Lauren Kaye

Local SEO is becoming more important for online visibility as smartphone users increasingly rely on mobile devices for web access. Search engines are also developing technology that can better discern which brand content is the best fit, based on proximity and relevance to on-the-go consumers. Marketers may be the weakest link in this equation because they still struggle with basic signals that impact their local search performance, according to data collected in Bright Local’s InsideLocal Webinar Series.

Around 62 percent said local SEO success is getting harder to achieve, but perceived challenges may be the result of weak strategies. Around one-third of marketers said the aspects they struggle most with are managing reputations and generating reviews.

There is no secret formula for building a stockpile of positive testimonials (aside from providing great service and delivering quality products), but brands can increase the likelihood of this outcome by first making it easy for patrons to leave remarks. Too often, companies hamper reviews in an effort to prevent negative responses from bubbling up. However, this precaution may be shooting local search strategies in the foot, as reviews are one the primary factors Google considers when ranking Google+ Local page results.

62 percent said local SEO success is getting harder to achieve.

If the search engine uses the same formula for organic web content, then it’s just as important that marketers establish a stockpile of reviews on their websites to rank highly in results. Brafton previously covered a Moz report, which showed marketers understand that reviews play a role in their local search success. But they may underestimate just how important it will be to invite customers’ feedback.

Marketers must encourage their target audiences’ reviews if they expect brands to thrive in a digital era that’s characterized more and more by transparency.