Stay Ahead of the Game: Key Insights for Successful Local SEO in 2022 and Beyond
Local search engine optimization (SEO) continues to play an essential role in helping local businesses attract more customers, increase revenue, and outperform their competitors. In the previous months, there has been a lot of action in the local SEO sphere, and savvy marketers and business owners must keep up with the latest trends or fall behind.
To help you stay in the loop, we’ve compiled an overview of some of the critical developments in local SEO for Q2 2022. Let’s dive in!
1. Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) – A First Peek at Local Search
Google has been testing its new Search Generative Experience (SGE), a conversational search interface that utilizes machine learning. One important development on SGE is the disappearance of local finder if your first five results are unhelpful or not to your liking. Thus, local business owners should focus on ensuring that their Google Business Profile (GBP) and website have ample, high-quality content to rank higher in the SGE 5-pack.
2. Dedicated Google Form for Recovering Missing Reviews
Missing reviews on your GBP whose authenticity you can vouch for are frustrating, but Google is trying to address this with a dedicated form to recover missing reviews. However, the overall process is quite lengthy and onerous, making it even more critical to ensure the published reviews follow Google’s guidelines. A negative review can impact not just your online reputation but also your business’s bottom line.
3. No Acquiring of Reviews via Donations
A clarification came from Google – you cannot ask for reviews in exchange for donations or sponsorships. While your business should not expect reviews in return for charitable work, you can leverage philanthropic partnerships to gain valuable linked unstructured citations.
4. Videos for Local Businesses
Short videos continue to trend in local SEO, with Google prioritizing them in its GBP. The recommended video length is 30 seconds, but marketers can experiment with longer videos. Videos on inventory, staff, community involvement, and your business premises help businesses stand out and rank higher in GBP.
5. Text-Based Fact-Checking Communications from Google
Google now confirms via text the accuracy of your GBP’s information, like its address, phone number, and hours of operation. But you should be cautious about responding to any communications asking for your personal information and limit it to the phone number listed in this help page.
6. Chat with Live Agent and Google Business Messages
Google Business Messages includes a CTA button on your GBP for shopping live with an agent. For those who use a third-party service in managing their live chat feature, make sure to coordinate the changes. Any added visibility and better accessibility to customers is worth the effort if it helps with converting prospects into buyers.
7. A Mobile Grid Test Packed with Local Results
Google experimented with mobile grid display test, which showed a dense pack of local business providers and their related information. Depending on how this pans out, local business owners may need to ensure they are ranking high in Google’s local map pack and have a robust local SEO strategy in place.
8. Google Maps Services Button on Center Stage
Allie Margeson noted that a subtle yet important change in the ordering of CTA buttons on some maps’ listings, with the “services” button appearing left of the “call” button, is likely to impact how businesses list their services. Businesses must list all of their services in GBP, add relevant categories, and check regularly if new services are available.
9. Often Searched Together – A Quick Competitive Analysis Tip
If your GBP has an “Often Searched Together” section, view it as an opportunity to study your competitors’ marketing and SEO strategies. This section provides insight into what other businesses your potential customers are searching for.
10. The Google Updates Bug is Resolved
The inability to edit or remove Google Updates had frustrated marketers and business owners until Google finally resolved the bug. At the same time, Google may need to rethink its choice of terminology and do away with “updates” for a better understanding of the products.
11. Hiding Your GBP Address – Results in Negative Consequences
Joy Hawkins and her team from SterlingSky conducted a study on how hiding the address for a home-based business resulted in a massive drop in its local ranking. Google’s bias lies with businesses with a physical address and leaves home-based service area businesses disadvantaged. Business owners should list the address in GBP and hope they do not get caught disregarding Google