SEO Trends Every Small Business Should Know in 2022

2020 unleashed a historic disruption on a global scale.  Pandemics.  Shutdowns. Civil unrest. In the aftershock of all this, an unprecedented number of American workers quit their jobs.

Remote work, uncertain company futures, and more contributed to many people taking the risk of starting their own business.

With this influx of small businesses and the need for companies to set themselves apart from the competition, SEO is more important than ever. It can help to:

  • Earn higher search engine ranking placements (SERPs) that lead to increased visibility.
  • Drive more traffic to your website, leading to higher conversion rates.
  • Develop brand loyalty and keep customers coming back for future purchases.

Every day, people conduct more than 3 billion searches on Google. To maximize your digital marketing strategy and succeed in the fast-paced, ever-changing marketplace, every small business should know current SEO trends in 2022.

Why SEO is More Important Now Than Ever

It isn’t enough for a company to simply offer quality products at affordable prices. Today’s consumers are more discerning. With the world at their fingertips, shoppers can conduct their own research to find the product that best meets their needs and provides the most enjoyable experience. That’s why SEO is so crucial to your business’s success.

SEO is a robust marketing strategy that aims to improve multiple aspects of your online business. SEO forensically examines website performance through crawl-ability, speed, and indexation. Off-site, SEO serves as a form of digital PR that connects websites to other publications and circles of influence.

Ultimately, SEO ensures you’re creating meaningful content that resonates with consumers’ needs and provides the best user experience.

This helps earn you higher SERPs, which is critical to the success of SEO.  As you can probably relate to,  75% of online users won’t scroll past the first page of Google search results.

SEO has far-reaching effects on numerous aspects of your business and your bottom line. It strengthens credibility, increases visibility, and ensures that you provide a positive user experience.

To capture your share of the market and appeal to today’s judicious consumers, you can see why SEO is more important now than ever.

8 SEO Trends to Follow in 2022

Today’s face-paced market is packed with consumers with desires and expectations that are constantly changing. Search engine algorithms are ever-evolving.

Here are eight SEO trends every small business should know in 2022.

1. SEO-Related Google Advancements

Google continues to find ways to improve the ranking process, and its most recent significant update is BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers).  It utilizes machine learning to understand search intent through natural language processing.

google bert algorithm

In the past, directional models had to read an entire chain of words to understand their meaning. BERT can scan a series of words and instantly recognize their contextual relationships.

This update enables bots and spiders to be more conversational, making it quicker and easier for them to realize the aim of a search.

For example, if a user were to search “algebra books for adults”, their listings would include a general listing of books for a range of ages.

With BERT, the listings still include those results, but a book actually entitled “Algebra for Adults” would be ranked higher.

What does this mean for you? Your content must be created around users’ search intent. If not, Google may find that your competitor’s site contains more relevant information for their users’ queries. So while we already know content is crucial, BERT affirms the need to create content thoughtfully.

To maximize this opportunity, you should:

  • Write naturally focusing on users and the way people would speak.
  • Keep sentences short and sweet, simple and conversational.
  • Identify the questions people are asking online.
  • Make the content relevant by answering users’ questions and addressing their problems.

By keeping your audience in mind, you’ll create content that meets their needs and satisfies BERT’s requirements.

2. Organic SEO focused on User Intent

Organic SEO is built around a company’s website and refers to unpaid methods of earning high SERPs. It focuses on on-page content like metadata, meta titles, descriptions, internal link building, and outbound links.

Organic SEO gives businesses a platform to communicate relevant and meaningful information to their target market by developing content that resonates with users and search engines alike.

To succeed at organic SEO, you must:

  • Know your target audience and understand their motivators.
  • Conduct in-depth keyword research
  • Study your competitors.
  • Develop a content strategy with informative material that addresses the needs of your target audience.
  • Build relationships with reputable online sources and build healthy backlinks.

With organic SEO you can better position your brand and earn higher rankings in search engine results.

3. Local SEO

Local SEO focuses on the use of a geographic brick-and-mortar location. It’s an ideal digital marketing strategy for businesses looking to increase traffic, leads, and brand awareness from local searches.

