Where Local Search is Headed with The Web Guys

Predictions are great, but expert predictions are even better. In this article, we focus our gaze on where we – and other experts in the field – see local marketing headed, and our insights can help you make the most of your own digital marketing efforts. Whatever kind of business you’re running, your online presence needs to be polished, and – for all but the largest enterprises – the name of the game is local marketing.

Changes to Google Business Profile

Serious shifts are expected in the coming months for Google Business Profile.

A Nudge Toward Local Service Ads

We’re seeing less focus on Google Business Profile (GBP) and a lot more interest in Local Services Ads, which afford Google Guarantees and trust-inspiring Google badges in categories like the following:

  • Learning, such as tutoring, first aid training, and preschools
  • Care, such as childcare, animal shelters, and pet training
  • Wellness, such as yoga studios, personal training, and massage
  • Health, such as primary care physicians, dentists, and optometrists
  • Business, such as law firms, real estate agencies, and accounting firms
  • Home, such as contracting, plumbing, and moving

Google is expected to continue tweaking things – the way they like to do – and, in the process, Local Service Ads will likely evolve into a more powerful tool for local businesses.

GBP Placement

While interest in GBP is shifting, this mainstay is not going away any time soon, and you should expect changes in how your GBP shows up in local search results as well as in how these profiles will be managed generally. When it comes to local search engine results pages, which are a major driver in relation to local traffic, paying attention to what local patrons see and preparing to roll with changes in the works are both key.

The Evolution of GBP

With all the focus on factors related to GBP, we’re sensing a systemic shift that will include all the following:

  • Greater focus on photos and videos that are highly specific to your business’s location – rather than those generic stock photos that hint at location
  • More attention paid to customer experience and reviews
  • Local search rosters that are fleshed out with more specific categories
  • Enhanced opportunities for local businesses that have first-hand experience in niche markets, such as yours, to engage in valuable content creation – in accordance with Google’s update from E-A-T to E-E-A-T, which bumps things up to Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness

Visual Search Steps into the Spotlight

Experts agree that Google’s visual search and multi-search near me offerings – as well as the increased opportunities they reap – are ready for their closeup. But you’re also advised to open your mind to opportunities outside the Google-sphere. You may find up-and-comers who offer more bang for your local advertising buck.

Video Takes a Star Turn in Local Search

Video is rising in the ranks of local search, and keeping up is critical.

Hone Your Video Savvy

It’s time to become savvier about your video assets because it’s not only what the people want but is also the surest means of highlighting your wares and what it is that makes them special. Video is gaining serious traction in organic SERPs, and it’s far more than a trend.

Video and Images Take Their Rightful Place as the Gold Standard in Local Searches

When it comes to local searches, which play an essential role in driving local traffic, video and images will no longer be taking a back seat. In the process, more opportunities for businesses to maximize their relationship with GBP are expected. As video finds its forever home in local search, you should expect both new features and new fixes.

Hyping Authenticity and Quality

The general consensus among local marketing pros is that businesses like yours should let their best selves shine – with a focus on quality and authenticity.

Turning Quality Up a Notch or Two

Google is making it clear that quality content and business legitimacy, or authenticity, are top concerns. In other words, funny business is no longer going to cut it for local search. Instead, your business needs to provide high-quality local content that lets searchers know exactly who you are, what you’re all about, and where they can find you – and that’s how you rank for local search results.

Another helpful hint is that scoring your rightful place on local search is an organic process, which means you should be paying attention to all the following:

  • Your Google Business Profile
  • Your website
  • Your online presence generally
  • Your social media presence

Authenticating Your Online Presence

Photos, videos, and events resonate with online searchers, and in the process, they increase the authenticity of local search results and help to put spam, fake reviews, and content that is algorithm-driven where it belongs, which is way down the line. The driving force – as noted – is authenticity. The Google machine is ready to have a heart, and businesses are well advised to allow their own corporate hearts to beat more freely, which is undeniably the best way to actually connect with those potential customers on the other side of the screen.

Mustn’t Forget AI

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention AI because Google is not about to be left behind when it comes to this feared but revered industry darling. Experts agree that, as SEO incorporates AI for content generation, it could give local businesses – who are competing with what amount to shoestring content budgets – a boost. While AI may give your business a leg up in terms of blogging and longer-form content, however, you’re going to need to mix well with a human touch and personal finesse for the foreseeable future.

Let a Digital Marketing Pro Show You the Way

You’ve got it on good authority that the winds of change are blowing, and the digital marketing pros at The Web Guys are standing by to help you polish your form and get your best self out there on local search. We’re ready when you are, so please don’t wait to contact or call us at (317) 805-4933 today.