Each month Rio SEO hosts webinars to better inform, educate, and inspire local marketers. We host industry experts, Google Business Profile experts, marketing professionals, agencies, and more to share their insights and experience. Our goal with our webinars is simple: to help multi-location businesses scale their local marketing efforts efficiently and with the right tools. In this blog post, we will revisit our seven top webinars of 2021.
These webinars ranged a vast range of topics–from Google updates and our annual study findings to webinars hosted with our partners. We will break down key takeaways from each of these seven webinars and best practices shared. You can also watch any of the below webinars on-demand. Let’s dive into the top webinars of 2021.
It’s become more important than ever for brands to optimize the on-page experience for customers. In fact, Google is now rewarding brands who make their websites user-friendly and provide quality content through improved search ranking. Page Experience signals began rolling out in June 2021 and continued to roll out all summer. These new signals include:
- Largest Contentful Paint: How long it takes a web page to load from the point of view of an actual user.
- First Input Delay: Measures the time it takes for a user to interact with your page.
- Cumulative Layout Shift: Measures if elements on your page are moving around or unstable.
During this webinar, our panel shared their tips for creating the ultimate web page experience for customers. Some of these tips included understanding what each of the new page experience signals means, how local pages impact the page experience, and ensuring you have standard technical initiatives in place. The panelists also shared tools to use to optimize your page experience.
There were no shortage of Google My Business (GMB) updates in 2021. In fact, near the tail end of 2021, GMB entirely changed its name to Google Business Profile (GBP). Given the vast number of updates to take place in the past year, we wanted to bring together a panel of four GBP experts to share which updates they thought were most important for businesses to have on their radar. Some of these updates were specific to different industries, while others impacted nearly every business.
To learn more about these updates, we enlisted the help of Colan Nielsen, VP of Local Search at Sterling Sky, Sherry Bonelli, Owner of Early Bird Digital Marketing, Stefan Somborac, Founder of Marketing Metrology, and Marshall Nyman, Account Director at Rio SEO.
A few of the notable GBP updates discussed during the webinar include:
- The Google Local 3-Pack possibly shifting to a 5-Pack
- New attributes available for different primary categories
- The updates that may come with the GBP rebrand
- New messaging features available to communicate with customers in real-time
- Review context gets more real estate in the Knowledge Panel
- New functionality for hotel and restaurant brands
- The impact of the Page Experience update
Our panel predicts more changes to come in 2022. Continue to stay on top of these changes to get ahead and stand out against your competitors.
Local marketers were eager to learn about Google’s many updates over the past year. This is made evident by many of our most attended webinars aligning with Google’s numerous updates made over the year. One of those webinars was how to create a winning local search strategy for Google’s 2021 Core Updates.
Two of the most noticeable Core Updates took place in June and July of 2021. These back-to-back updates caused quite a stir with local marketers, as some businesses saw large fluctuations in their search results and traffic. These Core Updates take place to help searchers find more relevant search results. Therefore, businesses must ensure their websites are following Google’s latest guidelines to continue to appear prominently in search.
In this webinar, our expert panel discussed where the future of search is heading for marketers, strategies for succeeding amid consistent Google updates, as well as best practices for improving local rankings. Our panel included Joy Hawkins, Owner of Sterling Sky, Inc., Ezekireal Thomas, Senior SEO Strategist with MediaHub, and Amanda Tento, GMB expert and educator.
Driving customers to your local business can be challenging in a competitive landscape. It becomes even more difficult when trying to target hyperlocal customers in your surrounding neighborhoods. That’s where Nextdoor comes in, a local marketing platform that aggregates consumers in specific neighborhoods, helping businesses target those close-to-reach customers.
In a webinar at the beginning of the year, we partnered with Nextdoor to discuss how businesses can take advantage of Nextdoor, best practices for getting the most out of the Nextdoor platform, and how to most effectively manage multiple locations. The data we gathered during an audience poll proves consumers are seeking businesses closest to their geographic location, with 77% of the audience indicating they would only drive up to 10 miles for a product or service.
During the webinar, JJ McMahon, Partnerships Manager at Nextdoor shared that 1 in 4 U.S. households currently use Nextdoor to find local businesses. Knowing 25% of the U.S. population is on Nextdoor, this presents an additional opportunity for exposure.
Nextdoor also enables you to:
- Instantly reach nearby customers
- Engage with a high-intent audience eager to support local businesses, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Read and gain valuable insight from their customer reviews
- Leverage authentic, free word-of-mouth marketing
Google continues to take actionable steps towards improving the search experience. These updates lead to fluctuations in search rankings. However, when businesses see a noticeable negative impact on their rankings, that’s when concern comes into play.
In late summer, we were joined by several members of the NP Digital team to discuss how businesses can stay up-to-date with future Google updates. The goal of the webinar was to help marketers worry less and instead enjoy Google updates when they occur. To accomplish this, the panelists suggest the following strategies:
- Make the journey unique to your audience, and find where your ideal customers spend their time.
- Take advantage of the free real estate on Google, and use every feature available to you.
- Use different content platforms, such as Google Posts or your own research.
- Create a strategy aligned with the direction of where Google is going, and follow these strategies to outrank your competitors’ content.
2021 Consumer Behavior Study: How COVID-19 Shaped Search Discovery, Buying Intent, and Online Reputation
Consumer shopping behavior looks vastly different in 2021 than it did even two years ago. Based on our annual survey findings, we learned searchers are looking to make purchases quickly, most within a week of conducting their initial search, and are looking at a business’ reviews to help guide their purchasing decisions. In fact, we found 76% of consumers are searching for local information on a daily basis.
In this webinar, we were joined by Mick Wilson, Vice President of Customer Success at Rio SEO, Ryan Weber, Director of Customer Success at Rio SEO, and Doug Gargaro, Account Director at Rio SEO to break down each of the study’s top findings. During the webinar, we learned more about:
- How consumers are conducting online searches in 2021
- How reviews and ratings impact a consumer’s decision-making process
- Which platforms are used most frequently during the local shopping journey
- How COVID-19 has reshaped the buyer’s journey
Local search continues to evolve and change with time. In fact, search experts note more updates have taken place in the past few years with Google over a short period of time when compared to previous years. The future of local search is unpredictable, however, we wanted to pick the brains of several marketing and SEO professionals to hear what they anticipate to come in 2022.
To discuss these predictions, we enlisted the help of Andrew Shotland, CEO & Founder of Local SEO Guide, Dani Owens, Local SEO Consultant and Owner of Pigzilla, Nigel Atkinson, Account Director at Rio SEO and Chad Klingensmith, Senior SEO Strategist at Rio SEO.
Some of the trends they predict will happen in 2022 include:
- Customers will expect responses from your business quickly and across multiple platforms
- Core Web Vitals will have a noticeable impact on search ranking
- User experience and quality content should be a top priority for 2022
- AI technology will continue to advance and creating long-tail content will win for complex searches
- Understanding user intent and optimizing your content for this will become more important than before
- Prioritizing your reputation management will help you maintain and build your customer relationships
Never Miss Another Rio SEO Webinar
Want to keep learning the latest and greatest in the local marketing industry? Enjoyed what you heard in our seven top webinars of 2021? Join us next year for our next series of webinars. We hold webinars monthly to keep your business in the know.