Local SEO capitalizes on the foot traffic of shoppers searching online within your area via their mobile devices. Oftentimes, these users are in a purchasing mindset and are actively looking for businesses like yours to solve an immediate need.

google local algorithm

To establish a strong local presence, you need to understand how Google’s local algorithms work.

Local algorithms are based on 3 primary signals:

  1. Relevance
  2. Proximity
  3. Prominence

Google’s Business Profile Manager (BPM) is the best place to start if you want to improve your local SEO and build a local brand. Simply create an online profile that includes all the essential information about your business, like your name, store hours, address, and phone number.

Optimize your profile to help your brand become visible in nearby results from Google Search and Maps. If your business profile is engaging and meets the geographic reach of the user’s search, your location will appear among the top results. This drives foot traffic to your building and website, increasing sales opportunities.

Recent updates to BPM have made updating and maintaining your company’s profile easier than before. Business owners can now access their profiles directly through Google Search and Maps.

This allows you to see whether your profile is visible to consumers and make whatever edits are necessary. More importantly, you can better understand your performance and how to boost your online presence for maximum results.

Here are a few tips to optimize your local brand to dominate the competition:

Claim and update all local listings: Not just GBP, but also claim and update Bing and other secondary platforms like FaceBook, Yelp, Apple, Foursquare.  Make it a point to have a consistent Name, Address, and Phone (NAP) for all claimed listings.

Publish content on GBP frequently: Posting regular updates to your profile is a great way to boost visibility. Be diverse in your approach by promoting a product, highlighting an upcoming event, sharing a new feature, or providing a special update and offers.

Also maintain your media library by uploading photos regularly. Use quality images that accurately reflect products, services, and team culture to your online audience.

Build and manage your reviews: Encourage and welcome feedback from your customers. Interact with customers who leave reviews – especially the bad ones.

Most people will skim through good reviews.  But they will read bad reviews – and how the owners respond.

By responding to reviews, it shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business. Be prompt in your responses.

bing seo

4. Bing Webmaster Tools

When people think of search engines, Google is usually the first company that comes to mind. But Bing handles around 12 billion global search requests a month and shouldn’t be overlooked as a valuable SEO opportunity. A free Microsoft tool, Bing Webmaster, helps businesses add their websites to Bing’s index to ensure they can appear on Bing Search and gain more organic traffic.

Bing Webmaster offers a suite of tools that helps track performance and identify areas for optimization improvement. These tools include:

  • Keyword research: find new words or phrases that searchers are using to find sites like yours.
  • Backlinks: identify sites that are linking back to yours.
  • Site scan: locate any technical issues on your website that could be impeding SEO results.
  • SEO reports: pinpoint errors quickly with a prioritized list of issues to resolve.

With Bing Webmaster, you can manage your content easily and effectively. Take advantage of this tool and:

  • Remove pages you don’t want to be included in search engines’ index.
  • Monitor your website’s performance and manage potential security issues.
  • Submit your own content to be crawled and see how Bing indexes your site.

With total transparency, Bing allows you to see what you need to do to improve optimization efforts and boost your rankings.

5. Authentic Backlinks

Link building serves as an effective inbound marketing strategy. It provides an opportunity to generate traffic back to your website from other authoritative online publications and resources.

This helps give credibility to your website and online material. When a reliable outside company links to your website as a source of information, it’s like receiving a vote. The more votes (backlinks) you get, the more search engines will recognize you as a trusted and valuable source of content for their users.

When it comes to creating backlinks, authenticity is key. Not only do links alert readers and search engines of your credibility and establish you as a leader in your field … they also help search engines gain a better understanding of what your content is all about.

Sites like Google and Bing find relationships between web pages, so it’s more beneficial to receive backlinks from companies within your industry.

In an effort to combat link spam, Google has implemented an update that identifies spam links and disregards weak or low-quality backlinks.

As a result, businesses using link spam on their site earn lower rankings (if ranked at all). To build authentic backlinks, you should:

  • Watch for companies or individuals who mention your brand.
  • Reach out to them and ask about exchanging backlinks.
  • Rework your current content to include shareable lists, guides, videos, and infographics.
  • Repair broken links and alert external websites about those updates.
  • Create guest posts for relevant sites.
  • Post links on social media to reach an audience that could benefit your site.

