Getting ahead of your local competitors can turn out to be a full-time job. I know a few small business owners that can testify on that.

If you’re battling for supremacy in a small town or city, you’re probably keeping a close eye on what the competition is doing. While adapting to your competitor’s marketing efforts is certainly a must if you don’t want to lose customers, you’ll have to branch out and think of killer marketing strategies that will help you conquer the local realm.

If you want to dominate the local market, a solid SEO strategy might not be enough. If you’re willing, we have prepared a shortlist of new SEO opportunities that local businesses can use to improve the local search ranking.

1. Optimise for AI Assistants

The rise of digital assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant is exposing a lot of users to voice search. Already, over 20 percent of the total amount of mobile search is voice search — and this number is predicted to skyrocket to over 50% by the end of 2020. Google is already preparing marketers for the changes to come and has already released a few guidelines for voice search. Watch the short video below for a quick rundown of the factors that will be taken into consideration.

Optimizing for voice search is tricky because voice search queries tend to be longer than text queries. They are very similar to how real people talk. For example, instead of optimizing for the query “best lawn mowers in Nevada” you should optimize for longer, conversational queries like “which is the best lawn mower shop in Nevada”.

2. Prepare your Business for visual search

If you’re already spinning your head around this voice search thing, you should know that Google is also pushing heavily for visual search – and it’s not the only one. Microsoft, Pinterest, and Amazon have also announced functionality updates for visual search somewhere in the future. Although the technology is still in development, I’m willing to bet it will spawn a whole new plethora of tactics capable of attracting new customers.

But rest assured, as you won’t need to become a code wizard in order to benefit from the visual search engines to come. For now, make sure you have a consistent listing on all your local business pages so you don’t confuse the search engines – same name, phone number, and address. In addition to this, make sure every image on your business website has a descriptive name and includes a few other relevant keywords.

3. Get Local Influencers on your side

Attracting the right influencers on your side is a must, especially with the latest Facebook algorithm changes. A well-picked micro influencer can steer the local population towards your business — and it’s one of the most low-key methods that you can use.

Word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM) is one of the best strategies that local businesses can deploy. And what better way to do it than a local influencer that encourages chatter about your brand. Keep in mind that Google is a lot better at noticing a business that gains popularity — aside from more sales, a good influencer can also help with the local search ranking. Watch the video below for a sneak peek inside the business of micro-influence.