Local SEO is ever-changing, and no year proved this more than 2018. With the explosion of the latest Google My Business features to realization that business reviews drive results, this past year kept all SEO companies and local small businesses on their toes. Below, we review what we learned in 2018, as well as what we can expect for 2019 and beyond, and how this can help your small business SEO.

Google My Business and the Impact on Local SEO

If you haven't taken advantage of everything that Google My Business has to offer, then you may see your local SEO results and local map results start to slip a bit compared to your local competitors. From services and descriptions, to Google Posts, and Google Q&A, there's lots of new features in the Google My Business platform that can help a small business like yours.

Google Posts

One of the simplest resources you can take advantage of with minimal effort is the Google Posts feature. Lots of local SEO companies, as well as small businesses, have reported an increase in local search traffic after posting in Google Posts. However, engagement may play a role in rankings, so be sure to put out engaging content that attracts users. For our team, as local Fort Lauderdale SEO company, we do our best to keep our clients reminded about the benefits of continuing to post through Google My Business.

Google Q&A

Did you know that most small businesses and many Google My Business users don't even know about Google Q&A? If you want an immediate leg-up on your local competition, it's a good idea to start adding content to this feature.

Google Photos and Video

Photos and video have been, and will continue to have an impact on local SEO results. So be sure to continue, or start, posting both on Google My Business.

Leave No Blanks

Be sure that your Google My Business profile is filled out as best possible and that you take advantage of every open field in the platform. If you're one of those small businesses owners that hasn't logged into your Google My Business dashboard in a few years, you'll be pleasantly surprised at what's been added. There’re plenty of new fields for you to populate. Any information that you can add to Google My Business will increase the likelihood that you'll engage your users. So, take advantage!

Reviews Drive Business and Results

Reviews continue to drive local results, so do your best to gather as many positive, legit reviews as possible. Your competition is likely doing the same, so you don't want to get left behind.

Keywords in Reviews

On the topic of reviews, let's quickly chat about keywords in your reviews. If you ask for reviews from your clients and customers, be sure to ask them to note what service or product they are reviewing, as this will help your review become more relevant.

Respond to Reviews

Did you know that users are notified when a business owner responds to their reviews? Responding to reviews will not only notify Google that you're an engaged Google My Business user, but your customers will appreciate this as well and may return for another visit because of your response.

Build Local Links

Continue to build links beyond local citations. Most small businesses rely solely on citations for organic and local results, so only a few backlinks can really benefit a local business, especially in a less competitive geographical area.

In Summary

In 2019, Google will no doubt keep local SEO consultants and local small businesses on their toes. It's not a bad thing, as it keeps the playing field level and ensures white hat strategies are given the benefit.

Author's Bio: 

SEO Pro and Internet Marketing Consultant, Writer, and Enthusiast.