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4 Local SEO Updates That Will Impact Your 2022 Planning

by | Dec 15, 2021 | Digital Marketing

Almost every business these days is already online and over the past two years, the pandemic only further emphasized the need to make your products and services accessible on the Internet. Customers are expecting to find local businesses in the search results. If you’re not there, you’re going to lose out. 

So, how do you stay above the competition?

Your local SEO strategy has to be engaging, easy to use, and practically everything else that can make your audience happy. This is where keeping up with the local SEO updates proves to be essential. 

 

Local SEO Updates You Need to Know in 2022

Being the leading player in the marketplace, most of the key updates in local search are from Google. The search engine, by far, has been the most successful in addressing the ever-increasing demand for information and adapting to the changing consumer buying habits. 

  • Google accounts for 86.64% market share for global search. Approximately 83% of consumers use Google Search to find information about local businesses. Of that number, 90% are more likely to purchase within a week after their initial search. 
  • The search engine has driven over 2 billion connections like bookings and reviews between US retailers and consumers every month in 2020. 
  • Searches for local places with qualifiers like “available near me” have increased by 100% in 2021; “near me” by 200% in 2021; and “all along my route” by 1,000% in 2020. 

These figures go to show that Google can be your greatest source of leads, provided that your site is optimized for local search. While there’s no way to predict how SEO will change in the years ahead, you can expect that new and emerging trends will always have an influence on your local SEO strategy

With that being said, below are the local SEO updates and changes that we know by far. 

 

Google Updates My Business

When Google rebranded Google My Business as Google Business Profile, they have also introduced a host of updates and new features. Probably the most useful is that it has made it easier for businesses to make changes in their listing. You can now update your profile, complete the verification process, and address issues like suspensions directly from Google Search. 

As Google puts more emphasis on search intent these days, they are showing results based less on keywords and more on what they think users are actually searching for—and that’s where Google Business Profile comes in. It increases the chances of your business listing appearing in relevant, local search results. With its location-based information, Google displays local results on top, and for brands seeking local exposure, this is something to capitalize on. 

So, how do you optimize your profile? Supply it with as many details as possible and keep the information correct and up to date. Publish a post at least every two weeks to keep your listing relevant and your account optimized for more local keywords. The more activity and engagement your listing, the higher your rankings will be on the search engine results pages.

 

Google Continues to Prioritize Mobile-Indexing

Over 4 billion people or 90% of the total global internet population are accessing the Internet from their mobile. If that figure doesn’t urge you to improve your site’s mobile-friendliness, then consider that Google has since updated its algorithms to prioritize mobile-first indexing for new sites and it’s continually doing so. It means that the search engine continues to review and rank new sites based on their mobile design, and if you’re still not offering a seamless mobile experience, you have to get on it now. 

Is your site easy to navigate on mobile? Does it load quickly? Is the font big enough on a small screen? Google has a mobile-friendly testing tool where you can check whether or not your site is optimized for mobile. It shows a screenshot of how your site looks on a mobile screen and also provides a list of recommendations to make your visitors’ mobile experience better. 

 

Google Introduces New Local News Features

With more searches for “news near me”, Google has launched new features that will make it easier to discover and catch up on locally relevant stories. These include:

The Local News Carousel that displays a carousel of local news stories most relevant to the user’s query; 

Top Stories Carousel which highlights authoritative local news instead of the usual stories from national publications; 

Deeper Understanding of Topics—a feature that enables Google to connect broad topics with local stories; and 

Local Tweets, showcasing tweets by trusted, local publications and journalists when a user searches for local news. 

Google uses different metrics to display newsworthy content in Google News, Top Stories, and Google Discover. While that’s the case, it’s technically possible for any content from any site to appear in these platforms as long as it’s high-quality and complies with Google News content policies: it must not contain violent, hateful, dangerous, or deceptive messages. 

 

Google Integrates Pointy Into Business Profile

Local businesses and SEO agencies are afforded a new tool with the introduction of Pointy from Google. It allows you to add products to your Google Business Profile and keep the inventory up to date. It connects to your point of sale system so it’s updated every time you sell an item. This, in return, lets your consumers know what you have in stock. 

This tool was introduced on the back of a study showing that early in June, 50% of shoppers in the US checked online to see if an item was in stock before purchasing. Even before that, searches with the qualifier “in stock” soared up to 800%. This suggests that adding an inventory to your Google Business Profile can be advantageous. You can check your availability for Pointy here

It has been a fast-paced year with several developments in digital marketing—local SEO included. As Google continues to reward a user-first approach in 2022, the best way to stay competitive is still to provide an increasingly engaging and seamless local search experience.

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