What will local SEO look like in 2020?

A long-term plan is key to a solid SEO strategy. If you are wondering what local SEO will look like in 2020, read on.

Local SEO Will Evolve

local SEO

Local SEO is expected to increase in importance over the next few years. So, this will make it more difficult for local businesses to make it to the top of search results.

Right now, 46% of searches on Google already have local intent. This is expected to grow too. Also, most local searches result in sales either online or offline. This means that more and more local businesses want in. As a result, competition on the web will be even tougher.

When planning your future local SEO strategy, consider these factors:

  • Voice Search: By 2020, it is estimated that about half of all searches will be voice-based. As a result, long tail keywords and hyperlocal searches will be more prevalent.
  • Reviews: Reviews will play a bigger role. Businesses with more positive reviews will rank higher in local search results.
  • User Engagement: User engagement will play a big role. The higher your engagement, the more important Google will consider your business.

So, what will change, and what will stay the same?

Let’s take a look.

SEE ALSO: Local SEO: How to Make Your Brand a Local Rockstar

RDP Will Stay The Same

RDP stands for relevance, distance, and prominence. The basic RDP factors will stay the same and still play a role in your local SEO results.

  • Relevance refers to how well your business listing matches with the user’s intent. For example, if you are searching for a BBQ restaurant, then Google will curate a list that only includes local restaurants that serve BBQ.
  • Distance is concerned with how far the searcher is from the business when they make a search. Businesses that are closer to the searcher will rank higher.
  • Prominence calculates the popularity of businesses online and in real life. The more popular something is, the higher it will rank.

Which Factors Will Create The Biggest Changes?

So, RDP will stay the same, but a lot more will change. Let’s take a look:

Better Businesses Will Rank Higher

Regardless of your advertising budget, Google is making changes to its algorithm to favor local businesses that are well-loved and have the best reviews and ratings. Ultimately, businesses that do enough real-world positive work to earn the love and loyalty of customers both online and in real life will rank higher.

While some businesses opt for less ethical tactics, like buying likes, reviews, or fake comments, that will become less and less effective over time.

SEE ALSO: How to Use Local SEO to Grow Your Business

The Rise of Entity Authority

How authentic the authority of businesses are will play a big role in Google’s local SEO algorithm. It’s been speculated that Google will determine the quality of the authority of a local business based on these factors:

  • Popularity: How is your business being talked about online? Is it being mentioned a lot in various other sites, forums, articles, or across social media?
  • Engagement: How are people reacting to your digital brand and content? Do they love it or hate and are they interacting with it? The more interaction you can get, the better.

New Engagement Metrics

Be on the lookout for new search engine metrics. These will include things like how many people save a business as a contact on their phone and how many people search a business’s location on Google Maps. Google will track the data from all of their services to create their local rankings.

Voice SEO Will Play A Big Part

According to a BrightLocal survey, 56% of users have searched for a local business using voice search on a smartphone in the last year.

This means that years before 2020, voice search has already had a big impact on local searches. So, this impact will likely only grow. Your local SEO strategy must factor this in.

Businesses who fail to optimize for voice search are already beginning to fall behind and eventually will struggle to rank highly.

SEE ALSO: Digital Brand Visibility: How Voice Search Changes Everything

The Importance Of Having An Accurate Business Listing

You need to have a complete and accurate listing for your business on Google My Business. This needs to include:

  • Your business name
  • Complete address
  • Business timings
  • Prices
  • Images and/or videos
  • Invitations for customers to review

If people use a voice command to search like “Find the best hair salon near me” and you own a hair salon, you want to make sure yours pops up. Google might take factors like reviews, mentions, entity authority, and timing into consideration before giving the user the best results it can based on its algorithm.

Be Ready To Rank For Question-Based Keywords

As voice search becomes more and more important, long tail, or question-based, keywords become more important.

This is because people often do traditional searches by keywords, but speak their voice search queries in complete sentences. Someone might type into Google, for example, “bakeries near me.” However, they would be more likely to voice search by asking “Which bakeries are near me?” or “Where are nearby bakeries?”

So, you need to research question-based keywords and set up landing pages that answer those questions exactly for optimal local SEO.

Optimize For “Near Me” Searches

“Near me” searches have become more and more popular over time. So, you need all of the locations of your business properly listed so that when people nearby search for it, it ranks highly and pops up. As a result, people will become aware of your business.

The Future Of Local SEO

Local SEO will only get tougher in 2020 as more and more businesses realize the opportunities it provides. As a result, many new and old businesses will be trying to get a piece of the action.

Due to this, it will get harder and harder for marketers to gain top spots in organic listings. However, If you keep these oncoming changes in mind, it will certainly help you get ahead in the rankings.

However, keep in mind, that tips and tricks aside, the best local SEO tactic is offering a stellar product or service. If you do that, regardless of how good or bad your SEO strategy and advertising is, people will still flock to your business and site and help raise your rankings.

Aside from offering a great product or service, other things can help your business get that digital edge. Local SEO will be increasingly affected by voice SEO, business mentions, engagement metrics, and entity authority.

How will you upgrade your local SEO strategy to compete? Comment below…

Written by
Juntae DeLane

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