When it comes to rapidly evolving industries, few can top the speed at which Search Engine Optimization methods change based on updates from Google’s algorithm. Local SEO trends are fast paced and dynamic, requiring diligent efforts to ensure your web presence reflects the 2023 Google algorithm and searcher demands.
At Dynamic SEO, our team stays up-to-date on the latest local SEO trends to ensure your business dominates the Google search results and acquires more customers.
In this article, we look at the top local SEO trends in 2023, including the following key points:
- Top factors for ranking on Google in 2023
- Troubleshooting & avoiding SEO pitfalls
- Tips to optimize each component of your SEO
When you finish reading, you’ll be ready to tackle the SEO demands of 2023 and start or continue dominating local Google search results.
Here we go.
1. Fast Loading Websites
Nothing could be worse than working hard to rank #1 on Google only to have a user click away because your site took forever to load. When potential customers click your business website, a fast loading speed is an absolute must.
Furthermore, a slow-loading website will hurt your ability to rank well on Google in the first place.
In 2023, every local business who wants a strong web presence needs a fast loading website
How fast does my website need to load?
Overall, 1-2 seconds is a good ballpark load speed for a fast website.
While many cooker-cutter web design solutions may initially load quickly, here is the catch.
As you add text, photos, videos, and other content that you’ll need to have an engaging, useful, and Google-optimized site, the more important it is to optimize each component, from individual image size to the code required to run the page.
With this in mind, if you are serious about ranking your business on Google, having a properly built website for fast loading speeds is an absolute must.
Checking your website load speed
If your website has been around for a while, you can typically check the load speed from within your Google Search Console.
For newer websites or for those who do not have Google Search Console set up, the PageSpeed Insights tool is a great way to view your current load speed on desktop and mobile.
Improving your website load speed
When it comes to actually speeding up your website, there are a few options on the table.
Diagnose slow web pages
If you run a PageSpeed Insights report, you will get a list of potential causes for your slow load speed. Unfortunately, if you don’t have web development experience, some of the items can be difficult to address on your own.
With serious load speed issues, its best to speak with web developer with SEO experience to flush out the technical aspects of your slow loading website.
Minimize image sizes
Regardless of your website load speed or technical expertise, ensuring images are as reduced as possible while giving enough visual quality to the user is a best practice when it comes to keeping your website load speed around 1 second.
Keep it simple
While there is a time and place for flashy widgets on your website, generally speaking, simpler website designs are better for ranking on Google. If you plug in a competitive search term into Google, you will likely find the top results are fairly straightforward pages with straightforward header, readable text, relevant images, and potentially not a whole lot else.
The reason for this is simple. Animations and other dynamic elements require additional code to display properly, which can drag down the site load speed.
2. Useful, Relevant Content
Content refers to the images, text, and video on your website. This includes the text and images on your home page, about page, and other main pages as well as your blog or FAQ section. The following are a few methods to improve your web content.
Add a business-relevant blog
For small business, consider adding a blog section to your local business website dedicated to answering common customer queries in blog post format. Your content should be tailored around keyword research for your business.
Essentially, you want to find out the specific terms that customers Google when trying to find a solution to their problem that your business can solve. From there, you need to create useful and engaging content based on those researched keywords.
This type of business-relevant blogging is a powerful way to improve your rankings on Google for additional keywords and show prospective customers that you and your business truly are the experts in your field.
You can see the blog section below for one of our Brazilian Jiu Jitsu marketing clients.
Use images of your business in action
Customers and Google want to see images of your actual business in action when they check out your website.
For some businesses such as restaurants, getting photos of your business store front, prime-time packed dining area, plated food, and mixed drinks are all great examples of “your business in action.”
For business such as legal services, having photos of your team and staff on a crisp, corporate-themed website is a great way to build trust with prospects. Top it off with a photo of your office-front, signage, and a clear photo of your team in action around a table or working on files and your website will stand out from the others.
Even photos of the business owner meeting with clients can be a great way to display to prospects that your company deserves their business.
3. Google Business Profile Optimization
Local search results for business are different than global queries. When Google detects a term such as “near me” or “in [city],” you will get a localized result.
In terms of ranking your business on the local results and “Map Pack,” having a fully optimized Google Business Profile is vital. The following are a few key steps to make sure your business profile is optimized.
Fill out all descriptions and categories using business keywords
If you’ve done proper keyword research to guide your website content, then you should be ready to fill out your Google Business Profile (GBP).
