What Changes Google is going to do for Local SEO in 2021?

Time and tide wait for none! Agreed?



Similarly, trends that previously rocked the world might go into oblivion and replace with more robust, sturdy, and flavorful versions.



That’s why being an SEO professional, I strongly feel that all the businesses must catch up with some more competitive SEO trends that offer sustainable growth and development.



For example, the latest trend E.A.T in SEO has sparked interest in both SEO experts and users as it greatly increases ranking and authority.



Well, enough talk about general SEO! Let’s move forward to the local version now!



Today I am going to highlight some important changes Google has been rolling out for local SEO in 2021.



So, if you are an SEO expert, webmaster, or belong to an internet marketing industry, its time to hold tight, sit back, and enjoy a hot steaming cup of coffee as the trends I am going to unleash may surprise you a little today!






Google is changing fast and getting smarter, so be ready!



What is local SEO?


Before proceeding further with new Google changes, let me remind you a bit about local SEO!



Local SEO is mainly a process of optimizing a strong online presence so you can get in front of hundreds of local businesses looking for your help.



Let’s take an example to elaborate on my point further!



When you type ‘best SEO company in the US’, you may find that few top search results are dominated by 3 local listings on Google Maps, which are commonly known as “Snack Pack”.



Now below these local listings, you will find the list of other organic searches ranked accordingly. So, the main point of concern is, your website must position itself at the top of the “Snack Pack” because the websites that score the top 3 spots in local listings may get more than 35% of the clicks on search engines.



But the major headache for SEO experts like me and you, we also need to rank our websites in the organic searches since they also attract 50% of the local traffic.



Bottom line- it’s extremely preeminent to rank at both spots, and this is only achievable through local SEO tactics.



Do you know Google has around more than 85% market share in the US? This proves, most of the businesses are relying on Google for local searches.



This means, if Google updates or tweaks its search algorithms, you should be at the top of the trends for 2021 and onwards.



Google is going to update Google My Business listings in 2021


Who doesn’t say No to a better search experience?



Well, to offer excellence in search results, Google is going to make some drastic changes in Google my Business listings next year. When people search for local businesses, they believe that the information they are getting is accurate and updated.



Google implement changes gradually to offer more relevant searches when you type some queries like, ‘professional SEO company US’ or related.



However, some changes that I have witnessed in 2019 and 2020 are really making a big difference but they still need more polishing to have a win-win situation.



Here is a quick glance at the predictions I have tracked lately



  • When we sign in to Google My Business dashboard, we see pretty limited options in the insights section. We may check week, a month, or even quarter stats on that graph. But now it may possible that in 2021, Google start allowing us to customize things according to the date.They do have the same option in the API of GMB, but it still needs to make its way straight to the dashboard. Instead of regular monitoring, people will also be able to visualize all the data and information by month or weeks.


  • Addition of relevant questions and answers to Google my Business is also pending from last year with the coronavirus outbreak. During that critical situation, Google turned off its questions/answers section. Many businesses also complained that they are failed to see this on their dashboard, but the good news is, the addition of questions is expected to be back in 2021.


  • You couldn’t even publish new reviews in GMB listings, although it would be visible to your audience.


  • Google may continue to provide a ‘temporary closed’ option in the wake of Covid19. This could also result in a temporary drop in your rankings.


  • Nobody likes spamming. Especially for SEO experts, this sounds like a big failure to me. This is actually something that has plagued Google Maps so badly, for as long as I am dealing with my SEO clients.Now the frustrating thing is, to watch these spammers continuously trick Google over & over. But not now! Because Google is expected to devote multiple resources for repeated offenders.You must be surprised to know that, there is no such concept of penalties in the local SEO world. But the time is near when nobody can even think about gaming Google. So, don’t you dare deceive Google the next year!


COVID19 will have more rippled effects on local SEO in 2021


I know your head must be spinning right now to hear this, yeah mine too!


