Now that we’ve dipped our toes into the shallow end of the 2018 pool, we’re prepared to dive a little deeper into the waters of the year ahead. Here we will provide some local search marketing predictions on what your brand can prepare for in the coming months.
1. Word-of-Mouth Marketing (WOMM) and Loyalty Initiatives
You will see these elevate to progressively more critical in servicing area businesses whose results are disrupted by Google’s Local Service Ads. Since SABs could have to “rent back” their customers from Google, independent lead channels will have boosted value. That being said, LSAs could get a victory over traditional Adwords in terms of cost and conversions.
2. Content Will Become King Again
Content will seem like the last coca cola in the desert… and everyone will want a sip. Hold on to your hats because here comes: voice search, Google Posts, Google Questions & Answers, owner responses, along with every phase of the sales process. Be prepared to master the fundamentals of link building and organic keyword research, structured data that offers an authoritative voice in the omni-channel environment. Envelope yourself into a way of becoming “the answer” to queries… knowing that the answers predominantly reside in content development.
3. Retail Downsizing
Retail is reeling at the moment with the ‘online shopping for EVERYTHING’ trend. Amazon is owning everyone with the triumphant return of old-school home delivery. This trend is leading many brands to downsize and significantly cut costs. In matters of local SEO, physical locations should be eligible for all of the goodies of traditional campaigns.
4. Quality Will Be Key
For local brands, quality will be highlighted as a critical factor. Customers critical about specific features (e.g. made in the USA, handmade, environmentally green, superior value, etc.) can assist local businesses with pushing revenues higher. Google will become aggressive about direct local advertising and in-pack ads will grow. In 2018, anticipate local pack ads to not only appear on more queries but make the jump to desktop SERPs and possibly Google Home.
5. In-SERP Features to Expand
Targeted, local SERP features will also expand. Local Service Ads were actualized to more services and cities last year and Google will not stop there. They’ve made known a clear inclination to develop specialized content for both organic and local. Start now to be ahead of the trend on this feature.
Whether you view Google as friend or foe now depends on your impacted SEO plan from last year and how much you will have to invest in new and streamlined techniques this year. Looking at these expert predictions, that’s a question local businesses of all sizes can continue to ask in 2018. Perhaps it’s best to answer “neither.” Google embodies opportunity for brands that identify how to excel at the game. Companies that put customers first are likely to be successful, no matter how the nuances of the digital marketing world shift and edification will remain the key to mastery in the year ahead.