Describe your company in professional terms, aiming to get all the service-related keywords cleanly in the description.
Use the services section of your GBP interface and be sure to check off the relevant services your offer. However, avoid checking services you don’t technically have in an attempt to get a wider reach. Disappointing customers by making them think you offer what they need when you don’t is a losing SEO strategy.
Post Relevant Photos
Just as with your website photo selection, your GBP should be a hub for photos of your business. Ideally, you should regularly be posting new photos of your business in action. These can be posted directly in the photos section of your GBP, but can also be used for an GBP post that includes keyword-rich text and a call-to-action, similar to a social media post.
Don’t Ignore Q&A
The Google Business Q&A section is an excellent place to answer customer questions in short form. Customers can ask questions themselves, but you can also post and answer questions as the business owner to preemptively reach your customers and further boost your local rankings.
Questions can be keyword-focused topical questions that are similar to the type of questions you might answer on your blog, but the GBP answers will be much shorter (usually 50 words or less).
The questions can also be basic operational information such as “are you open on Sunday?” or “is the facility wheelchair accessible?”
Generally, we don’t see a downside to having too many FAQs on your GBP, although you want to make sure they aren’t repetitive or spammy. Additionally, be sure to include keywords in any questions and answers you post. Finally, never let a customer question go unanswered.
4. Customer Reviews are Supreme
Anyone can post content online claiming whatever they want. However, when it comes to sorting the good and bad apples to make a purchase decision, real customer reviews are digital gold for your business.
Get more reviews
With the FTC cracking down on fake reviews, there really is no workaround for delivering premium service that garners your customer’s respect. Furthermore, the Google algorithm places a massive weight on customer reviews.
With that in mind, you need to add systems to your business for asking customers for a review. You need to make it very simple and straightforward to review your business. One good method is to include a QR code at checkout that customers can scan and immediately leave a review from their mobile device.
Additionally, we recommend incentivizing a review by offering a coupon or other discount to customers who review your business.
Just be sure to ask for an “honest review” not a “5-star review.”
Pro tip: if you think a customer is pissed off at you or your business, you should not ask them for a review before attempting to resolve the issue.
Respond to reviews
Responding to positive reviews by thanking the customer or to negative reviews by attempting to solve the problem is another factor that can provide a minor boost to rankings and show potential buyers you care invested in your customer satisfaction.
5. Mobile Search vs Desktop Search
Mobile search is a growing percentage of total Google searches. Reports over the last few years vary, but overall, around 50 percent of web traffic comes from mobile search.
For local SEO, mobile search optimization should be a top priority, since nearby searchers are highly likely to be using mobile devices.
How to optimize local SEO for mobile search
Optimizing for mobile means ensuring your web layout looks good when viewed on a smartphone, so be sure you are using a mobile preview when finalizing your web design.
It also means running PageSpeed insights or similar apps on both the mobile and desktop audit, since these results are not going to be the same. In our experience, a good mobile web speed score usually translates to a good desktop score, but the reverse is not always true.
Additionally, keeping images smaller helps speed up mobile load speed and also has the benefit that smaller images still look good on mobile compared to desktop.
6. Location Matters, A Lot
There are tons of factors that affect where your business lands on the local search results.
While many of them can be improved through an effective SEO strategy, there are several that cannot.
In particular, your geographical location relative to the searcher is an important factor for whether you show up as a nearby result. This has major implications when combined with mobile search.
The exact geographic position will change the local results page, so even customers searching from a few blocks away can drastically affect which business show up first.
How to deal with location issues for local SEO
Unfortunately, there is really nothing you can do to influence this since presumably your location or service area does not change (and if it does, that’s an even bigger headache for local SEO).
However, we do want to mention the importance of searcher location vs business location since it plays a big role in who shows up on the Map Pack results.
The key takeaway from this is that if you search for your business from a close proximity and your GBP does not show up, you likely need to do some serious SEO work since your nearby location isn’t enough to push you up on the Google results.
If you notice a competitor whose location is further away than your location outranking you, it’s time to start investing in SEO.
The Bottom Line
The great news about the coming 2023 Local SEO trends is that they will ultimately favor quality businesses who invest in their customer experience and a quality, white-hat SEO strategy.
From emphasizing quality content to giving more credit to businesses garnering customer reviews, Google is sorting the wheat from the chafe in terms of who gets to show up on the local SEO results.With a comprehensive local SEO strategy from Dynamic SEO, you will have a professional team of experts handling all aspects of SEO so you can focus on what you do best – running your business and serving your customers.