2020 is finally behind us, and the best and the brightest in the SEO and content marketing space are weighing in on what just happened. They’re also dusting off their crystal balls and making a few predictions about what we should be on the lookout for in 2021. While the early focus for 2020 was spam reduction, the whole global pandemic tipped that on its head, and things went in a different direction. Google was busy putting out other fires, and spam stayed put.
Revisiting Predictions for 2020
Sure, there were a lot of predictions out there for 2020, but some of them were more prescient than others. Let’s take a closer look at BrightLocal’s assessment:
- Andrew Cock-Starkey, Founder of Optimisey, was looking ahead to a monetized component of Google My Business, and he was right on the money. Google is now hawking upgraded profiles, which – you guessed it – come with a monthly subscription fee.
- Dan Foland, SEO Director at Postali, pushed the GMB thing a bit further with a prediction that Local Service Ads (LSA) – for professional service industries, including the world of legal – would hit the ground running in 2020, and yes.
- Ben Fisher, VP of Marketing at Steady Demand, was really hoping he’d be wrong when he predicted an uptick in spam for 2020 but, sadly, that wasn’t the case.
Hey, 2020, Good Riddance
2020 ultimately did come to an end (although there were moments when we all wondered), and now, it’s time to look forward. When Whitespark published its much-anticipated Local Search Ranking Factors survey, it confirmed our suspicions that, when it comes to local search rankings, GMB is paramount. In other words, you do your business all kinds of favors when you keep your GMB listing shiny and new, including answering those questions, responding to those reviews, and keeping your copy on point. To highlight the matter, many of the most compelling predictions for 2021 focus on just that.
Your GMB Listing: Front and Center
When we collectively woke up to lockdowns, orders to shelter in place, and more, we came face to face with just how critical our GMB listings are. Businesses, customers, and clients alike were all at a loss, and since none of us had any idea what to do, we rolled up our sleeves and did what we do best – searched for the answer online.
Fortunately, GMB listings are there for us – offering a lifeline. Is your firm open to clients; are you handling everything virtually; are you taking things on a case-by-case basis; do you have new hours? Your clients and potential clients have questions, and your listing has answers. When your GMB listing addresses matters that relate to the here and now, you not only foster peace of mind in those who land there but also bolster your credibility and reliability, and in times of crisis, all of these things are in hot demand. Amy Toman, SEO Analyst at Digital Law Marketing, reports that, if nothing else, the pandemic has renewed our interest in GMB housekeeping, and that is a good thing.
Fully Embracing GMB
Claire Carlile, Digital Marketing Consultant at Claire Carlile Marketing, expects to see businesses go after all things GMB harder in 2021. This includes not only fine tuning those listings but also engaging more fully in what it is that GMB offers. This is content-centric stuff, including \to reviews, crafting compelling FAQ pages, and uploading relevant photos and videos.
Tell Us More
Krystal Taing with Solutions & Strategic Partnerships at Uberall is looking directly at content for 2021. She’s expecting to see more of the nascent user-generated content of 2020, such as user reviews guiding local rankings. Online consumers want to know more, and if your content delivers, you’re golden. Consider the following:
- Copy that is succinct, engaging, and on topic
- Copy that is well organized and easily navigable
- Copy that finds its voice and speaks directly to the reader
Additionally, the payment and delivery options that began blasting off in 2020 are expected to continue apace.
A Note about the Pandemic
It’s safe to say that, due to the pandemic, we’ve never relied upon our online business presence and branding more. If nothing else comes of this sweeping global setback, we do now recognize that we can get down to business (all kinds of business) online far better than most of us probably ever thought possible. In fact, we’ve proven ourselves quite versatile. This is especially true of enterprises such as law firms, which have managed to adapt and respond to their clients’ needs with care and dispatch. Most firms out there have been honing their online content and connections for a while now, and the pandemic is pushing us to keep things moving in the right direction in 2021 and beyond.