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Local SEO is changing. Exciting new applications and technologies are giving marketers access to hyper-local, real-time data on people who live, work and play in the immediate area of the businesses they represent. The fundamental best practices remain intact, but the marketers who succeed in the coming months and years will be those who adjust to the new landscape of augmented reality game play and alternative applications.

The Basics of Local SEO: Some Things Never Change

Local SEO is undergoing a fast, radical and exciting transformation, but the fundamentals are still the fundamentals. Before we get into the changes on the horizon, it is important to revisit the basics.

Local SEO is dramatically different than traditional SEO, and must include a blend of (in descending order):

  • On page signals:Keywords in titles, domain authority, presence of name, address and phone number (NAP), etc.
  • Link signals: Linking domain diversity, linking domain authority and inbound anchor text.
  • External location signals: Citation volume, NAP consistency, etc.
  • Business signals: Proximity, keyword in business title, categories, etc.
  • Review signals: Velocity, diversity, quantity.
  • Behavioral signals: Offers, checkins, click-through rate.
  • Social signals: Twitter followers, Facebook likes, etc.

1.Start by claiming your Google My Business page to get your business's NAP (name, address and phone number) on Google Maps.

2.Select accurate categories.

3.Upload a lot of photos.

4.Add a local phone number.

5.Make sure your profile image is high res and include your accurate open and closing hours. Add local reviews, including Google and Yelp.

6.Finally, make sure to include a city and region, along with relevant keywords

Now that we've revisited the basics you already know but may have forgotten, let's explore some exciting new developments.

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Pokemon Go, Augmented Reality and the Future of Local SEO

Much of America heard of Pokemon Go through news stories of distracted players wandering into the street, falling down stairs and stumbling into restricted areas while glued to their phones in pursuit of online treasure.

As players reimagine the world via augmented reality through r their smartphone screens, they pursue prizes and characters — and they are encouraged to make stops at actual, real world landmarks along the way. The game may point them into a local park to train their digital companions, or ask them to visit a local fast-food restaurant to stock up on accessories.

The game — which has the ability to steer people into actual local businesses near where they actually live — has more daily users than Twitter and generates more engagement than Facebook.For marketers, this means much more than the thrill of finding imaginary creatures in the real world.

The game's developers recently announced that they'll be adding sponsored locations. Augmented reality is still in its conceptual stages, but it appears that the sky's the limit for its use in local SEO. Instead of buying ads, brands can pay game developers to include their businesses as real-world pit stops in wildly popular augmented reality games. This has the potential to steer hordes of demographically filtered gamers toward their shops, stores and restaurants.

Nearby Now: Alternative Apps and the Future of SEO

Pokemon Go is not the only mobile, real-time, hyper-local app that's changing the local SEO game. Nearby Now represents the best of a new breed of alternative SEO apps. By letting on-the-go service professionals check in at their actual customer locations, they can broadcast who they are and what they do as they're doing it. When they check in, data including where they are and what they're doing is uploaded to the Nearby Now map, which gives users a snapshot of the people the services they’re providing and the problems they're solving as it happens.

So when someone in the area has a problem — say, a burnt-out central air condenser — they can search Google and receive static business listings from search results based on website structure, link profiles and content optimization. If they visit Nearby Now, on the other hand, they'll get a real-time profile of AC service providers currently operating in their area. They will immediately know how often they work in the area and have access to reviews from real customers in real time.

Conclusion

Although the fundamentals of local SEO haven't changed, augmented reality and alternative apps are giving marketers powerful new tools in their quest to target select audiences in specific geographic locations. In the new world of local SEO, service providers can compete in real time for local business, and wandering gamers glued to smartphones become potential customers waiting to be steered into local shops.

Have you experienced any of these changes in your local SEO strategy? We love hearing from you. Tell us your your tips in the comments below!