Now that we’ve rocketed into the new decade, it’s clear that local results are becoming more and more important to Google, which is, of course, good for businesses like small to mid-size law firms. As with all things Google, it’s important to learn the ropes and to anticipate how best to participate. Looking into our crystal ball, we’ve curated some of the most interesting and relevant expert predictions for local search trends in 2020, and we’re happy to share.
Some of the best and the brightest in the biz are predicting that Google will be getting back into the social media game. Although they retired Google+ (the goliath’s original foray into social networks) a while ago, there’s every reason to believe that Google is getting back on that horse and will be introducing a platform with a firm focus on Local Guides and local reviews. Small business owners are wise to pay attention and be prepared to play.
User generated content (UGC) remains in Google’s attention crosshairs. The content that evolves out of users’ reviews, comments, and questions is golden and should be right there on your radar. UGC provides you with the invaluable opportunity to listen and respond meaningfully to your customers, clients, potential customers, and looky-loos alike.
Because all of this happens in real time, it keeps your content fresh, informative, and on-point. Staying on top of your UGC game is how you polish your online local presence. Your potential customers are not only looking for information about what it is you do and/or sell but are also looking for reassurance that you’re a good bet for their hard-earned dollars, and UGC offer them that.
While no one sings the praises of spam, this truth hasn’t had much – if any – impact on its ubiquitous nature. although some experts express mild hope that Google is gaining the upper hand on the spam underworld, the general mindset is that the spam issue on Google My Business (GMB) is alive and well with no real antidote in sight. The fact is that there are entities out there that are motivated to generate spam, and they don’t seem to have any trouble staying ahead of the game. In other words, spam is likely to remain a major player.
The Check’s in the Mail
The word on the street is that Google will be making more and more of its offerings pay-for-play in the new year, and this extends to GMB. While this is how things generally go when it comes to online opportunities, it’s important to recognize that you will likely be paying more to obtain the local visibility you want and need.
GMB Gains Force
The writing is on the wall – GMB is only growing bigger and stronger and will continue to launch pretty new products throughout 2020. Now, more than ever, it’s important to tune in to your GMB listing and to be ready to roll when new wares drop. GMB is your local lifeline, and it merits critical attention.
Website? What Website?
While your company’s website is obviously the online face of your business, plenty of would-be customers are going clickless. When searching for whatever it is we need, more and more of us are finding the exact information right there in the Google search results, including:
- Your business name and address
- Your hours of operation
- Directions to your place of business
- Those all-important customer reviews
This makes honing your Google search efforts that much more vital. This is no time to rest on your laurels – keep your listing vibrant, current, and compelling.
Stay Linked In
Links that just lie there are not doing you or your potential customers any favors. Your links should be dynamic, locally relevant, timely, and topical. Nothing says phoning it in like a listless link. If content is king – and it is – your links should be the jewels in your crown.
A Markup Can Be a Bargain
Schema markup refers to embedded microdata that can enhance your showings in search results, and it’s expected to continue blowing up in 2020. When you can provide potential customers with a succinct description of your offerings even before they click through to your website, it gives said customers a heads-up and affords you a valuable leg up.
Think Global but Search Local
It’s 2020, and you’re looking to sweep the local search board, which means paying careful attention to your online brand and presence. The experts agree that local is trending like never before with Google and the like, which makes it your year to allow the magic of technology help you keep things close to home. Your future-customers are right there where you live, and putting in the time and effort to meet them on the World Wide Web is a worthy pursuit.