The year 2021 is about to end. People now are hoping to see some developments in 2022. In the digital marketing industry, the users of local SEO are expecting to view some changes for the betterment of the businesses.
By ALAN MATHEW
To put it simply, local SEO is the process of applying search engine optimization strategies to enhance your business locally. So, businesses with a brick-and-mortar presence can extract great benefits from local SEO. For them, local SEO can be a tool to drive their potential customers and extend their reach.
By creating relevant social media posts and using relevant links and citations, search engines produce relevant results beneficial to the users. As a result, the local SEO companies are hoping to see some new trends emerging for the benefit of small and medium-sized businesses.
Before you pick a reliable local SEO company, it is crucial to comprehend the importance of local SEO in 2022. However, before we understand the worth of local SEO, let’s give a brief idea about local search engine optimization.
What is local SEO?
Local SEO is a part of the search engine optimization process that can be used to attract local customers and allow them to reach you quickly. Let’s take an example here. If Google search results list your business on the third or fourth page, local SEO helps your business drastically appear in a much higher position. Perhaps, local SEO may help the business to show up on the first page itself.
You have to list your business on various search engines. This will help people unfamiliar with your business to locate you quickly. To improve the overall revenue, sales, and potential customer reach, use the beneficial SEO tools. The primary purpose of these tools is to use local listings to facilitate SEO implementation.
So, to gain the desired results, hire a trustworthy local SEO company.
Local SEO trends in 2022
In 2022, the primary focus of most digital marketers is to be on local SEO. This is because they believe that local SEO strategies can help them boost customers or user experience if followed the right way. That means features like mobile optimization, voice search, etc., will gain more popularity.
Let’s look at the upcoming trends that PPC companies can follow to help businesses be successful and win customers’ hearts.
1. Better online reputation
87% of the customers go through online reviews and client testimonials. Shocking, isn’t it?
Now that Google is aware of this fact, it is time that you too be armed with this information and utilize it to the fullest. This is why search engine rankings pay attention to your business’s online mentions and reviews. In the case of client reviews, the context is given a lot of importance by Google.
When the reviews of your business site are linked to popular platforms like Facebook or Yelp, you are directing the customers to your website. This is how Google makes the connection and responds to it. So, when you give a suitable reply to a review, Google sees that you are trying to improve user engagement by getting into a conversation with the customers or paying attention to the customer complaints. This is how brand engagement and image get improved in the eyes of the search engines, especially Google.
2. Emphasis on content or text
Everybody wants their business site to enjoy a good ranking in search engine results. However, to rise in the rankings, you must consider the content you upload to your business site.
A few days back, Orbit Media conducted a study on blog posts and their engagement. The results that they could infer from the study were astonishing. First, they found that the average word count of successful blog posts has 1142 words. So, the trend now is to be consistent. And, this is possible by writing lengthy blogs.
To ensure that your business site meets customer demands, first, you have to know what your customers are looking for. Are they looking for anything familiar, or do they have any unique concerns? Once this query has been resolved, you can create content according to their concerns.
3. Focus on Search intent
In recent years, terms like ‘to buy’ have increased their search usage by 500%. There are four types of search intent:
a. Informational intent (people have a specific question about a particular topic or want to know more about a certain topic)
b. Navigational intent (people visit a specific website)
c. Transactional intent (people search on the website to buy a particular product)
d. Commercial investigation (people research about a product to buy it in the future)
The buyer behavior of a customer can be broken down into four steps – first, he gets into a website; second, he gathers information about the product from the website; third, he browses the product and compares it with other sites that have a similar product; and finally, he takes the decision of either buying it or discarding it.
To meet the demands of the users, Google now tailors its search results. So, if you want your local business to enjoy a good search engine ranking, you have to upload content that caters to the customers’ search intent. In short, help your customers with that piece of information that they are interested in.
4. Google My Business
Although Google My Business has come up only a few years back, it has a lot of relevance now. At present, Google is not showing results based on keywords. Instead, they have shifted their focus to the customers’ search intent and want to know what a customer is looking for.
Let’s take up an example here. If the customer is looking for the best spa parlor, Google knows that the customer is not interested in the best spa parlor in the world. So here, Google will conduct a location-based search to find out the best spa parlor within the user’s locality. Google My Business will show this result.
Wondering about the importance of Google My Business for local businesses?
