With the holidays and 2018 officially behind us, you want to make sure that you start 2019 on the right foot. And for many businesses, starting off on the right foot means bringing in foot traffic. As we kick start 2019, there are some very valuable local search lessons that can inform better, more successful local search initiatives.

Resolution 1: Invest In Your Google My Business Listings

In the last couple of years, Google My Business (GMB) has mattered more and more to local search, and this year is no different. According to a recent Moz survey around what factors weigh most for local search rank, many businesses are experiencing positive effects from investing the time and energy into building out their GMB profiles fully and trying out new features. For instance, by utilizing Google Posts, Google Q&A, service fields, and posting images and videos, businesses are seeing increases in engagement. Those increases in engagement signal to Google that the business owner is creating new content and updating their listing, which in result improves their rank.

Bonus: Google Adwords rolled out Local Search Ads in 2018. Even if you don’t yet have high local search rankings organically, you can pay for better placement.

Google My Business Listing

Resolution 2: Create a Review Acquisition Strategy

One crucial local search take away going into 2019 is the importance of a review acquisition strategy. We’re seeing that when it comes to local reviews, having a high rating isn’t enough. And according to an article from Search Engine Land, users are looking for quantity and recency, expecting to see at least 40 reviews and disregarding reviews that are more than 3 months old. That means that you’ll want to make sure you have new reviews rolling in on a consistent basis.

Resolution 3: Acquire Links from Community and Industry Sites

Another area to invest in for your local strategy is acquiring links. By focusing on local sites and also industry-specific sites, you can acquire sponsorships and these links can go a long way. Many businesses find that links have made the difference when it comes to outranking their competitors. So creating a content partnership strategy or partaking in community/industry sites will benefit your local ranking tremendously.

Final Thoughts

One of the most compelling takeaways from the Moz local search study and Moz’s Darren Shaw’s insights is that businesses should start treating search engine ranking placements like their homepage. Google is answering more and more questions within the results to keep users on Google and not navigating to your site. For that reason, make sure you have a complete Google My Business listing, as Google often pulls information from your business listing for the knowledge panel.

Local Organic Ranking Factors Pie Chart - 2018

Reference: Moz’s Local Search Rankings Survey https://moz.com/local-search-ranking-factors