These are just a few of the numerous ways to maximize backlinks in your SEO strategy.

6. Video Content Marketing

Research shows that 83% of internet users are compelled to watch video content, making it a powerful digital marketing tool.

Video is engaging, entertaining, and allows people to consume information while multitasking. It’s also an effective way to earn backlinks and is highly shareable, which is great for boosting SEO.

To maximize this opportunity, follow these best practices to ensure your videos provide a positive user experience for your audience:

  • Integrate a variety of videos throughout your web pages, but embed the one you want to rank first.
  • Write enticing headlines and descriptions that include valuable keywords to improve user engagement.
  • Use a quality video hosting platform like Youtube.
  • Include video transcripts for people who don’t want to watch the full clip, but still want to receive all the information.
  • Choose a compelling thumbnail image that attracts users’ attention.

Video provides an opportunity to create engaging, informative content that is tailored to your audience. Platforms like FaceBook and Linkedin allow direct uploads to help businesses expand reach.

With a strong CTA, video can the likelihood of earning higher SERPs and strengthening your brand loyalty.

7. E-A-T

To determine whether online content delivers value to its readers, Google’s Search Quality evaluators assess three main focal points of online material:

  • Expertise: is the writer knowledgeable on the topic?
  • Authoritativeness: is the writer an authority in their field? Is the content commanding?
  • Trustworthiness: is the writer and information reliable, accurate, and convincing?

While E-A-T isn’t necessarily a ranking factor, it does impact a company’s SERP indirectly. By providing companies with guidelines for producing quality content, Google is revealing what it considers important in its ranking process.

As you craft custom content, be sure to:

  • Write about topics you’ve studied and researched and link to other knowledgeable sources.
  • Take an authoritative stance to present yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
  • Fact check, confirm sources and be sure all data and links are current and accurate.

Keeping E-A-T in mind will ensure you’re providing relevant, meaningful information that delivers value and quality to your audience.

8. Core Web Vitals

Since user experience is a high priority for consumers, page experience is an essential element of SEO. Core web vitals ensure a user enjoys the best browsing experience possible.

As you assess the page experience your site provides, consider the following vitals:

  • First Input Delay (FID): how long it takes for a web page to respond.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): how long it takes for a page to reach visual stability.
  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): the amount of time between a user’s click to when they can see the majority of the content on-screen.

By improving the efficiency and effectiveness of your website’s performance, you minimize user frustrations, reduce pain points, and help deliver a positive experience.

This not only boosts your rankings through SEO, but also positively impacts your bottom line. After all, 80% of people who have a negative user experience are less likely to return to a company’s website.

To earn higher SERPs and build a loyal following of satisfied customers, attending to your site’s core web vitals is imperative for SEO..

Hire an Expert Austin SEO Company

At this point, you may be feeling overwhelmed.  We understand.  Most small business owners want to invest their best energy in what they do best.  Which is usually not SEO.

We can help.  Our team of experts at JS-Interactive knows that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to SEO.

As a digital marketing, web design, and SEO company in Austin and Milwaukee, we help people build their dreams by helping companies build targeted, sustainable, and relevant web traffic.

From local SEO to content marketing strategies, our team knows what it takes to generate qualified leads, establish you as a leader in your industry, and help earn higher SERPs for maximum success.

Reach out today for a free 30-minute consultation and let us help you reach your goals.

Bing SEO: Why It Matters for Organic Traffic and How to Optimize It

Bing? Yes, Bing.

Optimizing your Bing SEO is incredibly easy and can deliver some awesome organic traffic.

While it’s true that Google gets most of the attention, Microsoft’s Bing powers 26% of all searches compared to Google’s 62%.

Don’t count Bing out. In fact, Bing recently released a fresh set of webmaster tools and a new dashboard to compete with Google Search Console.

Why You Should Care About Bing SEO for Organic Traffic

If organic traffic is your goal, you can’t overlook the fact that over half of all searches happen through a Bing-powered search engine.

