While the world has taken a primarily virtual shift towards making all things digital, naturally, there have been plenty of developments in this sector regarding digital marketing and the local SEO strategy. Search engines are equipped to handle this uproar in the wake of increasing consumer requirements paired with an increase in regional market competitiveness. Today, most businesses and credible SEO professionals and their agencies have increased access to tools and data. At the same time, consumers can get their hands on more information than they ever did before.
Maintaining a local SEO strategy has become a force to be reckoned with to deal with the changing consumer buying habits post the pandemic. Capturing even a portion of the local SEO searches can be transformational for many businesses.
Elucidated below are a few updates and changes of 2021 to help you figure out how to take on your local SEO strategy for 2022 in the right direction. These are:
Google Business Profile Made Local SEO More Convenient For Businesses: Post Google’s rebranding of Google Business Profile from the previous Google My Business; several new features and updates have been seen here. One of the most significant updates was that business owners did not need to dig through any app or platform to update or correct their listing any longer. Instead, they could conveniently pass or update information like contact details, opening hours, images, and more straight through Google maps and Google Search without using the roundabout route. Moreover, even the verification process and addressing issues, such as suspension from Search, is possible, increasing convenience to achieve a prominent place in the local search results.
Bing Added More Visual Elements And Rich Results: In March this year, Bing offered up five updates that provided a richer experience to local searchers by improvising upon the integration of visual elements paired with its text-based search results. This also includes expanding carousels that present users with additional information if they were to hover their cursors over the search result. Further, there are also infographic-like results that seek to allure searchers using board queries to delve deeper into a specific topic.
Then, the intuitive highlights feature showcases details like ingredient lists, nutritional information, and calorie counts from a page without necessitating the user to visit the website. Lastly, the integrated visual search feature enables users to search for similar items using visual aid simply by clicking on the integrated visual search button.
This should be a potential area of interest for local SEO practitioners since Bing has effectively incorporated the features mentioned above into its local search results. They also have a visually-rich SERP for local quotes instead of the typical image carousel or text-based facts; these consist of relevant resources sourced from top images, Bing Maps, visitor reviews, etc. Changes like these have made Bing the hotspot for focusing one’s local SEO strategy here due to its alluring prospects of availing increased local search space with the optimization of creative measures.
The Mobile-First Indexing Rollout Is Still Rolling Out: Mobile-first indexing has been a grey area since its inception by Google in the latter part of the year 2017. Post this; the path forwards had some ups and downs when several expansion attempts started and stopped. This includes the September 2020 delay wherein search engines announced to hold off on it until March 2021 at the latest.
When it comes to determining the root of the problem, these are multiple problems areas that Google listed, i.e. robots meta tags, blocked assets, lazy-loading, primary content mobile images, and videos. Irrespective, one needs to be ready if they do not already have a mobile experience to enable transitioning a seamless run forward. As per Google’s search statistics, around 76% of individuals lookup local-centric searches on their smartphone, after that which 28% turn into sales. Therefore to prepare oneself for this outlook, it is best for local businesses and marketing professionals from the local searchers by generating a positive mobile experience.
Local Ecommerce Got A Boost With Pointy: In June 2021, it is witnessed that almost half of a sample population tends to check online to learn if an item is in stock before setting out to buy their holiday items. However, searching with the phrase ‘in stock’ saw a phenomenal increase in engagement and online traffic even before this learning.
This leads to the reasoning that adding one’s products on your Google Business Profile while keeping an updated inventory can prove merit; however, this can be quite time-consuming and might prove to be a measure that is a little too late. Therefore, taking note and making it faster, Google introduced Pointy integration. With the advent of this new feature, eligible retailers could present their in-store product inventory added to Google automatically. As a result, these are updated every time an item is sold, thus keeping the online data visible to searchers up-to-date in real-time.
New Free Local SEO Tools And Insights: To keep one’s local SEO strategy relevant at all times, it is crucial for local businesses and SEO professionals to keep themselves updated and in sync with access to new free tools to help aid this process. Local-Pack-O-Meter is one such tool that was developed by the Local SEO Guide.
It enabled practitioners to track data for ten varied Google search features, including shopping, job postings, local packs, knowledge panels, ads, etc. Another resource that contributed to this sphere was a research paper from Milestone Inc, which carried out a study on 500 location-based businesses, their online sessions, and page views to figure out and determine the ideal channels with the maximum ROI. Lastly, Rio SEO analyses an aggregate of GMB performance metrics across 200,00n business locations managed on its platform. The brand further releases a new report consisting of vertical-specific benchmarks for Clicks to Call, Clicks to Views, Clicks to Websites, etc., every month.
Consider the pointers mentioned above to understand, learn, evaluate the overall SEO strategies in place such that you can make a wise and guided start to your local SEO campaign in the year 2022.