Local search optimization has come a long way from just listings. Today, it’s all about creating an omnichannel experience that engages consumers through digital storefronts. In 2023, local search optimization will continue to evolve, and as a search marketer, you need to be updated with the latest trends and tactics.
In this article, we’ll cover the key trends and factors that impact the local ecosystem.
Trends and Factors Impacting the Local Ecosystem
Consumers are gradually shifting from buying in-store to home shopping. However, approximately 49% of consumers still want to buy from businesses with a local presence. Google is also focusing on delivering an outstanding online shopping experience by providing a range of local businesses to shoppers. The popularity of local retail is here to stay and will only continue to expand in the upcoming years.
Omnichannel – Resurgence of Local Retail
As consumer buying behavior shifts, the need for high-quality, relevant content assets has become a must-have local tactic for 2023. It includes everything from videos to real-time reviews and messaging options for customer interaction.
Understanding Your Customer’s Journey and Interaction Points
It’s no secret that 40% of organic website traffic for local businesses is generated from the immediate vicinity. However, a customer’s journey isn’t linear and involves numerous touchpoints throughout various stages. As such, marketers need to carefully strategize through each stage while also making sure all systems are integrated to create an omnichannel experience that resonates with customers. It may be daunting, but it plays an integral role in crafting an effective user experience!
Understanding how people interact with your product or service at each point in their experience can help you provide a more personalized and tailored brand experience for them. By understanding their unique needs, wants, motivations, and desires from the start to finish of their interaction with your business, you are able to create a seamless consumer journey that will result in higher conversion rates and increased loyalty among customers.
Local search is becoming increasingly visual and interactive. Consumers are looking for an engaging experience that allows them to explore their options, seeking out peer reviews on social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram. This means that marketers must invest in high-quality images and videos to display on their Google Business Profiles, as studies have shown that original visuals can yield 4x more conversions than stock photography.
To ensure quality scores based on relevancy, image quality, and entities, marketers should centralize all photos used with each product or category listed in GBP. Additionally, optimizing your visuals for mobile devices is key due to the fact that 36% of mobile SERPs are occupied by images. By implementing these strategies, businesses can stay ahead of the competition and ensure their local search results stand out in a crowded landscape.
Digital Assets – Centralize, Optimize & Discoverable
Videos can be an absolute game-changer in terms of boosting your website traffic. But, unfortunately, many businesses still don’t utilize video content to their advantage. It’s worth noting that the search results you see are localized, and they depend on where a user is located or what device they’re using; therefore, the number of views may vary depending on the location/device used. Moreover, once someone clicks on one of these videos, it will take them directly to your site! Thus making sure you create compelling video content around topics related to your services and products, customer testimonials, as well as FAQs can dramatically increase engagement with users and help drive more organic traffic for your site in turn.
Podcasts are another way to boost website traffic and increase engagement. Podcasts can be used to address customer inquiries, share success stories, or provide helpful advice related to your business. You can upload podcasts directly on websites or make them available through podcast services like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, & Pandora.
Centralizing digital assets makes it easier for potential customers to find the content they need while optimizing its performance. This will help you maximize the impact of your content by making sure that it is easily accessible and discoverable by people searching for similar information. Additionally, creating valuable content about your business can foster trust with consumers, leading to more visits and sales in the long run!
Online Reviews and Ratings
Creating a culture of authenticity and transparency is essential for businesses to gain the trust of their customers. To ensure that reviews and ratings are genuine, companies can:
• Make sure their review processes are transparent and unbiased.
• Monitor the platforms where they’re receiving customer feedback in order to detect any potential fraudulent activities.
• Implement internal security measures to ensure that reviews and ratings provided by customers are genuine.
• Place a clear link to their review and rating policies on their website.
• Encourage customers to leave honest reviews, whether positive or negative, in order for them to make informed decisions about the brand’s products or services.
Staying on top of reviews and ratings will help build trust with customers, create a positive brand reputation, and improve the customer experience. Companies that prioritize customer feedback and implement best practices for managing reviews will be able to gain an edge in this increasingly competitive market. Taking the time to ensure that your review process is honest and transparent will pay off in the long run.
AI and Voice Search
The rise of AI-powered assistants and voice search has changed the way people search for information.
According to a study by PwC, more than half of all searches will be voice searches by the end of 2023. This means that brands need to optimize their content for voice search to remain relevant.
To optimize for voice search, focus on long-tail keywords and natural language. Use conversational language and aim to answer common questions your target audience may have.
Ensure your website and local listings are mobile-friendly, as most voice searches are done on mobile devices. Also, use structured data to provide context to search engines and make it easier for them to understand your content.
Local search optimization has come a long way since its inception. Over the years, algorithmic updates have made local searches more complex and challenging. To stay at the top of local SERPs, marketers must be mindful of the current trends and tactics that can help them outrank the competition. In this article, we’ll discuss the latest trends and tactics of local search optimization that will help you achieve success in 2023.
Local Listings Management
Ensuring consistent and accurate information across various local directories is essential for improving visibility in local search results. Start by claiming any official listings associated with your business, like Google My Business (GMB) or Yelp. Ensure the information is up-to-date and consistent across all directories, as this helps search engines better understand your business.
Once you’ve claimed your listings, optimize them for local SEO using relevant keywords and a few links to other pages on your website. This helps improve visibility in local SERPs as well as build trust with potential customers.
Voice Search Optimization
As voice search becomes increasingly popular, optimizing for it is essential for staying ahead of the competition in local SERPs. To do this, focus on creating content that answers specific questions related to local searches, such as “Where is the nearest pizza restaurant?” or “What time does the salon close?” Use natural language when crafting content to make it sound conversational, as this is how people typically speak when using voice search.
Be sure to include location-based keywords since this helps search engines better understand the context of queries and rank relevant results higher in SERPs. Additionally, consider optimizing for featured snippets, as these appear at the top of local SERP results and are more likely to be read out by voice assistants.
Local search optimization is critical for any business that wants to stay competitive in today’s digital landscape. By understanding the latest trends and tactics, you can create an effective local SEO strategy that will help you rank higher in SERPs, increase brand visibility, and boost conversions. Utilizing tools like GMB listings, reviews and ratings, voice search optimization, and AI/machine learning can all help you reach your local SEO goals.