Tons of search engines and apps partner like Yahoo!, DuckDuckGo, Amazon Fire Tablets partner with Bing.

Aside from that, improving your Bing SEO could deliver a few other benefits.

  • Organic traffic arriving at your site from Bing SERPs might have a lower bounce rate.
  • Bing’s local search app, Bing Places, prioritizes small local businesses.
  • Marketers tend to notice higher conversion rates and ROI from Bing traffic.
  • Unlike Google, Bing is transparent about its ranking factors and SEO.
  • TripAdvisor, Yelp, Foursquare, and MovieTickets.com partner with Bing to aggregate data and reviews.

Bing SEO Vs. Google SEO: 4 Key Differences

Before we jump into the basics of optimizing your Bing SEO for organic traffic, let’s get these key differences out of the way.

1. Influence of Social Engagement Signals

Unlike Google, Bing does look at social media engagement when it ranks your content. Bing figures if people are following your page, sharing your content, and commenting on your posts, you must be pretty influential.

2. Understanding of Keywords

When you optimize your content’s SEO for keywords, you may want to use rules that were compliant with Google back in 2015ish.

Microsoft’s natural language processing isn’t quite as advanced as Google’s yet. You’ll need to use exact keywords (as opposed to synonyms or broad match keywords) in your content and metadata if you want Bing to find it.

Speaking of metadata, Bing still loves meta keywords.

Remember those? Meta keywords are placed into your post’s HTML, visible only to search engines and coders.

3. Impact of Multimedia

Where Bing lacks in natural language processing, it makes up for in multimedia identification.

Bing wants to see lots of high-quality images and videos on your site. Unlike Google, Bing also doesn’t mind websites designed with Flash or Silverlight. Bing says they can “improve the aesthetic appearance or the functional ability” of your website.

Look at this awesome image search interface:

rich search results bing

4. Determining Backlink Quality

We don’t know quite how much, but we do know links play a role in Bing’s ranking system.

According to Bing, lots of links pointing to your site show that your site is popular and valuable:

bing values links
Bing

Building a solid backlink profile is important. You want your links to be genuine and not part of a link- building scheme.

Bing seems to judge a link’s authority based on its age, whereas Google mainly looks at the site’s quality and trustworthiness. Also, while Google might punish you for using keywords as anchor text, Bing wants to see you link keywords.

How to Optimize Bing SEO for Organic Traffic

Optimizing your Bing SEO for organic traffic is easy if you’re already familiar with basic Google SEO.

However, there are a few key points you’ll want to prioritize.

Make Sure Bing is Indexing Your Page and Provide a Sitemap

Before you optimize anything, you’ll need to make sure Bing is indexing your website.

The fastest way to check is by running a Bing site search like site:js-interactive.com.

bing site-specific search

This will immediately show you how many pages Bing is crawling without having to wait for Bing to pull your data in their Webmaster Dashboard.

Just as you would with Google, you’ll also want to give Bing a sitemap. Bing recommends using a fresh sitemap to avoid dirt from redirects.

Familiarize Yourself with the New Bing Webmaster Tools

Bing recently released a brand spanking new Webmaster Dashboard. It looks remarkably like Google Search Console, so it’s easy to figure out and navigate:

2020 bing webmaster dashboard

The fun doesn’t end there. Bing’s Webmaster Tools beat Google Search Console by including SEO tools like backlink reports, keyword research, and SEO analysis.

bing keyword research

Better still, Bing integrated a link disavow tool right into the dashboard so you can clean low-quality links seamlessly. With Google, you have to visit a special page. Plus, Google tends to frown on using the disavow tool. Bing encourages it.

bing disavow tool

The Bing Webmaster Tools also let you scan your website for immediate SEO issues you can address like too-long titles:

Bing SEO Scan

Claim Your Bing Places Listing

get listed bing places

Local businesses would be foolish not to set up and optimize their Bing Places listing because Bing integrates with TripAdvisor.

Bing prioritizes locally owned small businesses. Milwaukee, Wisconsin has no shortage of Starbucks, but there is little to no presence with this “Coffee in Milwaukee” search:

local seo bing search

Link Your Social Media Accounts to Your Site

Since Bing pays attention to social media engagement, it would be smart to link your social accounts with your site if you haven’t already.

