor ones. As mentioned, Google uses positive reviews on sites like Yelp and Foursquare as quality local listings that can up your position on SERPs. In addition, users viewing positive local reviews on your website itself are more likely to choose your business over local competitors. Finally, your Google My Business page features a 5-star rating system directly within the block, as well as the option for users to expand and read written reviews. Positive reviews right on the SERP can help drive local users to choose your business over others without the same data.
These 5 trends for 2019 are certainly not the only SEO information you’ll need going into the new year, but may be just the boost your business needs to be competitive. Increasing your visibility to your local market can help you gain the edge on local competitors and give you the opportunity to win the customers nearest you.
Are you interested in learning more about how your business can gain more local visibility? Learn more at MasterWebCreations.com and Contact us ~ we’ll be glad to help.