Navigating algorithm updates, platform changes, and new technology appear to be concerns for local marketers this year, according to the newest Local Search Industry Survey report from BrightLocal.
More than one-third (36%) of the 550 local marketers surveyed working in the field of local SEO say that reacting to algorithm updates is an important focus for their business and clients, while about 3 in 10 (28%) say voice search is an area of focus for their clients.
However, the most significant trends for the year appear to be those related to Google My Business. As Google rolls out updates to Google My Business, 60% agree the platform has improved in the past year, while only 11% disagree.
The Pages Experience Update to Google My Business, which will be in full effect by the end of the summer, is expected to play a significant role in local SEO, according to half of the marketers surveyed (49%). However, not everyone is optimistic about the updates. Some 36% say the platform has had more bugs in the past year, and more disagree (42%) than agree (25%) that Google My Business support has improved.
Google My Business optimization is one of the main SEO services offered today — 9 in 10 (91% of) local marketers currently offer it — and is even more popular than previously high-valued tactics. Where keyword research and link building were once considered the most effective SEO tactics, only 48% of local marketers surveyed are offering link building in 2021. What remains popular is content creation, which is offered by 8 in 10 (83% of) local marketers.
Not All Local Marketers Are Optimistic About Success
While marketers have long touted the effectiveness of SEO, with the updates to Google My Business and other platforms, not all local marketers are feeling confident about achieving success this year. In fact, close to 4 in 10 (37%) say it will be harder to achieve success in 2021, with 5% saying it will be much harder. Only one-quarter (26%) of local marketers say it will be easier to achieve SEO success this year.
You can read the full report here.
About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of 550 local marketers, 66% of whom are from the US.