local seo trends for 2023 mapped in a diagram

As we all know by now, SEO is not static. In this rapidly changing environment, staying ahead of the trends can mean the difference between a highly profitable year, instead of a transitional year.

In short, some of the most important local SEO trends in 2023 will be:

  1. Switch to GA4
  2. User experience (UX) is everything
  3. The impact of reviews
  4. Search features, rich results and schema
  5. Found outside of Google

What is Local SEO?

Like us in us recent blog“Local SEO is a component of SEO strategy that focuses on optimizing your business’s ability to rank for a specific location or region in local search results for all search engines.”

For many of our clients, local SEO is the bread and butter of their new business acquisition, making it more important than ever to know what the future holds.

Switch to GA4 – The importance of local SEO in 2023

As you may have heard, in July 2023, Google will pause all data collection from Universal Analytics (UA) properties. This means that if you do not already have the latest version of Google Analytics, GA4, set up on your site, you will need to follow this guide or one of the many out there to do it yourself, or you can contact our team who can save you the time and headache by doing it for you.

As my fellow SEO Jess put it in her blog “Upgrading Google Analytics to GA4: What you need to know“, GA4 offers “new features, updates to the user interface, and provides an entirely new way to view and analyze data, with a stronger focus placed on event tracking.”

As the digital world moves toward stronger privacy regulations, GA4’s cookieless advanced tracking features are built for the future of data collection. The earlier this data collection is set up on your site, the sooner you can accurately compare year-to-year data in the future.

For hotel and hospitality sites that integrate with third-party booking engines such as FareHarbor, InnRoads, etc., many of these have or are in the process of implementing GA4 integration, making the switch easy.

For local SEO user experience (UX) is everything in 2023

If we’ve learned anything from the past year of local SEO, it’s this: creating useful content and a great UX are some of the most important factors for a website to rank high on Google.

You might think that this is obvious, but how many times have you seen a beautifully designed website with a video background that takes almost a minute to load on your phone? Or scrolling through endless menus, ads and irrelevant content on a mobile device to find the answer/product/stat you were looking for?

Google now indexes all new websites that are used mobile-first indexing, which means that a good mobile UX will have a huge swing in rankings. Is the font large enough on your mobile design? Are the most important links and pieces of information easily found right away? These are going to be the important questions for websites in 2023.

Most brands will also need to consider accessibility when it comes to positive UX. Although not a current federal legal requirement (January 2023), there are state and local regulations that have resulted in lawsuits for non-compliant websites. Because of these cases, ADA compliant website design is on the rise.

The vast majority of the ADA recommendations will improve UX for all users, especially on mobile devices, meaning that an investment in accessibility can be an investment in your local search ranking and result.

Our team specializes in excellent mobile first UX web design and regularly builds and maintains ADA and WCAG compliant websites. Contact our team to learn more.

The impact of reviews on local SEO in 2023

We all know how important it is to have customers leave reviews on Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc. for a small business. But did you know a study in 2022 found that businesses with 10 or more are reviews higher in search results?

What’s even more important than generating reviews is responding to them. Good or bad, regularly responding to all reviews and questions will have a positive impact on online exposure.

If someone didn’t enjoy their meal at a restaurant after visiting for the first time and left a scathing review, it could turn away thousands of potential customers. With a carefully crafted invitation to come back and try another dish for free (if they regularly give reviews and aren’t looking for a free meal), turning trolls into triumphs.

Although it takes time, having control over your online reputation is invaluable. Although most platforms send review notifications, Google doesn’t send you an email when someone asks a question on a Google My Business profile, so it’s essential to regularly check and update your profile for you local SEO.

Local SEO search features, rich results and schema

Searchers decide what to click on google in 15 seconds or less, which means how and how many times your business appears in search results is more important than ever.

Did you know there are over 10 different ways your local business can show up on the first page of Google?

Organic search results – web pages that Google most closely associates as high-quality answers to the search query.

Google My Business profile – It’s free, people can call directly from Google, get verified and you can add photos, respond to reviews and questions and make your business stand out.

Paid advertising – Targeted campaigns can help your business appear at the top of search results for your specific audience and keywords.

Showcase snippets – A few sentences or short paragraph pulled from a trusted website that answers the searcher’s question without actually going to the website.

Video – Youtube videos that answer a query with appropriate clips ready to play.

Local Parcel – “…near me”, “…near” and “…in {enter city/town/state}” queries show business profile results displayed on a map. In mobile searches, it dominates the results.

Shopping – Products pulled from Google Merchant Center accounts that best match the search.

“People also ask” and “Related Searches” – Google generates related questions and provides answers in the form of featured snippets. It can appear in various places in the search results.

Composite sites – List sites like clutch.co for PR can provide great exposure and additional reviews/engagement with customers.

Social media – Brand searches can return your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles, increasing your brand exposure and leaving a route to your business if your site experiences problems. Tweets are also displayed as search results when relevant.

With 9 of these 10 result types being free, increasing your local SEO exposure on relevant searches is achievable for any business.

Adding a schema to a site can also improve your chances of being shown in these rich results. Schema is a type of structured data that makes it easier for a search engine to crawl a website and understand what information is valuable. Schema.org contains categories for local business scheme so they can code important information depending on what services or products the business offers. Other types of scheme properties that can improve visibility for local businesses are review, total rating, FAQ page, department and products.

Found outside of Google in 2023

Social media is quickly becoming a popular way to find businesses, products and services with younger audiences. In 2023, it will continue to grow exponentially. By maintaining profiles on popular platforms, (this is the important thing) that resonates with your target customersyou can be discovered, engaged and shared in multiple ways.

Are you already struggling to put out high quality content? Repurposing content to stay relevant has never been easier. Transcribe websites like Rev and Themes can turn video interviews into SEO-worthy long-form articles in minutes. Free podcasting app Anchor (from Spotify) can take any audio clips or videos, add a catchy ringtone, and distribute a freshly made podcast across 7+ platforms, all on a very easy-to-use interface.

2023 will be the year customers want to find you on YouTube on their TV, browse your rooms while browsing TikTok on their phone, make a reservation on your site on a tablet 2 days later and confirm their reservation on their smartwatch 2 months after that.

This is essential to ensure you #1 can be found and #2 provide a seamless, enjoyable, brand-elevating experience across all devices.

Are your digital marketing and local SEO strategies ready for 2023?

Do you have questions about how to take your strategy to the next level this year? Browse through us SEO case studies, check out our awardsand get in touch with our team of experts today.


Source link