How to Win in Google Searches in 2021 (and Beyond!)

March 18, 2021

If you’re like many marketers, the topic of SEO can be a tad dry compared to other topics in our field. Not so fast, says SearchLab’s Greg Gifford, who is expert at local SEO tactics, and notorious for injecting his presentations with a barrage of spot-on movie, music, and pop culture references. In this rapid-fire session from our Digital Summit GO! event from January (2021), Greg breaks down how brands can take their SEO game to the next level and “win” in Google searches.

Thing 1: Consumer Buying Behavior Has Shifted 

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused changes in nearly every facet of life, and the same is true for the ways that people are shopping. Gifford highlights the following stats that exemplify this:

  • 46% of consumers are more likely to shop in closer neighborhood stores
  • 59% of consumers are more likely to take advantage of curbside pickup options, even after the pandemic
  • 56% of consumers say they rely on customer reviews to inform their buying decisions
  • 70% of internet users are using their smartphones more during the pandemic

Each of these stats has a direct correlation to the importance of local SEO, particularly for those businesses who interact face to face with their customers. 

The Most Important Signals for Local SEO 

The most important signals that impact local SEO are website content, links, reviews, and your Google My Business page.

Thing 2: Make Your Content Relevant

Website content is the key to your success when it comes to local SEO ranking. The content should be unique, relevant information about their business, including information about location and any COVID-related information that customers will care about (i.e. curbside pickup).

PRO TIP: Ensure that all content included on your site is unique to your business, directly relevant to your target audience to answer the search queries, and conversational. If you can swap out your business name and have your content seamlessly placed onto another website, chances are you need an overhaul.

Thing 3: Prioritize Inbound Links

Part of your marketing strategy should focus on generating links on other local websites that point to your business site. Google gives more weight to sites that have external links pointing to the business, resulting in higher search results.

PRO TIP: Consider enlisting an agency that specializes in inbound links to help drive your strategy.

Thing 4: Use Those Customer Reviews to Your Advantage!

Reviews are not only important in the “real world”; they are also a critical weighted factor in Google’s algorithm. The more reviews you have, the better your site will perform.

PRO TIP: Solicit reviews from each of your customers and make leaving a review for your business as easy as possible and be sure to respond to each review.

Thing 5: Make Your Google My Business Listing a Centerpiece

Your Google My Business is the key to local SEO success and becomes your default web page via search. This is the first impression you will be making on potential customers.

PRO TIP: Ensure that your business information is as accurate as possible and select the most relevant categories for your business, as well as using beautiful images to represent your business.

This whirlwind session is jampacked with useful insights for marketers interested in elevating their local search performance. With so much to digest (humor included), be sure to check out the links included in the presentation for a deeper dive into the topics covered.


To hear from experts like Greg and more, check out an upcoming Digital Summit event

If you’re running marketing for a small or medium business, Greg will be leading a much more in-depth, 4-hour Masterclass on How to Win at Search just for you at our upcoming Digital Summit at Home event happening Mar 29-31.

He’ll also be teaching the same Masterclass, tailored for marketers from associations and nonprofits at our DS at Home, April 27-29. Click the links for more info!

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