In other words, add some widgets on your site that display your Twitter or Facebook feed. You could also integrate the click-to-tweet plugin. The point is to use a plugin with an API that shows Bing crawlers your social accounts belong to your website.

Build Quality Backlinks from Established Websites

Links tell Bing that your website is worth sharing – the more links, the better!

At the same time, Bing keeps an eye out for typical link building schemes and spam:

link schemes bing

Instead, follow the same link building strategy you would for Google: Create authoritative content that people want to link to in their content.

Create Amazing Content That Keeps Visitors on Your Page

Bing tells us upfront that it pays close attention to your website clicks and engagement:

content engagement for seo

Fortunately, you should already be striving to create engaging content for Google SERPs as well. A few important strategies include:

  • Make sure your headline is engaging, unique, and attention-grabbing.
  • Ensure your body copy matches up to the headline. A headline is a promise of what’s inside. You don’t want visitors to hit the back button after they realize your headline was clickbait.
  • Write long-form content of over 1,000 words to answer questions thoroughly and keep visitors on your page.
  • Include internal links so visitors feel compelled to stay on your site and learn more.
  • Try to outdo the top three search results for your keyword every time.

Optimize for Keywords – Especially in Your Titles

While Google is moving away from phrase match keywords in favor of natural language, Bing still loves keywords.

Once you set up your site in Bing Webmaster Tools, you might notice you’re ranking pretty dang well for lots of keywords you lost in Google.

Exact match keywords matter the most in titles. Don’t break up your keyword with synonymous phrases – use the exact keyword you want to target.

Bing also pays close attention to subheadings. You might find it a lot easier to get your site ranking for snippets within your posts:

exact match keywords bing

See at the bottom where Wikipedia is linked? That could include your author name and link.

Invest in High-Quality Multimedia

Bing believes multimedia creates a better aesthetic experience for visitors, so you can’t go wrong adding more to your content.

Include custom multimedia like:

  • Infographics with optimized ALT text
  • High-res product images
  • 360-degree or 3D photos of products
  • Video content

Collect Ethical Reviews

91% of people read reviews, and 84% consider them as reliable as a friend’s recommendation.

Reviews are especially important because Bing integrates with top review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor.

Focus on collecting genuine reviews with user-generated content like photos, if possible.

Build a Well-Rounded Digital Marketing Strategy for Organic Traffic

Our experts can help you build a comprehensive SEO strategy for every search engine. We have over 14 years of experience helping both B2B and B2C brands maximize their online visibility and earn loyal customers.

Check out our portfolio to see how we can help you accomplish more!

Where to Focus Your SEO for Small Business

The Internet is a great equalizer. A website from a small business can be just as powerful and effective as one from a much larger business. It’s true what they say – on the Internet, nobody knows how big (or how small) you are.

This assumes, of course, that you’re savvy with how you optimize your site for search. Search engine optimization (SEO) is even more important for a small business because many don’t have the same brand equity a consumer would find with a large company. As an experienced digital marketer, I know that a small business can receive these same benefits when you employ a healthy marketing strategy that includes focused SEO.

Local Search

According to Google, 97% of consumers search online for local businesses. To rank highly when a user searches for nearby businesses, with a query like “nail salons near me,”  your site needs to be:

  • Proximate (close to the searcher)
  • Relevant (related to the query)
  • Prominent (rated highly by others online)

For the search engines to determine proximity, you need to fold in your location details, specifically your company name, address and phone (NAP) throughout your website.  You also want to consider local listings (Chamber of Commerce, newspapers, etc) and citations (YP, SuperPages, etc.). To rank highly on relevance, you need to describe the products and (category) services you offer clearly. To rank highly on prominence, you need user reviews and ratings not just on your site but, more importantly, on key review sites – Googly My Business, Yelp, etc.

