You might already have addressed the basics such as ensuring your GMB includes NAPWCHD, has photos, and a description. Take it a step further by leveraging the latest GMB attributes, categories, and Google Posts. It’s also a great time to enable the messaging feature within GMB.
Over time, messaging and chatbots have quickly become the preferred method of communication between businesses and customers. Customers don’t like to wait around for their inquiries whether it’s through phone, email, chatbots, or social media. Allowing your customers to message you directly on GMB will help you connect with them quickly and directly. These features are all ways that you can attract more consumers and drive engagement.
#2 – Reviews Are Just as Important for Local SEO as Brand Reputation
In 2015, review signals accounted only for 10.8% of ranking importance. In 2020, reviews now make up 16% of the local ranking factors making it the second most important factor. The top three factors for review signals are keywords in native reviews, your star rating, and the number of reviews with text.
Reviews are a direct reflection of your brand’s reputation and show Google if your business is trustworthy, has authority, and is relevant. Responding to reviews also gives your brand an additional opportunity to engage with your customers and understand consumer sentiment. Whether your team is utilizing a review management tool or manually responding to reviews, the following tips will help strengthen your review management strategy.
Focus on tier 1 directories and industry-specific review networks – Responding to reviews on top review sites like Yelp, Facebook, and Google is a must. In addition to industry-specific review sites, this is where your consumers are going when determining if they want to purchase from your business.
Create review responding templates – Having review responding templates on hand can save your team a lot of time and resources. Build review response templates for several types of reviews like positive reviews, negative reviews, COVID-19 reviews, and more. From there, you can tailor the review response to address each specific review.
Scan reviews for deeper insight – Your business has most likely implemented changes and tools to overcome challenges from COVID-19. Reviews are where your business should look to first to see if these new operational changes are working for your customers. Leveraging a tool like our Pulse can help your brand identify trending customer service issues and address them quickly before it becomes a larger issue.
#3 – COVID-19 has Accelerated the Voice Search Timeline
Voice assistants were already gaining traction with consumers before COVID-19, but the pandemic accelerated the touch to talk shift even more quickly. 76% of these smart speaker owners are also making local searches weekly. Some of the new ways in which consumers are leveraging voice technology today are for contactless deliveries, coronavirus related queries, and shopping experiences.
Unlike desktop queries, which display one page of search, voice assistants will only pull 1-3 results. Businesses will need to be prepared in 2021 with an optimized voice engine optimization (VEO) strategy in order to rank #1. If you want to attract purchase-ready consumers who are using voice assistants, you need to put yourself in the shoes of a voice assistant user. Typically these consumers are looking for answers on the go and asking their voice assistant conversational questions like:
- “Hey, Siri, which restaurant near me offers contactless deliveries?”
- “What’s the closest store with in-store shopping for kitchen appliances?”
Center your content strategy around conversational phrases, long-tail keywords, and the right keywords that address how voice assistant users are asking questions. You can use this voice-friendly content to create FAQ pages on your website and local pages to rank for featured snippets.
#4 – Keep a Close Eye on Apple Maps
Have you heard about the new Apple Maps? Apple Maps recently revamped its mapping application with features like a share ETA button, an interactive map, and 3D renderings. Their largest update includes their own ratings and reviews system. In the past, Apple has relied on third-party integrations like Foursquare, Yelp, and TripAdvisor as a source for reviews and photos for its users.