Today we feature Craig Campbell’s seven answers to seven questions from our exhaustive local SEO expert Q&A featuring 56 answers from some of the top local SEO experts. Check it out below!
Q 1: What do you think are going to be the biggest changes in local search within the next year (2018) that small businesses should pay attention to?
A 1: It’s hard to predict what changes will be made it is obvious that Google is wanting to show local business hence the map positions having a prominent position and the searches becoming more localized. For local SEO I would always have a process of setting up my business listing, get local citations, get listed on local directories and get Google reviews which all go some way to helping you with your local SEO.
Q 2: If you were a small, local shop selling baked goods or beverages with limited time to work with your online marketing, what are the top three things you would focus on in order of importance?
A 2: Local SEO works really well and doesn’t require a huge budget, doing the basics, a basic website, some local SEO, Map Listing, some citations and even trying out some basic stuff on social media to raise your business profile in the local area is always a good place to start. Even doing some local Facebook advertising can be done on a very modest budget.
Q 3: With the increase in mobile device usage, what do you think restaurants and online retailers should be doing as a minimum in regards to local SEO?
A 3: It surprises me that given over 60% of people are using mobile devices when searching that websites out there are not mobile friendly, any online business should have a nice easy to navigate website with some local SEO if they want to get that exposure. If they don’t want to do the basics then the competition will and some good business can be generated from a little bit of local exposure. Do the basics and get a website that shows exactly what the business has to offer, as there will be searches going on and you want to be in front of those people.
Q 4: Do you think local SEO will get more or less important as time goes on?
A 4: For small businesses it is very important, people are very specific when they search and very often will add a location to their search term when looking for services. For example, if someone was looking for a “Roof Repair” they are likely to search for ” Roof Repairs & their location ” rather than simply Roof repairs.
So, I think people are becoming more specific with their searches and I feel that having that local exposure is only going to become more important as time goes on.
Q 5: How do you think the advancements in virtual reality will affect local businesses in search, if at all?
A 5: It’s hard to say at this stage how it will affect local businesses, but the way things are going there is always going to be integration with new technology and businesses will be able to show off their products or services using virtual reality. Even on a much smaller scale local businesses are showing off their premises by using Google 360 images, and I can only imagine that with virtual reality that we will be seeing more advanced ways of showcasing products, premises and whatever needs to be shown in much more detail.
And of course, that will always help as all of this new technology improves what we can see, so it will improve online sales which is the main purpose at the end of the day.
Q 6: Do you have any suggestions for in-house marketers to get buy-in on local SEO initiatives?
A 6: If an in-house marketing team was doing some local SEO there shouldn’t really be a cost, its time based so it really should not come down to budgets etc. There is no cost to get a map listing, it is completely free, this coupled with some local directories which are free and some local relevant links are all that’s required for some local SEO. It would always be the first steps when starting out getting some local traffic to the website.
Q 7: How important is Google My Business and Reviews as it relates to restaurants in local search?
A 7: My business is a massive part of local search and is one of the first things I would suggest someone does when setting up a small local business. Reviews are also important, mainly because people like to read reviews and seeing someone with 4 or 5 stars over someone who doesn’t is always likely to give a customer a good impression.
So it would help a consumer making a choice between your business and another, and there is also this debate as to whether there is a ranking signal from reviews, I’ve seen people claim they do also help your rankings in local search and Moz said it makes up 8% of the ranking signal for local search. It’s not a case of who gets the most reviews win, but I do firmly believe they do help you a little so you would want to try and get your customers doing them for you when you can.
Craig Campbell is a Glasgow-based SEO expert who has been doing SEO for 14 years. In this time he has gained extensive knowledge in the subject of SEO and has built up a wealth of experience in SEO and other digital marketing services.