But we couldn’t do anything about it unless the world invents some vaccine to avoid more damage due to the corona outbreak. So, it’s almost impossible to predict any degree of certainty about its ending or solution.



According to Bill Gates“the end of the pandemic, best case, is probably 2022”.


This means, the year 2021 could still be expected to be worse due to this pandemic- which leads to the more rippled effects on local SEO especially on GMB.



Business owners will feel difficulty claiming new listings and they might not even reply to existing businesses.



It’s also possible to experience long delays in local SEO results as Google will be prioritizing healthcare searches as compared to random products and services.



It has also predicted that you may experience spikes in post rejections. Like if you are a brand selling different products, you may feel difficulty in getting new leads.



Because the world is going to be too busy to either sell or scroll healthcare tips and information to avoid Coronavirus affects, rather than buying new hits in the market.



The good news is, Google has also revised Google Maps. The step has taken to assist people in finding find routes, timing, and avoid crowds to offer safe traveling especially during COVID19.



Google Maps may freshen up its reminding alerts for all the people to verify their eligibility and guidelines regarding their facility to avoid being turned away or cause any damage to the local healthcare system.



Some other predictions may involve the increased use of online classes, video conferences, and much more to offer a better user experience.



Though there are no policies introduced so far from the Google professionals, but there are also some good elements advised to people; like listing their business temporary closed, updating hours of operation and the services they offer, sharing critical business updates and their effects due to corona and listing everything that can help users and business during this critical time.



They especially focused on keeping GMB updated because Google may roll out several features that can help small businesses. For instance, Google will be continuing allowing businesses to enter information directly to their name without any penalty.



Moreover, the shopping tab will also be updated that includes product availability and location details.


Say Goodbye to black hat SEO in 2021


If you are in favor of black hat techniques, don’t be mad at me for voting white hat SEO.



Because Google hates black hat SEO.



Remember, if you will try implementing these in 2021 for your site, Google will hate you too!



So, if you want to rank on competitive keywords, then it’s time to say Goodbye to a black hat, and be the BFF with white hat SEO without even getting worried about Google penalties.



For example, if Google detected that your business is relying on black hat SEO, then they may issue a very devastating penalty.



Yes, this is something very serious to think about!



When you receive such warnings and penalties from Google, your page rank will automatically get affected or even dropped to 0-2; in worst-case situations, you may delist from the search engines for even months or years.



Let me share with you some commonly used black hat techniques tried by the majority of businesses today! Because I really cared about your business, yes I really do!


  • PBNs– Private blog networks are also called link farms because these are high authority websites that are designed specifically for link generation. So, instead of using this, considering guest posting or outreach techniques is best to generate high-quality backlinks for your site.


  • Keyword stuffing Jamming the blog post with a lot of keywords is mainly called keyword stuffing which is definitely the most unfavorite technique of Google. To avoid doing this, following a proper keyword density is a more favorable trick to generate trust and credibility.


  • Content cloaking the best thing is, be honest with your readers. If you are using clickbait titles, like ‘5 tricks to earn online money’, and discussing a totally different subject in the article may trigger Google to note your activity and send warnings and signals.


  • Article duplication– Google hates websites that use article duplication trick to share their views. If you want to be loved by the search engines, create original and unique content, and give something valuable to your users to gain rewards from Google.


Concluding thoughts


Undoubtedly, we are living in the most tumultuous year due to the coronavirus outbreak in the entire world. We have a long road ahead and need to capitalize more to stay ahead of the curve.


People are getting smarter, but so is Google. If you try to trick search engines, you may face some worst consequences which is why the best part is, do your research, be informed about new changes and execute better plans of growth.


That’s why, being a part of the SEO industry, I think the most we can do is, to hope, discuss and predict the upcoming changes that might affect local SEO in 2021 and how we need to save our businesses from adverse effects.


What next?


If you want to learn how local SEO works for your website and how you can push your business listing up to another level, contact our team today and let us do the rest, as we are here to give the best advice tailored specifically for your business needs!


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