2016 will be a year of change and a year of new technology adoption. Let's start with the changes. Over the past few years Google has made many changes that have tied organic and local rankings closer together and relying more on their traditional algorithm. This will have several implications for those trying to gain popularity in local search.
We'll see a leap forward in the ability of customer acquisition software & services for local small businesses to show they're making money for SMBs. This leap will be driven in large part by growing challenges & competitive pressure from Google, Amazon, and others who are trying to connect local service providers with in-market consumers.
In order to deliver passengers safely from Point A to Point B, location mapping services like Google, OpenStreetMap and Here need to form an alliance to share navigational data. The power of a combined dataset and resulting location datapoints will deliver a higher order of accuracy guaranteeing safe transportation while on vacation in the future.
Naturally, in the world of local information and discovery, there will be a continuous evolution of tools and data sets that help digital marketers and brands reach their audience. When I think about the growth we've seen recently in mobile technology and the spend migration to mobile by brands, agencies, and platforms, it’s obvious that mobile and local usage will continue to increase massively.
Successful Local SEO always presupposes a great mobile SEO strategy. The much discussed "Mobilegeddon" which hit Google's Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) in April of this year, has been quite a wake up call for webmasters and savvy SEOs alike.
When most marketers think of location and mobile devices, they think primarily of geofencing. Yet consumer location and location history offer much more than basic radius targeting. They represent new tools for insights into real-world consumer behavior and audience identification, based on shopping patterns, store visits and brand affinities.
Beacons are one of the most buzzed-about and least understood technologies to emerge in the past few years. Early adopters are already using beacons, but many other businesses are still trying to figure them out. We developed a comprehensive Beacon Marketing 101 guide that breaks down everything you need to know.
We will see Google drop "plus.google.com" URLs for local pages in 2016. Google already moved most things off Google Plus, but each business still has a Google+ URL, which is the URL that Google indexes and shows in the search results. I predict this will change to be something from Google Maps.
Buzzwords tend to have a short shelf life. In 2015, major retailers realized they had to connect their offline-and-offline customer services, including e-commerce, in-store pickup, social sharing, and mobile pay. Above all, stores needed to represent the “connected customer experience” via branded apps that would receive notifications and information via beacons.
2016 is will be dominated by more customer centric methods that many companies will utilize to create a better experience for their (potential) users. The times where it was enough to just be online, to have just a mobile friendly page are over. The diversity and redundancy of available products and services is enormous. The user has many more options than ever before