Building your brand doesn’t have to require audience from outside of your country. Many make the mistake to underestimate their local SEO(Search Engine Optimization) when in reality, local SEO has a higher conversion rate compared to other advertising media.

The year 2017 is ending and the virtual world just keeps on getting more competitive each day. Competition between new and old techniques are tested along with the ever-changing playing field of the internet.

Just like last year, 2017 is going to define which SEO techniques that get to stay or leave behind. Those that get to stay shapes the trends for the incoming year: 2018. So what has 2018 have for local SEO?

1. Mobile Searches = Local Searches

There are reports stating that 57% of the traffic generated is from mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Sweet, but what does this mean for local SEO?

Since Google’s sponsored report in 2014, it shows that mobile users tend to search services and products locally. With the continuous growth for mobile users, this also equates to more potential customers for your local business.

From the facts and statistics mentioned, it goes to show that local SEO shouldn’t be ignored anymore.

2. Handy Virtual Assistants

Along with the increase of mobile users is also the growing numbers of virtual assistants being used. Cortana, Siri, and Google Now are some of the virtual assistants available for consumer use.

From the basic text-to-speech feature, virtual assistants are born. Since Google’s report in 2014, the number of people using voice-activated search queries to their respective virtual assistant shows a steady increase.

It is expected that 2018 will be the year of virtual assistants and voice searches with the equally increasing numbers of voice-activated features from smart homes.

3. Machine Learning Capabilities

Before, companies and business are free to cram and stuff their company website and content full of keywords in order to rank high in the SERPs(Search Engine Results Page).

As the algorithms(i.e Hummingbird and RankBrain) in the search engines keep updating and evolving, it makes the system smarter and making it capable of updating itself without human input.

Good examples of machine learning are the personalized SERPs, where search engines analyze users’ information to offer them befitting results and the featured snippets.

4. Content is still King

Due to the search engine updates, Google can figure out whether you are making content for the sake of putting in links and keywords or not.

Moreover, with regards to machine learning capabilities, algorithms such as Panda and Penguin are alert in looking for content discrepancies. If caught, Google is penalizing those who have broken the rules.

2018 is the year where user experience(UX) is the boss. Content should be high in quality and leaves users satisfied as well as informed and entertained.

5. Classic Local Link Building

Local link building is still alive and kicking in the next year. Additionally, it doesn’t show any signs of going anywhere anytime soon. Links are still Google’s most important factor in ranking.

Other than helping you rank higher, when done right, local link building can foster good relationships between companies. This can also provide better quality content for your audience.

And lastly, local link building provides relevant links to your site. For example, a roofing site can gain pertinent links from relevant sources found locally.

6. Visualize Your Search

Due to the abundance of carousels, answer boxes and many more, it will be a challenge for your website to get the consumers attention.

Google updates and machine learning influencing the SERPs plus the short attention spans, most consumers won’t scroll down that much to get to the organic results. This has significantly changed how businesses will compete to the top.

The quick fix? Visual search. Alongside local SEO, you can aim for the “3-pack” where businesses are listed along with the map of the business location. Accompany it with images to increase the chances of enticing more audience.

How to Prepare for these Trends

Mobile all the Way

Google has announced that due to the multitudes of mobile users that are searching the internet, they are going to implement a mobile-first indexing.

This is where your mobile website is considered the real site. Therefore, the mobile version will be the bases of your rank. If your mobile site performed poorly, it will negatively impact your ranking. Optimize your mobile site with the following:

Fast Loading Pages. As the demand for mobile mediums when it comes to accessing the internet, it has been reported that mobile loading speed greatly lags behind desktop loading speed. It is essential that you optimize your mobile loading speed to avoid an increase in exit rate.

Mobile-friendly UI(User Interface). Layout, buttons, images, and text should have a harmonious balance within the smaller screen of a mobile device. Check your own mobile website to know if the layout is mobile-friendly. A mobile-friendly site is a user-friendly site.

Adopt a Voice Search-Friendly SEO

Voice searches have shaped how search engines find and provide your information to searchers. In order to avoid getting left behind in voice-activated opportunities, adopt a voice search-friendly SEO.

Opting for Long-tail Keywords. In the world of voice queries, gone are the days where short and general keywords exist. Long-tail keywords are your keys to a higher chance of getting your information presented to potential customers.

Choose Natural. Minimize the use of SEO generated words and switch to natural languages and be conversational. People are using their voice searches as if they are talking to a companion and you don’t talk SEO-like to a friend when asking something.

Create Meaningful Content

Even though link building stays strong for the next year, it doesn’t mean that Panda and Penguin stopped looking out for faults in the contents that you are making through blogging or guest blogging.

Easy on the Links. Despite being the most important element in ranking, popular and quality links sometimes are not the best links for your content. Even you have few links in your contents, you will still be able to rank as long as the links are meaningful.

Schema Mark-it-Up

Input Crucial Information. Through personalized SERPs, featured snippets, and structured data, information is critical. Don’t skimp on your business information(i.e address, phone numbers, store hours, product prices, email, website). Every information is important in order to make the best of 3-packs, carousels, answer boxes and more.

The Takeaway

With another year coming, it is imperative for you to learn about the upcoming trends in order to stay ahead of the already competitive competition. Let trends be your guide to start off 2018 on the right foot and aim for yet another fruitful, if not successful, year.

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