Local SEO is especially important for businesses like restaurants, salons, medical practices, law firms, chiropractors — businesses that offer a physical location. Take my client Foster Danowsky, LLP for example. A quick search for a “TDLR Lawyer near me” produces a local pack from Google; a curated list of local businesses in the area where users can find useful information from their search.

local search results small business

Mobile Search

When you’re optimizing the content on your site, know that the majority of potential customers are looking for you on their mobile devices – not on a traditional desktop or notebook computer. Make sure that your site is optimized for mobile users and that both customers and the major search engines can find relevant content when they’re viewing your site on their phones or tablets. As of 2018, Google now uses mobile-first indexing, which means it primarily uses the mobile version of your site for its indexing.

Voice Search

Both mobile and home users are now searching by voice, using Apple’s Siri, Amazon Alexa, or Google Assistant. The use of voice search is predicted to increase 50% by 2020, so make sure to create content for question based queries. In other words, answer those questions that start with the words “what,” “where,” “why,” “who,” and so on.

Relevant Content

SEO is all about the content. The more authoritative and relevant your content, the more likely you’ll be visible to qualified users in search results. Ranking alone is not an accurate measurement for SEO success. If your content isn’t specifically tailored to the intent of the user they will leave.

Creating the right content can begin with an extensive list of relevant keywords. There are lots of free tools that allow you to analyze keywords that show a high volume of searches and low competition for ranking. Some of my recommendations for tools include SEMRush, Google Keyword Planner and Neil Patel’s UberSuggest.

best tool keyword finder

When ready to create content – ditch the buzzwords and jargon, think like your audience thinks and offer content of real value for that targeted market.

Diversified Content

Driving traffic to your business is not all text-based. You want to offer your content to users in a variety of formats, which means using images, video, downloadables, infographics, blog posts, and social sharing when appropriate. It not only helps your ranking, but it also engages your customers.

Long-Tail Search Queries

When writing your site copy, you have to speak (or rather, write) like your target audience, which means using long-tail keywords. These are three- or four-keyword phrases that are highly related to whatever it is that your customer is looking for. Customers today describe what they want in very precise words and phrases. Think like your customer and use keywords that match the way they talk and think. Statistics have shown that while a website may get a larger volume of hits from broad search terms, it’s the long-tail keywords that have proven to be more effective for online conversions.

higher conversion long-tail keywords

Schema Markup

Schema.org is a Google, Bing, Yandex, and Yahoo! collaboration. It provides concise information about your business to search engines that helps them to better understand your content and deliver the best search results based on a users request. By adding Schema, you can improve the way your page displays in SERPs with rich snippets that display beneath your page title.

rich snippets clickthrough rates

Schema can get a bit technical, so you may want to contact your developer to provide you with assistance on implementing it.

Accessibility

Site access effects search results. People want instant access to content; they’ll click away if your site loads too slowly or if they can’t quickly find the content they’re looking for. Even worse, Google and other search engines will lower the ranking of slow loading sites. Optimize your site for speed and create clear funnels and call to action, to better your SEO and increase conversions. As Anna Crowe of Search Engine Journal points out, “Faster loading pages lead to a better overall website experience,” which explains Google’s move toward making it a mobile ranking factor.

Brand

With all the focus on SEO, don’t forget to emphasize your brand. Some marketers have even stated that Google gives brands preferential treatment. It’s essential that your website is part of a total marketing strategy that focuses on a clear brand identity, consistent messaging, focused target audience, values, and voice employed across all media channels.

Inbound Links

Another way to improve your search rankings is to have relevant, trusted, and authoritative sites link back to you. Google, in particular, looks at these inbound links and counts them as “votes” to your website and content. It’s crucial, then, to build natural relationships with these high-quality sites and encourage them to link back to you.

Analyze Performance

Finally, don’t forget to analyze your performance. Use Google Analytics and other tools to track your data – and then make changes based on what’s working and what isn’t.

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.
Albert Einstein, Physicist

SEO is an ongoing process and includes multiple areas of marketing; your website must become a living thing that changes based on what you learn.

Let JS-Interactive Help Your Small Business with SEO

JS-Interactive has been designing productive and successful websites for companies of all sizes since 2004. As an experienced web designer and SEO company in Austin, I love to help small and medium-sized businesses make the most of their online marketing.

Have questions? Please feel free to contact JS-Interactive  for a FREE 30-minute consultation today!