Research shows that the Google My Business listing has 49% of the local businesses that have more than a thousand views every month.
To make your Google My Business listing perform well, here is what you should do:
First: Complete your business profile by providing all the necessary details of your business.
Second: If there are any changes in your business, update them as soon as possible.
Third: Upload a fresh post every two weeks. This will allow your business account to use more local keywords.
Remember, the more activities performed on your Google My Business account, the happier Google is! As a result, your business achieves a higher rank in search engine results.
5. Mobile optimization of a website
In a day, when your customer suddenly realizes that they have to buy something urgently, they are likely to search for the product on their mobile phones instantly.
According to a recent study, it has been found that 52% of website traffic is generated via mobile devices.
Still, thinking of not taking mobile optimization of your business website seriously? Know that Google is now indexing those sites with mobile optimization with mobile-first indexing. This means Google is primarily using the mobile version of the content for ranking and indexing. So, instead of the desktop design of a website, Google will now consider and review them on their mobile website design.
Further, Google is focusing on the user experience of these mobile sites. So, you have to create an easy-to-use mobile website design that does not take much time to load.
6. More importance to video content
Today, various local businesses’ searches are met via Google My Business or Google Maps. On the other hand, others are fulfilled by the YouTube videos that appear in the search results.
Forrester Research conducted a study to prove the user engagement of video content. The study inferred that the video content has a 50% chance of appearing on the search results page.
Video content is both audio and visual. It is said that people retain audio-visual content much more than only audio content. The videos make the services or products more authentic to the customers. In short, video content has the power to build the trust of consumers. 84% of the customers make a purchasing decision by getting driven by the video content, as found by the reports of the Forrester research.
7. User experience is the showstopper
In May 2020, Google mentioned that it would consider user experience as one of the deciding factors for search engine ranking.
The following factors that will largely influence a website’s rankings on the search engine results page are as follows:
· Time is taken for a page to load
· How do people navigate website design?
· Performance of the website both on the desktop and mobile devices
You can use the Google Core Web Vitals to see how well the user experience of your website has been formed. It also gives an idea as to whether the user experience of your website follows the parameters as Google wants.
Gone are the days when banner ads and pop-up ads on the website would work. Now, users barely click on them. According to a study by Business Insider, users are least bothered about clicking on banner ads. Not only so, but these pop-ups and ads also irritate them.
To ensure that users prefer your business site, use relevant tools to check the time taken for your website to load. Also, the loading speed should be checked on all platforms. Local businesses need to find out what their customers want and navigate the site likewise. Make sure that customers find important information (like contact page, address, working hours, etc.).
8. Voice search preferred for local SEO
Have you noticed the difference between the way people speak over the phone and how they type the same information or query on the search bar? The ones typed on the search bar tend to be longer. So, when you create content for your website, you need to consider how people talk. This is done to determine the results against local voice searches.
If you pay attention to the recent stats, you will be surprised to know that 75% of the users use smart speakers to do local business searches (as per the reports of Bright Local).
9. Zero click results
However depressing this trend sounds, it is one of the most critical factors for local SEO. As per the reports of 2019, 50% of the users gathered information from the Google search results page. But, unfortunately, this means that the users did not visit the business’s website.
Keeping this information in mind, take a look at your Google My Business account and the information of your business site in Google Maps. Then, update the information in these two important places as much as possible. This is because people will extract information about your business from these platforms.
Also, try hard to make your content rich and informative. Concentrate on the keywords and use only those that can drive traffic to your site.
10. Website matters
An increasing trend of the zero-click results does not mean that the importance of websites has diminished. On the contrary, websites are a good way of gaining customers’ trust.
A study by Bright Local proved that 56% of the customers rely on those local businesses with an online presence or a different website. As soon as the customers locate your business on the search results page, they immediately check your website to find vital information regarding your business, like business hours, location, contact information, etc.
From the same study by Bright Local, it has been found that 50% of the consumers avoid businesses that do not have a website or lack proper contact information. So, for local businesses to thrive, it is essential to create a user-friendly and easily navigable website.
From the above points, it can be clearly stated that in 2022, every local business should aim at creating and nurturing its online presence to stay at the top. Create a good quality website, enhance user engagement, and focus on the user experience. Now, Google is more interested in those local businesses that take a consumer-driven approach.