Optimizing your website, social media and online content for local search is one of the most effective ways to grab the attention of your target audience. Roughly 99 percent of surveyed consumers use the internet to find local businesses, and 78 percent do this more than once a week. Moreover, 81 percent use Google to evaluate the business’s reputation and credibility.
5 Essential Insights for Local Search Marketing
Based on Google’s data, mobile searches with the phrase “near me” have increased by 136 percent annually in the U.S. over the last ten years. Customers want immediate access to local businesses, and Google’s local search updates provide that connection. If you’re looking to elevate your local search strategy, here are five insights to guide your approach:
Local Search Favors Specificity
Google’s local search update allows consumers to be niche and specific with their queries. This pivot creates a more accurate and relevant search experience. For instance, a user can type “vegan pho near me,” and the SERP will compile a list of restaurants, markets, or vendors in the user’s specific geographic location. As a marketer, consider the descriptive long tail keywords or phrases consumers input to find businesses in your particular niche and include those in your content. This approach allows Google to connect your content to hyper-specific queries.
Map Directions are Immersive Experiences
With turn-by-turn navigation, consumers can visit your business in person after finding it online. But with this latest update, Google map directions aren’t just helpful and interactive. The “Live View” function allows users to see establishments nearby after scanning the area on their smartphones. If a user wants a coffee shop, they can lift their camera and Google will show coffee shops in their vicinity, along with real-time business information and on-screen directions. The address on your Google Business Profile (GBP) must be accurate to make your business’ location searchable with Live View.
Local Search Offers AI and VR Tech
Another new navigational feature in Google’s local search arsenal is the ability to peek inside businesses remotely. With just a tap on the screen, consumers can use immersive AI and VR technology to “enter” a building to see when it’s open and how busy it is. They can also monitor street views outside the business to keep tabs on details like parking availability or weather conditions. These 3-D photorealistic renderings allow consumers to experience what a venue, landmark, store or restaurant is like at any given time, so they can make an informed decision about when to visit that particular establishment.
Neighborhood Exploration is Going Virtual
Powered by a combination of user-generated content and AI data, Google Maps has a “neighborhood vibe” function that enables users to get a virtual feel for the ambiance of a specific area. They can peruse the trendy hotspots, learn about hidden gems and locate parks or outdoor spaces. This feature gives consumers valuable information about the neighborhood—whether it has a vibrant arts culture or an enticing foodie scene—so they’ll know which places to check out. Users who live in the community can also submit recommendations on the map of their favorite local attractions worth exploring.
Voice Search Options Value Accessibility
Voice search is one of the consumers’ most common methods to input their queries. In the U.S., an estimated 135 million users conduct voice searches on a virtual assistant or mobile device. Due to the increasing ubiquity of voice search, Google’s IOS app just launched a new shortcut in the navigation bar to make it faster, easier and more accessible. All users must do is tap a “record” icon and speak their query, then Google will translate it into text for the SERP results. Updating your content and website for voice searchability is one of the most vital local search strategies to adopt. This process includes writing conversational copy, testing the site’s mobile responsiveness, and optimizing metadata for local SEO.
Take Your Local Search Strategies to the Next Level
Google’s 2022 local search updates make finding local businesses more seamless. As a content marketer, you must use these new roll-outs to your advantage. This pivot will improve SEO ranking, customer reach, brand visibility, website traffic, and conversion rates. Still, if you’re unsure how to build effective local search strategies, the team at 10x Digital is here to help. Our online marketing specialists will create quality-driven, locally-focused content to draw in your target audience. So, contact us, and let’s get to work!