During a pandemic, creating a community is important. Local SEO does just that. It connects people to what they want when they need it; with businesses like pharmacies that are open late at night and local restaurants that deliver food being some examples of what people are looking for during current times. 

However, SEO is a concept that is constantly changing, both through the different ways people connect to resources, and how they go from curiously researching on their phones to ending up at a business’s virtual doorstep. 

How does a business owner keep up with the constant change of SEO patterns? The State of Local SEO Industry Report 2020 is a great reference to start with. US software company Moz surveyed more than one thousand marketing professionals to get a clear understanding of local SEO, both before and during the pandemic.

SEO insights and takeaways for 2020

COVID-19 is forcing companies to adapt to the change in how we interact with each other. Digital interaction/marketing and search engine optimization are steadily growing, but with organic assets/items thriving, businesses are in a position where they can get their goods and services to reach people through organic search. Here are some data-based tips for businesses owners to stay on top of this constantly evolving industry:

Optimise for client interests and goals 

Whether it’s potential customers checking out your business online or in person, optimising for customers is a must. Thanks to Google’s BERT algorithm update that upgraded the user experience and put the focus on search intent, it’s clear that customer engagement is more than using all of the right keywords in content and a Google My Business profile. Write content that addresses their specific issues and leads them to a solution. Keep your company accessible through multiple channels, and keep consistent with content along with your brand voice as it leads to trust from your audience and creates potential clients. 

Employ a diverse team of experts

Management of SEO requires the right people with the right expertise, including web developers, content writers, PPC advertisers and marketing staff. A successful local SEO campaign needs a joint effort from all parties which bring their own set of skills to the table. You also don’t need a team full of SEO professionals; just a team full of diverse creative minds that will create a melting pot of fresh ideas. 

Keep offline marketing strategies in mind 

Although digital marketing is a major player in marketing now, offline marketing still plays a role. A study by Quantcast found that 39% of global direct brand marketers think that offline campaigns are vital for their overall marketing efforts. Do your research into how people interact with your brand both online and offline and use those insights to establish strategies for both online and offline marketing which will result in customers that feel seen and heard. 

Generate positive customer reviews 

A whopping 90% of survey respondents believe that reviews impact Google’s local rankings. It’s most certainly true that they do impact brand reputation, conversion and sales; and can be a determining factor on whether or not a potential client seeks your company out further than the ratings they come across. Think about how your customers are addressing their negative reviews and what you can do to effectively manage your brand’s online reputation.

Adapt to COVID-19’s new normal 

Although the pandemic has harmed the marketing budgets of major brands, it’s been especially harmful to local businesses. Survey results indicate that businesses are making short-term budget cuts, along with developing long-term changes to their SEO strategies. More than half have seen marketing budget cuts and many others have moved away from offering nonessential services. Focus on tried-and-tested SEO tactics that work, like content development, customer communication and of course, local SEO.

The bottom line on local SEO tactics

Despite the uncertainty that the pandemic has brought, lots of known marketing strategies are still effective, including organic assets, website optimization, content creation and local search engine optimization. Keep pushing consistent content that resonates with potential clients and their issues, embrace organic presence and stick to tried-and-tested marketing strategies that have been proven to be effective and your company will reap the rewards.

Contact WSI OMS for some expert advice on how to use local SEO for optimum results.