How companies can adapt to Google’s local SEO changes

The events of 2020 have changed both the way local businesses operate and Google’s search results. We have now reached the end of 2021 and do not yet know exactly what the future holds. What is certain, however, is that while these changes were intended to simplify search for consumers, many businesses were caught unprepared and lost their visibility on Google. Very indecisive about how they could win them back. The sudden setback confused many who thought they were pursuing a mature SEO strategy.

Local marketers are at the forefront of these SERP updates, helping their clients adapt to the changes in features like Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) and Google Maps. However, the differences in these updates have not escaped the attention of local marketing professionals.

As usual, Google is changing the layout and testing new things. So this is not surprising for SEO. Not a moment goes by without a new update or at least the speculation of one. Especially small things that Google likes to test from time to time for a short time do not escape the experts’ attention and are relatively common. Instead, SEO experts are more interested in which areas are changing and what this means for the future. For example, the changes to the ratings and the knowledge area.

To help local businesses and their accompanying SEOs to navigate these developments, other search engine optimization experts provide local SEOs with the following strategies.

Improve the quality of local ratings

In the meantime, Google has made a change in which the ratings are now grouped by topic. This update is one of those mentioned in the timeline. This allows companies and local SEOs to recognize directly that there is a new badge for the equally new ratings.

Google also seems to be reorganizing the display of third-party reviews. This means that third-party ratings will continue to be important, if not more so, as Google will display them in the Knowledge section. Reviews of these third parties are therefore displayed in the organic search results. For this reason, it is essential to find out where you stand as a company.

Topics, sources, relevance and topicality of the posts play an important role in the ranking by the local algorithm. Marketers should know where their clientele stands on each of these factors and help them facilitate the creation of high-quality reviews. This step already creates a fundamentally positive change in the ranking.

Editing the knowledge database with the help of on- and off-site sources

The term “knowledge database” means something to all of you. Here too, Google is in the process of fundamentally revising its local knowledge database. It seems to be developing into a separate entity that contains a lot of data from third-party providers. This means that more information from your customers’ panel could come from sources that you don’t have access to.

This raises the question of how we can optimize what is clearly beyond our personal control. Here, too, we can sometimes influence what data Google ultimately uses.

Therefore, we recommend SEOs and companies to check whether their panels contain inaccurate data from the following sources on the internet:

On-site sources

– Scheme

– Website content

– Robot instructions

– Completion of the Google business profile

Off-site sources

– Industry websites

– Reviews from third parties

– Google reviews

Make corrections to your data sources and, if possible, test the appearance of your knowledge base. Even if the corrections seem small, Google can still find the new information if the changes are made by you in one of these key areas.

Adapting to the mobile SERP changes

Business information is not the only thing that is changing in this “local landscape” of the internet; the layouts of mobile SERPs are also changing. Although marketers in the SEO space know this is happening, SERPs have started to change more frequently – and not always for the better.

We would like to point out a case in which a customer’s local panels have lost some important information due to Google’s changes. For example, one customer was affected by the change, whose website links were only not displayed on his cell phone when searching in his city; everywhere else in the world everything was fine. A confusing case that sometimes causes headaches even for the most professional marketers.

Fixing such local SERP issues can seem complicated, but SEOs can use insights from competitor analysis to determine the best course of action. In the client’s case, work was done to update the client’s local panels to include all the elements that competitors had been using.

It should be noted that Google often experiments with local results, which can lead to temporary changes in the display in the SERPs. These do not have to be permanent, but they do provide the odd temporary shock. Especially if you notice the problem immediately and fear for your rankings. Many website operators are often unaware of the changes, as they can be so short.

Further progress in local SEO

Google will continue to focus on online reputation and customer opinion. We would therefore like to show what we think companies, their marketing experts – and SEOs in particular – should expect from local SERPs in the future. If customers address these focal points, they can make their campaigns future-proof in the long term.

These changes to local SERPs, combined with the increase in features focused on buying products and booking appointments, require marketers to be more adaptable. But if Google provides usable data along the way, companies can be sure that they are equipped for future developments.

As SEOs, we would be delighted if Google’s insights for companies became even better. A very good way to implement this would be to include trends, user experiences and customer experiences in the company panel, for example. This would enable companies and SEOs to take a closer look at this data, evaluate it and make changes accordingly for their own company or customers.

Until then, search engine optimizers need to act on these tips to help companies rank in times like these and in the future. But SEO experts wouldn’t be SEO experts if they didn’t have a suitable solution at hand.

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