The Top4 Ways to Dominate Local Search In 2020

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Local marketing is a game of attention. As new platforms, devices, tools and techniques come and go, the attention will continue to shift. Google continues to evolve, and so should you. Frankly, local search no longer works as it did back in the 2010s… yet many so-called SEO experts still haven’t gotten over their decade-old ways.

As we enter this new decade, and now a post-COVID world, it’s important that you’re up to speed with the latest tactics to promote your website and business online. It’s time to kiss old habits goodbye.

Here are our Top4 ways to dominate the local search like it’s 2020. Cause, you know, it’s no longer 2010.


1. Local Search Should be the Central to Your Digital Success

Previously, we have dedicated an article which highlights the importance of local marketing. Sadly, a recent study by SOCi suggests that 61% of 154 multi-location brands still call local digital marketing “a largely untapped opportunity.”

For big brands, local marketing is easier today than it has ever been. After all, 2010 was the era of awful content management systems and a much more fragmented local search ecosystem. However, the same cannot be said for small businesses. Despite what’s at stake, many still view the local search world as it was in 2010: a mistake which could cost them more than they could afford.

If your business hasn’t been focusing on local marketing, trust us, the sooner you do, the better.


2. Traditional Citations are Irrelevant

In the early pre-mobile days, the landscape of sites that drove consumer eyeballs (and authority in Google’s algorithm) was vast. You needed a widely-distributed presence because the long tail still drove a significant number of customers to your business. And your Google Places listing earned a significant amount of ranking potential via these citations of your business.

Unfortunately, it’s now 2020, and Google My Business has eaten the long tail of local search.

Even from the very beginning, two things made a citation “count” towards your local rankings:

  1. could Google associate the mention of your business on a third-party site with its own business index? and
  2. was the site on which you were mentioned authoritative enough for keywords that you hoped to rank for such that it would convey some of that authority to your business?

In the early days of local search, there just weren’t that many vertical sites that had built a significant amount of authority — Google’s algorithm was skewed towards large horizontal Internet Yellow Pages style directories (which still keep some doors open).

Yellow Pages - Top4 Marketing

However, two things have happened in the last 10 years: new players such as have begun to dominate the organic local results, and the old Internet Yellow Pages directories are basically out of business.

So, it is saddening that so many small businesses and so many brands, continue to pay such a premium for listing management. Many appear to be doing so for the wrong reasons. Of course, listing management itself is not worthless; however, it’s critical that you choose carefully where to list your business.

To be as clear as possible:

Consistency of citations will no longer help you rank better in Google, except on the extreme margins.

Google’s entity recognition is light years ahead of where it was in 2010. Stop worrying about exact business name matches, suite numbers, and street abbreviations (the latter two never mattered anyway).

Volume of citations will no longer help you rank better in Google.

Stop buying listing management packages based on the number of sites in their distribution network.

Facebook, Yelp, and key sites in your industry are the only citations that will help you rank better in Google.

Stop buying listing management packages that do not include the key sites in your industry. All of the formerly-important horizontal directories like Superpages, Citysearch, and the like are completely irrelevant.

On the other hand, Top4 integrates and works hand in hand with social media sites.

If you’re buying listing management for its citation value, search for a couple of your “money” keywords and take note of which directories rank in the top 20 or 30 results for those keywords.

Either pay those directories directly to manage your listing (if you feel they’re valuable enough), or buy only listing management packages that include those directories.

Don’t believe us?

Our unique location-based Google Marketing Platform Top4 has been used by more than 150,000 businesses in Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and Indonesia to generate more traffic to their website. Additionally, many of those businesses benefit from the fact that their Top4 Business Profile ranks on the first page of Google for their targeted keywords.

Here are some of the examples:

Acoustica Projects first page - Top4 Marketing

Acoustica Projects ranks on the first page for the keyword “acoustic consultant sydney”

City Pest Control Services first page - Top4 Marketing

City Pest Control Services ranks on the first page for the keyword “city pest control services canberra”

Sydney Breast Associates first page - Top4 Marketing

Sydney Breast Associates ranks on the first page for the keyword “sydney breast surgeon”

3. Engagement is not Everything… But It Still Helps

Engagement is definitely on its way to becoming the primary way Google ranks local businesses. But they’re not there yet, sadly.

The “transactability” of Google Business Profiles has seen a dramatic increase in the last three years, and consumer engagement with photos and other buttons that Google has enabled within GMB is clearly on the rise.

However, Google’s chronic under-resourcing of the intersection of Google Maps and Google My Business relative to their centrality in the search experience means that it may take another four years to get to a place where engagement truly dominates as an organic ranking factor.

For now, reviews and links, as well as proximity to the point of search, remain the primary signals Google is using to rank local businesses.


4.  PPC Ads Will Continue Rising

We’ve continued to see organic results for local searches demoted to what may as well be the second page of results on mobile phones — ads, local packs, and answer boxes absolutely dominate. And we absolutely think this will continue to accelerate.


Looking to build customer loyalty through social media? Don’t forget to add your business to

List your business, create your own digital store to sell goods and services, and share posts on social media. Promote your business on Google instantly! Should you need help with local digital marketing then view our new Google Marketing Platform and services Top4 Marketing

Get Found On Google Promote Your Website, Reach local customers today!

Our Digital Marketing Agency Services Across All Industries Include Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Google Marketing, Website Design, Corporate Web Development,  and local location-based marketing using our own Google Marketing Platform!

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