In addition to organic tactics, almost 80% of local marketers are purchasing ads on Google. According to a recent survey of 1,300 local marketing agencies, small businesses (SMBs) and multi-location enterprises from Moz, this is 10% more than last year.

A wide range of questions were asked in the survey, including the impact of COVID-19 on marketing budgets. Over 70% said that they were dealing with cuts, though “74% believe that business-as-usual will return within a year of safety orders being lifted.” Paid media, social and localized web content were more often cut than SEO, though local link building was in the middle of the list.

When asked about which SERP features that they focused on the most, they said:

  1. Featured snippets
  2. Local packs
  3. Google Business Profile
  4. “We don’t have a SERP feature strategy.”

77% of respondents said that they agreed with the statement that Google (Business Profiles) are “the new homepage” for local businesses.

The top local SEO tactics where marketers wanted to invest more included:

  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%

What Moz saw was highly competitive industries were “clamoring the loudest for devoted link building resources.” For enterprises, the top item on the local SEO tactical wish listed included:

  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%

Regarding link building, the top three strategies with the highest ROI included ent development, direct requests and sponsorships.

Three quarters of respondents felt that “use of Google My Business profile features (e.g., PostsQ&A) impacts rankings in the local pack.” Although there are elements of GMB that do indeed local rankings, the local SEO consensus is that Posts and Q&A do not impact local rankings. What does have an impact, by comparison, are reviews and photos.

When businesses were asked where local SEO resides within the organization, 48% of the time, it was located in the marketing department.

Alternatively, it was controlled by:

  • The business owner (15%)
  • Account managers (9.1)
  • Webmaster (6.6%)
  • IT department (3.4%)
  • Other groups

68% of local marketers said that they used two to five local SEO tools. 12% used six or more, and 20% used either none or one.

SourceGreg Sterling