We’ve arrived at the second half of the year and we’ve had a crazy few months back. With all the changes, shifts and trends affecting digital marketing strategies because of COVID-19, there’s no doubt that we’ll see more people adapting to an almost completely digital lifestyle – buying essentials, food and other consumer items online, working and studying from home with video conferencing. If we need to really go out, it’s for good reason – dental appointments and necessary takeaways from restaurants, for example.
As we slowly move into 2021, several major search capabilities are becoming more sophisticated as people refine the way they look for information online. These are just some of the trends that we’ve noticed are getting more traction since the start of the year.
Voice Search Optimisation
Ever since Siri, Cortana, Alexa and Google Home have evolved into more sophisticated voice-activated assistants, voice search has been dominating several SEO trends lists and of course, it has a place in ours. Around 119 million people across the world have used voice search in 2019 and as we drastically shift towards a more digital age, this number will naturally increase.
Digital marketing professionals are now spending more time optimising long-tail keywords (any search query combination longer than three words) that people who use voice search will most likely use to find their businesses.
For us, it’s not enough to be optimised for search via typing; it’s imperative that we consider other ways to search online as well.
Online Reviews Have More Gravitas
If you’re thinking word-of-mouth has mysteriously disappeared, think again.
Online customer reviews are the next step to spreading the word and helping you rise to the top of search results. In fact, 82% of consumers read online reviews before engaging with a local store and 74% of local businesses have at least one online review.¹
So if you think those reviews don’t mean much, it’s time to pay attention to what your customers are writing about you, especially on Google My Business.
On-Site User Interaction Now a Must in SEO Strategy
Nowadays, user experience is an important part of SEO.
After all, how can you enjoy going through a product page or menu if it’s hard to navigate throughout the website, the font size is too small and the images are pixelated? It’s not enough to have a website that Google spiders can crawl and index; it’s now extremely important to optimise it for the benefit of the user.
UX experts know this by heart but it’s only recently that Google’s algorithm shifts include on-site user interaction.
Google My Business Fits into Everything
When people search for businesses near them, they trust that the information they see on SERPs is accurate. So naturally, you have to make sure that your Google My Business listing is always updated. Especially during this time, it’s important to check if your hours are indeed correct or if you have any additional services that you want your audience to learn about.
For example, while 48% of people use voice search for general web searches like how-to guides and information about people, more and more are using this feature to look for places near them. Imagine a potential customer looking for a dental clinic. Instead of typing in their search query, they say into their phone’s speaker instead. The results pop up in almost an instant and they can now view which dental clinic is nearest to them. If the address leads them to a clinic that’s currently open and responds to phone calls, there’s a high chance of them becoming a patient. Responding to reviews also helps boost your visibility in search results, especially if you use keywords that you want to rank for.
In the latter half of 2020 and moving towards 2021, expect Google My Business to be at the forefront of local SEO and many digital marketing trends. It’s a necessary element in your SEO strategy and to ignore it will mean that you have not fully harnessed the power of search engines. Claiming your GMB is one step towards getting ahead of your competitors.
The second step is improving your local SEO game in one place. The DigitalMaas Platform is your one-stop-shop for updating your GMB listing as well as other listings, securing your spot on the World Wide Web.