Local SEO optimization is not just about local shops owned by grandma and grandpa anymore. In fact, no matter what business you’re running, you can certainly take advantage of local SEO benefits. In 2014, Google released the Pigeon update which affected the importance of local SEO and made a lot of entrepreneurs think twice when it comes to coming up with an SEO strategy for their business that would get them the results they’re looking for. Others, who already used local SEO, saw the update as an opportunity to double down on their SEO efforts.

Due to the fact local SEO’s importance has greatly increased, these moves are savvy, yet things are continuing to change. In fact, in the next few years local SEO is going to become even more important for businessesand here is why.

Google loves local businesses

In the last few years, it seems that Google wasn’t shy to let everyone know that they do like smaller, newer and also more even though Google’s ranking bias generally has to do with a brand’s authority and history, the search engine giant also wants to make sure people get what they want and that usually means showcasing more popular and nimbler brands.

Furthermore, it also has to do with allowing small business owners who don’t have too many resources, more breathing space in breaking new ground. Google is very well known for providing a wide range of free tools to new businesses, including Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics and more in order to help them become more visible online. Given the fact that local businesses is something Google simply adores, one can only imagine that the Pigeon update is only one of the many of this type that are going to be announced.

There will be more individualized results.

When it comes to individualized results, Google loves giving them to its users. While presently it’s customized and predictive search are limited, the search engine can already provide users with results based on their search history. If you’re logged into your Google account, then your geographic location and history are going to influence the results you get.

Google continues to evolve and with it, its users’ demands become even more individualized, so this means that the importance of local optimization is only going to increase.

The growth of wearable and mobile devices

Every year, the number of mobile searches increases a lot and as you may imagine, people search for information on the go. Since more and more wearables are being released, on the go searches are also going to become even more frequent with a lot more immediate needs.

Because of that, proximity based searches are going to be the norm soon and when it comes to local searches, they’re going to be based on extremely specific locations instead of a neighborhood or regional specific basis. In fact, wearable devices are going to easily remove a lot of barriers between the physical and digital world and therefore lead to a more geographically relevant info matrix.

Competition is on the rise

On a yearly basis, thousands of businesses turn into amazing enterprises and millions of new websites are created. The result of this though is that in many areas potential search visibility is dropping a lot, especially because search engine results are taken over by features like the Knowledge Graph.

Competition is on the rise, which means that current businesses will be forced to focus on locating smaller target niches in order to become even more visible online. The best way to do this though is to ensure they optimize locally, so local search engine optimization’s importance is only going to get stronger if the competition increases.

Getting started with a local SEO campaign

If you plan on optimizing locally and things it’s hard, then don’t worry about it. This is a very simple process, but it does take a while to get it right.

Local citation correction

One of the first things you need to make sure is that your job is properly and accurately listed throughout the internet. Be sure to also review websites such as TripAdvisor, Yelp and don’t forget that claiming your local business profile on local directories is also essential.

Also, your business info needs to be correct, especially your phone number, address and name. They have to be formatted properly and be accurate and that’s because if Google notices that there’s even the smallest discrepancy between 2 separate sources, then this could negatively affect your local authority.

Relationship building and local content

After your info is in place and double checked for accuracy, you need to start optimizing your external links and content for local relevance. When it comes to doing so for articles, it’s actually very simple and you just need to include your neighborhood, region and city name in the articles you post on your blog and ensure that the content is highly relevant for your specific location.

Local info article and events are ideal opportunities for this. Posting on local external blogs is also recommended and don’t forget to do everything you can in order to publish press releases on local news outlets.

Local reviews and ongoing management.

Last but not least, it’s very important that you try to encourage your clients to post reviews about your business on the popular review sites online and also on Yelp. Soliciting these reviews or buying them is not a good idea, but you could actually persuade your clients to leave reviews on these websites. Increasing the number of positive reviews about your business should be one of your most important goals, so make sure you focus on it.

Well, that’s about it. If you don’t have a nationally established and dominant presence on the popular search engines already that no newcomer can ever touch or you lack a physical location, then you should certainly consider using local SEO. Just make sure to use a consistent strategy and soon enough your efforts are going to get you the results you’re looking for.