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With the decade having drawn to a close, here at BrightLocal we’re preparing to don our flapper gear and sashay our way into the Roaring Twenties 2.0 in style.

To celebrate the end of a very eventful year — the year in which that Google My Business survey, BERT, and of course, the Bedlam Update, took place — we’ve reached out to some of the industry’s leading figures.

Read on as we bring out our crystal ball and discover what the top experts in local are predicting for the year ahead.

The return of Google+? (Kind of)

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As Google continues to introduce new functions (such as the ability to follow Local Guides) theories of the resurgence of Google as a social network have begun to emerge. Spam-fighting pro and latest addition to Sterling Sky’s expanding team Jason Brown speculates:

Jason Brown

Google will launch a new service similar to G+ and a new community will be built around Local Guides and reviewers.

This ties in particularly with his second prediction, that Google will rely more heavily on user-generated content (UGC) than ever before:

Google is going to increase its demand and push for UGC, photos, reviews, Q&A and ‘Know this business?’

And Jason’s not alone in his thinking – Local Product Strategist at Rio SEO and GMB Gold Product Expert Krystal Taing predicts that if local businesses don’t start playing the UGC-game, they’ll miss out in a major way:

Krystal Taing

All brands need to get up to speed on the many different ways user-generated…

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