The evolution of digital marketing did not slow down last year, and local SEO is no exception. Consumers needing to find out information quickly has not decreased and, as such, local markets have become so much more competitive, so it’s no surprise that search engines have adapted for this.
Local businesses, local SEO professionals and the agencies they work for all have new tools and more data, which means more in-depth planning and strategy is called for. Consumers are now able to readily access the information they care about through an increasingly rich, engaging, and seamless local search experience.
Read on to find out more about how local search is evolving.
How buying habits have disrupted local search
It won’t be a surprise to most of us that many of our top local search updates come from Google.
Google has always been quick to adapt to their consumers’ needs and buying habits, and as such Google remains the dominant force in the search market.
Here are some facts which show just how much of an influence Google has:
- Google currently has over 92.4% market share in the search engine space.
- 83% of local consumers use Google Search to find information about local businesses near them, and at least 90% will make a purchase within one week of their initial search.
- Google facilitates 2 billion connections such as reviews and bookings between US businesses and shoppers per month 2020.
- [Available near me] searches increased 100%.
- [Now near me] searches increased by 200%.
- [Along my route] searches increased 1000% in 2020.
With statistics like this, local businesses cannot simply choose to ignore local SEO optimisations. For some local businesses, just capturing a small amount of this traffic can be the difference between being open for business or closed.
How local businesses can update their local SEO strategy in 2022
Based on what’s happened in recent times, here are 5 top tips to help inform your local search strategy for this year:
- Google Business Profiles make local SEO easier. Last year, Google rebranded their Google My Business platform to Google Business, which came with a range of new updates and features. The most impactful update is that business owners no longer need to log in to Google My Business to update their information. Instead, they can update straight from Google Search and Google Maps.
Tip: Local businesses should ensure that their Google profiles always remain up-to-date and current.
- Google made it easier to catch on latest local news. Searches for ‘news near me’ has been tripling over five years across the globe. Google added features to local search results to make local news easier to find.
Tip: With that in mind, getting involved with your local communities and sharing those stories will be imperative when it comes to attracting local customers.
- Bing added more visual elements and rich results. Microsoft Bing rolled out 5 updates which provides searchers with a richer experience by incorporating images and videos on their search results.
Tip: These updates could make Bing more attractive to local businesses in 2022, allowing for opportunities to get creative with many local search opportunities. This could be your time to get ahead of your competitors.
- Google included more attributes to their Google Business Profiles. In February 2021, Google added health, safety, and pandemic-related attributes to Google Business Profiles.
Tip: We would suggest checking out this list of new attributes and seeing if you can utilise them in your Google Business Profile for 2022.
- Create a positive mobile experience. Not surprisingly, mobile search continues to dominate the search landscape.
Tip: The best advice for all local businesses and marketing professionals is to continue to create the best mobile experience you can for your customers.
If you’d like some support with your local search strategy, simply drop us a message!