Every year Google local search updates in accordance with contemporary trends and needs and constantly shuffles around rules. This means that, in theory, Google local search is getting better by the year and more important to consider when optimizing your site.
Google local search changes are usually guided by the needs of the clients at hand, but they can also be Google pushing their own criteria for a better experience. Either way, Google local search updateshappen frequently and it’s important to understand them in order to properly monitor SEO trends for your website!
What is Local Search Anyway?
Local Search is simply the optimizing of criteria that allow people local to you to find your service or business easier. Both on- and off-site planning can increase visibility in search results for local users, causing them to find you more easily.
In order to optimize traffic to your business or website, it’s important to get as much local traffic as possible. This is exceptionally useful if you are a brick-and-mortar business, like a restaurant, but all businesses can benefit from local optimizations.
There are many guides out there about how to properly optimize for Google’s Local Search functionality, so familiarizing yourself with them is a crucial step before new Google Local Search changes come!
Find out more about local SEO and get your business to the top of SERPs! Of course, we can help you achieve that!
Updates for Google Local Search in 2021 – A Timeline
Google Local Search changes are nothing new, here is a running tally of recent changes made in 2021.
Older posts were placed in the knowledge panel
The local pack contained opening dates
Staff added to the knowledge panel
The “Available Online” label was added to maps
Review stars added to the snippets on the knowledge panel
No 3-pack on mobile SERPs
History and Owner tabs added to the knowledge panel
Review sentiments functionality added
Estimated costs functionality added
New label on reviews
Reviews updated with Date Visited
The ability to hide your phone number was added.
Smiley faces added to the Review filter
Review Topics filter added
‘New on Google’ functionality added
Review averages on maps for restaurants added
The review section for restaurants was expanded
‘Areas Served’ labels updated
‘New’ view in the local pack
3rd party sites now have review counts
Google Local Search Changes - What to Expect in 2022?
There are many things to consider for 2022, from important tools to optimization practices, but some of the most important factors regarding Google local search updates should be considered when planning content into the future. Here are some of the things to think about for the new year in order to best optimize your website!
Google Business is Being Re-branded
While this might not be directly relevant to your website, it’s always important to keep track of the changes with the company in charge of driving SEO practices themselves. My Business is becoming Google Business Profile in order to make local SEO more convenient for everyone. This update contained many beneficial changes and allowed all kinds of editing for your business listing.
Addition of Better Visual Elements
In order to further efficiency for Local Search, Google added many advanced website marketing strategies and allowed access to very beneficial updates, including:
Integrated visual search, which improves the visual searching of similar items. This is activated by the integrated visual search button.
Better functionality for info-graphics – broad queries can now be helped with a variety of informational sources allowing for a greater depth of understanding for difficult topics.
Improved carousels which allow local customers to access more relevant information for their searches.
Local News Improvements
By introducing modern elements and modern features into local SERPs, users can find additional help in looking for local results in their news feeds. Google has released many local search updates in order to improve the quality of local-based news searches and will include many things on the local news carousel, like top stories, more news, and even local tweets.
This is a great sign for businesses as it encourages proper optimization in order to get on this search carousel!
New Attributes for Everyone
Attributes are a great way to provide proactive answers for questions that searchers have on a variety of topics. Now, features like ‘black-owned’ or ‘woman-owned’ businesses attributes can help some people decide whether to use their services and allow you the option to better delineate your business from the rest. If you apply for these attributes, putting them on your website is a no-brainer for optimization!
With this Google local search update, Pointy Integration, US retailers now have the option to show their in-store product inventory automatically. In 2021, it was found that 50% of US shoppers had planned to check online to see if there was stock for an item at a local store, showing the need for this service. If local customers are better able to find out whether or not your store has what they’re looking for, they are much more likely to actually come to your shop to make a purchase.
At the end of 2017, Google announced that it would be focusing fully on a mobile-first approach in order to optimize the use of smartphones. 76% of people use their smartphones to search for something available in their vicinity and 28% of these result in a sale, showing the tremendous impact that optimizing for cell phones provides. The focus on positive mobile experiences with your website will be the new, essential strategy for any business moving forward.
Local Search Drives Business Success
It is crucial to consider local search if your business has any relation to a physical location in the world. By paying attention to this aspect of your business, Google’s Local Search will greatly improve your chances of qualifying for the search criteria of someone who is nearby looking for your services.
This is the best way for local businesses of all kinds to connect with their audience and offer them what they need. By planning into the future and seeing what kind of Google local search changes can be expected in 2022, you can get ready beforehand and properly prepare for a successful website optimization moving into the new year.
If you need help with your local business don't hesitate to contact us! We've got the experience to boost your business beyond your imagination!
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