Mistakenly, many people believe that if they start a small local business or market, they won’t get much marketing use out of Google or other Internet marketing means. However, that’s terribly incorrect. The truth is, Google has an entire search result category and algorithm dedicated to small local businesses that are supposed to help people searching for certain services or products to find the needed brand more easily. Respectfully, there exists an SEO area dedicated to this category of search results and their optimization, called white label local SEO.
I’ll cover some main events that had a lot of impact on the Local SEO scene during 2017, as most of them can be easily extended to 2018 as well, so it will be informative to go through, no matter if the above information was news to you or not. Let’s dive right in.
Optimization for Mobile Users
Mobile optimization has been a closely inspected topic in SEO for much longer than just 2017 – however, the importance of catering to your mobile viewers got even more important in 2017, so it’s definitely worth mentioning.
According to a recent study, on average, almost 60% of search queries performed on mobile devices were made because the people wanted to find an instant solution of local character. This is because, logically, most people will prefer to use their computer or other immobile gadget at their homes, where they usually use Google for non-local research, which leaves mobile devices as their go-to method when they are outside and on the go, because they can’t resort to using their PCs to do the same.
The percentage share I mentioned is only expected to continue rising as mobile gadgets become more and more developed and the difference between mobile and non-portable devices becomes negligible for all but professional or gaming usage. That being said, designing your webpage to be mobile-friendly is crucial if you want to achieve the full potential of your brand and the local buying intent. Faster loading times and webpage designs that cater to the size of most mobile phone screens were more important than ever during 2017, and you can be sure it will only become more and more important as time goes on, so it’s definitely something to keep an eye on.
Google My Business Optimization
The more experienced SEO experts might be more familiar with the name “Google Places”, but it was changed. However, it still kept the same technology and interface – you add your business to the Google Maps and verify it, and you’re set and ready for other people who locally search for the products or services you offer to be able to see you.
Without it, you’re pretty much losing out on all of the marketing potential that white label SEO services has. But, of course, there are ways to optimize the Google My Business feature. First and foremost, the tip that can be given in almost any branch of marketing – don’t be lazy with the information you provide. Make sure the potential visitor can view all the information that he/she might want to find, such as where to find you, your working hours, the type of your business, any subcategories of your business, if there are any, as well as some more trivial information.
You can’t go overboard with this, because Google will select only the most relevant information and show it to the customer, so they won’t get lost in a bunch of text, and, on the other hand, every bit of information is a potential trigger that will make the viewer decide that he/she will actually visit your business. That being said, don’t go overboard with anything else – categories, your business profile picture, etc.
Too much information there is much more likely to only deter a potential customer rather than be an incentive. Finally, make sure to be consistent – use the same names and other information everywhere, so that the potential customer can easily find you on any other platforms or consult about the quality of your products or services directly from other people.
Wait times were added to the so-called “Knowledge Panel” that Google provides at the top of the search results when you search for a business. It’s based on information from anonymous reports that people have given if they were somewhere near your business.
It shows the average wait times during different periods of the day and is designed to allow the potential customers that aren’t completely familiar with the wait times at a certain business to decide when exactly would be an optimal time to pay a visit.
This is, obviously, a double-edged sword, especially for the business owners, since anyone can provide information about the wait times, and currently, there’s no way to check its validity, which means that there’s a chance the information a potential customer could be seen on the Knowledge Panel of your business is completely inaccurate and irrelevant.
Since the introduction of this new feature in November, Google hasn’t announced any updates regarding how it’s utilized or any plans on how the information will be regulated. However, seeing how Google dealt with similar issues in the past, it’s certain they’ll do something about this as well, so definitely be on the lookout for news about this as we keep going into 2018.
Colorized Google Maps Categories
Another new feature introduced by Google back in November was the new colors for Google maps. Unlike many previous and following changes that were geared towards mobile users and were usually designed and implemented exclusively for them, this new feature was and still is, available on PCs as well. Namely, a large number of colors were attached to different categories of business, such as Health, Shopping, Food/Drink, Entertainment, and so on.
This helps people that search for a specific type of business to find it more easily and prevents any issues they might have with names that are in one way or another ambiguous or otherwise aren’t fully related to the category of business they have on Google Maps.
This made selecting the right category for your local business even more important, as that will make sure that a larger number of clients that are really interested in your line of business can learn about it and contact you more easily.
As per usual, Google is sure to further develop this feature and will likely include more similar features for other information about your business, other than the category, making it that much more important to present information that is completely accurate.
Making Appointments Directly from Search Results
Google paired up with several booking providers to implement this feature. As the title implies, as of late October, you can book an appointment with a local business directly from the search results page.
If you’re the owner of a local business, all you need to do is pick a provider and connect your Google Bookings account. This will make things a lot easier for potential clients, since now they won’t need to travel all the way to your business, but rather make an appointment from the comfort of their home. This is very important and makes a huge impact on whether a potential client will become an actual client, because the time needed to access information (or, in this case, make an appointment), plays a crucial role in whether or not someone will actually become interested.
Therefore, not requiring a large amount of time to be spent in order to make an appointment can make the deciding difference in the mind of a potential client and make him/her decide to still request your products or services. Although, you should note that this feature is currently only available in the USA, due to the fact that Google hasn’t made any other partnerships with other booking providers. This can be a real downer for the majority of business owners who have their businesses outside the USA, since it’s a great feature that can help them a lot, but, if that’s the case, you shouldn’t worry too much.
Google has always strived to make a global presence and it will continue to strive in that direction in the future as well, so you can expect it to partner with other booking providers in different countries around the world and allow for this same feature to be utilized in other places. Most likely, this will first become available in developed countries that have a well-developed network of online businesses, such as the UK or Japan, since it’s most needed there, but you can expect it to reach most of the world during 2018, which is just another reason to keep an eye on this feature during the following year as well.
If you are looking for a white label digital marketing agency then you can contact Digital Marketing Blueprint. We offer our services with proper skills and experience.