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In addition to using organic tricks, around 80% of local marketers are buying ads on Google. This figure is almost 10% more than last year, as revealed by a MOZ survey of 1,300 local marketing agencies, small businesses, and multi-location enterprises.

The survey also included questions regarding the impact of COVID-19 on marketing budgets. A majority of them (70%+) said they were dealing with cuts. However, 74% “believe that business-as-usual will return within a year of safety orders being lifted.” While local link building was somewhere in between, paid media; social; and localized web content were cut more often than SEO.

When marketers were asked about the SERP feature they were most focused on, the results were as follows:

  1. Featured Snippets
  2. Local Packs
  3. Google Business Profile
  4. No SERP feature strategy

Consistent with the zero-click narrative, 77% of respondents said they agreed with the statement that Google Business Profiles are “the new homepage” for local businesses.

Here, you can see a local link building strategy with the highest ROI.

Moz State of Local SEO Industry

Image Source: blog.google/products/maps/now-sending-business-messages-google-maps-and-search/

These are the Top Local SEO Tricks where marketers wanted to invest more.

  1. Local link building – 18%
  2. Local content development – 15%
  3. On-site optimization – 13%
  4. Technical analysis of ranking/traffic/conversions – 9%
  5. Website design – 8%
  6. Review management – 7%
  7. Social media – 6%
  8. Email marketing – 5%
  9. Technical needs – 4%
  10. Schema – 4%

As observed in the study, highly competitive industries such as automotive, real estate, and legal were “clamoring the loudest for devoted link building resources.” The top items on the local SEO tactical wish list for enterprises by comparison were:

  1. Review management – 13.9%
  2. Local content development – 13.2%
  3. On-site optimization – 13.2%
  4. Local link building – 11.1%
  5. Technical analysis for ranking/traffic/conversions – 10.4%
  6. Website design – 9%
  7. Schema – 5.6%
  8. Other Google Business Profile features management – 5.6%
  9. Technical needs – 4.2%
  10. Social media – 3.5%

When it comes to link building, content development; direct requests; and sponsorships were the top 3 strategies with the highest ROI, as per the survey.

3/4th of respondents said they believe the “use of Google My Business profile features (e.g., Posts, Q&A) impacts rankings in the local pack,” which is partly true. Although some elements of GMB do impact local rankings, the local SEO consensus is that posts and Q&A do not. Reviews and photos, by comparison, do have an impact.

When asked about where local SEO resides within the organization, around 48% of the time it was located in the marketing department. Alternatively, it fell under the control of the business owner.

  1. Account Managers – 15%
  2. Webmasters – 9.1%
  3. IT Department – 6.6%
  4. Other groups – 3.4%

Most local marketers (68%) reported that they were using 2-5 local SEO tools, while 12% were using six or more. 20% used either none or one.

Local SEO is an essential part of digital marketing for the majority of U.S. businesses with a physical presence or service area. If you are looking to optimize your local presence, get in touch with our experienced personnel for assistance.