Why You Need Local SEO (And How to Get it with GMB)

Businesses may be going global, but your local presence is still critical for generating leads in your target market. Whether you offer a local service, or you want to attract clients to your brick-and-mortar business, local SEO is essential to your growth and success. One of the best ways to localize your SEO is with Google My Business.

Maximize your benefits with GMB and discover plenty of cool new tools GMB has added to help you grow your business.

What is Local Search?

If you are a small or medium-sized business, local search is critical for attracting new customers. Four out of five people use an online search to find information about businesses near them. If you aren’t maximizing your local search opportunities, you could be missing out on a significant number of customers in your area.

How do you make sure the right customers are finding you? Search engines rely on a variety of tools for local searches, including links, social pages, content, and citations. When you get these down, your local customers will be able to locate you.

Why is Local SEO Important?

There are plenty of facts and figures that demonstrate the critical importance of local SEO to your business:

  • 46% of searches on Google are to find local information
  • 97% of customers will go online to get information about a local business
  • 88% of people searching for a local business will contact or visit that business within 24 hours
  • 78% of mobile local searches result in offline purchases
  • 92% of searchers will choose a local business on the first page of the search results

Searches that include the words “near me” or “close by” have grown at an astronomical rate, particularly in voice searches. If your business doesn’t come up in the results, the number of customers you are missing is equally substantial.

What is Google My Business?

You are probably familiar with Google My Business already, even if you can’t define it. Have you ever run a search for a business in your area? When you see the box for a business (or local pack) come up in search results or on the right side of your screen, that is a GMB listing.

google local listing appliance repairman

GMB is a way to get your brick-and-mortar store listed on Google. It is a free business listing service that matches businesses to customers. When a user searches for your business, the box to the right will appear on their screen to give them the information they need about you.

GMB also lists local businesses when searchers look for a product or service you offer in your area. In this case, your business is likely to come up in a local pack of businesses with similar offerings. Your business may appear as both a listing and a pointer on a map, so your potential customer can see exactly where you are located.

local seo appliance repair company

Cool GMB Features You haven’t Used Yet

If getting in the GMB directory wasn’t enough, now there are multiple features with this tool that allow you to take your local SEO a step further. And since these aren’t familiar to many marketers just yet, getting onboard early will help your business stand out from the crowd.

1. Give ‘Em a Deal

GMB allows businesses to set up welcome offers right on their listing. By utilizing this tool, customers that find you online will also have incentive to visit your business to take advantage of a discount that pops up when a user follows your business. Appropriately, you can find this feature in your profile under, “Turn followers into customers.”

2. Customize Your Image

A picture is worth a thousand words, and when you can customize the picture on your GMB, it may also be worth a few extra clicks. Your photos on your listing can show customers in action and invite people inside your business. Photos will be prominently featured, so choose wisely to entice prospective customers.

3. Boost Your Lead Generation

Now, there is a feature that allows customers to request a quote as soon as they find your website on GMB. Businesses that have opted into the Google My Business messaging feature can take advantage of this.

request quote feature gmb

The messaging feature also allows you to review and respond to the quotes within the GMB app as well.

Activating this feature is simple. From your app, make sure your messaging is enabled by:

  1. Clicking on Customers tab featured at the bottom of your device
  2. Click Messages from your 3 menu options at the top of your device

You’ll be prompted to turn on messaging.

enable customer messaging gmb

4. Use Google Assistant to Your Advantage

Google Assistant now allows customers to order from restaurants and stores right from GMB. Deliveries are done through popular services like DoorDash, Delivery.com, and Postmates. To make the most of this feature, make sure your menu and your delivery apps are up to date on your website. The future promises more integration of Google My Business with Google Assistant. Especially with an estimated 50% of searches coming from voice searches by 2020 according to ComScore.

5. Make the Most of Your Reviews

GMB also offers new tools that allow you to use your reviews more effectively. Place Topics takes data from previous reviews to provide information about what customers think of your business.

Q&A Auto-Suggest Answers also takes snippets from reviews to answer questions customers commonly ask about businesses like yours.

questions answers google my business answer questions gmb

Make Your Local SEO Work for You

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