Local Search in 2023: Key Trends and Tactics for Marketers

Local is no longer just  listings, it means omnichannel experiences and engagement. Today’s consumers want  personalized experiences and interaction with local businesses through digital storefronts. To gain the trust of local consumers, brands must focus on providing quality interactions and relevant information. 

This article covers the regional trends  search marketers need to know and act in 2023. 

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Local trends and factors impacting the local ecosystem   

Consumers are shifting from shopping in stores to shopping at home. Still, about 49% of consumers would prefer to buy from businesses with a local presence. Google is also focused on providing an amazing online shopping experience and bringing shoppers closer to a variety of local businesses. 

 The revival of local retail is one of the top trends he expects to continue  in 2023. 

 With changing consumer buying behavior, the need for high-quality, relevant content assets – from videos to real-time ratings to messaging options to engage with consumers – will be a must in 2023 regions.

Complex customer journey and touchpoints 

Local traffic accounts for up to 40% of organic traffic for location-based businesses. But a local search customer’s journey is far from linear and involves a variety of touchpoints and phases. As a marketer, it’s important to consider all phases and touchpoints and integrate data across multiple channels to create the best possible customer experience. 

 From awareness to advocacy, connecting disparate systems is difficult but must be considered to ensure a consistent omnichannel experience.

Videos and images matter

Local search is now more visual and interactive. Sterling said TikTok has evolved into an experience search engine, and Google sees  social platforms as competitors. A young audience wants a visual experience, and he prefers using TikTok to  Google. 

 Prabhakar Raghavan, SVP of Google, previously pointed out that younger viewers are using Instagram and TikTok to completely ignore Google Search and Maps to find shopping and restaurant recommendations based on peer reviews. bottom. 

 This is not the only reason why visual elements are important. In his research, Blumenthal found  that 36% of mobile SERPs are filled with images. Hawkins shared that custom images on Google Post got four times as many conversions as his stock photos. 

 Google uses AI to understand entities, objects, logos, facial expressions and emotions in images. Images of the same object can be interpreted differently. We recommend using Google’s Vision API to check image quality and relevance to see what  the image means. 

 Google’s AI algorithms reject images that are classified as too aggressive and likely false positives. Still, it’s important for marketers to know the difference. For better results, invest in high-quality images, centralize all your photos, and create a quality rating based on each image’s quality, relevance, and entity. 

 Videos can deliver relevant traffic. But most companies don’t use them in their marketing strategies. Video search is localized (based on the searcher’s location and the device they’re using), so video results are subject to change. Click the video to go directly to the website.

So to build solid discovery traffic, consider creating videos about:

  • Your company.
  • Your services and products.
  • What to expect. 
  • Customer testimonials. 
  • FAQs.  

A prime example of this is Instagram and TikTok, which have attracted a lot of attention in 2022. Consumers preferred  to use Instagram and TikTok to find restaurants, shopping and entertainment. 

 Through videos and images, social media directly influences experiential decision-making.

The importance of online reviews and ratings

Searchers rely on reviews and ratings when making purchasing decisions. Ratings also play an important role in maps. But with fraud on the rise, algorithms face the challenge of enforcing strict policies. 

 The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) scrapped review gating last year saying, “You can’t selectively post reviews or suppress other reviews.” I warned you not to allow this through reviews. There is also  growing concern about the lack of reviews. Google has established clear guidelines for qualitative reviews and explains why reviews can be flagged or removed. Companies are encouraged to ask for reviews, but missing reviews are more common with new listings, Blumenthal said. Therefore, we recommend that you take it slow when collecting reviews.

Local businesses need to deliver helpful content

Helpful content updates should be an important consideration for all marketers and businesses as they solve the problem of low quality content and spam. For any location-based business, accessible, relevant and up-to-date content is the golden key to success. Google Software He Engineer Ryan Levering explains the importance of making sure your content is crawlable and relevant.

 Adding location-based events using the schema or his FAQ has been observed to have  a significant impact on detection traffic. It’s important to assess your current content and results, what’s working and what’s not. 

 Google has started rolling out a content update that will help him in August 2022. In December, we updated our Quality Assessment Guidelines to introduce the following abbreviations: E-E-A-T.

  • Experience.
  • Expertise.
  • Authoritativeness.
  • Trustworthiness.

How do you audit your content to make sure it is compliant? Let’s go over a five-step process to help determine if your content is helpful. 

  • Content review: Review existing content and perform competitive gap analysis and keyword research. Content Scorecard: Evaluate your existing content to see how useful it is. 
  • Content Marketing Plan: Create a tagging plan and content calendar based on the above. 
  • Scalable Content Creation: SEO best practices content creation/optimization aligned with  business goals. Secure information, navigation and transaction coverage.  Measure impact: Help you  measure the performance of your content  through tracking and reporting.

Businesses need to know if their content is relevant, qualitative, accessible, authoritative, and experiential.

The first step for all content is to map your audience’s personas, goals, and touchpoints with a helpful content scorecard that covers:   

  • Availability: Make sure your content is discoverable and available. Are there any gaps that content or opportunities can fill? 
  •  Visibility: What is the percentage  visibility of the identified related terms? 
  •  Qualitative: Where does your content sit in terms of rich results, featured snippets, and QandA results? How can you increase the visibility of your rich search results? Companies Interviewed: How many companies have you interviewed? Are there any entity gaps? 
  •  Performance data: Organic traffic data can help you uncover  potential based on position, click-through rate, bounce rate, time on site and conversions, and transactional revenue.

By implementing topical entity-first content, brands significantly increase their visibility. 

Videos, FAQs, related images, PDFs, expert advice, and all kinds of content should be included in your helpful content strategy. As part of your content roadmap, work to map your current content to touchpoints in your customer’s journey and fill in content gaps.

Scaling and operationalizing local for multi-location businesses 

For multi-location businesses, scaling content can be challenging. Here are simple steps to help you scale. 

  • Understand all the channels your customers use to find your business: Think about all the possible stages and channels your customers use to find your business. Then create the best experience at every touchpoint across the journey. It’s important to know where your customers are, what they want, and what their intentions are. 
  •  Connect your customer touchpoints: From awareness, discovery, consideration, conversation,  final purchase to advocacy, make sure all your touchpoints are connected. 
  •  Ensure all assets and critical business information are centralized. Everything is considered content when searching. To avoid confusion within the ecosystem, all assets (images, videos, PDF files, etc.) should be centralized in the Asset Library. 
  •  Personalize and localize based on audience intelligence: Personalize your assets based on your  audience, what they need to solve a problem, and how they’re looking for an answer. 
  •  Make  assets visible across all channels: The most important thing for companies is not to create the same assets over and over again. Optimize your most important assets and make sure they’re visible across all channels. 
  •  Scalable Delivery for Multisite Enterprises: Delivery of content assets across all channels. From your website, local landing pages, and  all local channels. 
  •  Measure your impact: Compare your local presence to your competitors. Measure advanced local performance tracking (route requests, CTA clicks, call buttons, etc.) across top channels like Google, Bing, Facebook, and more.

Using AI for local 

Google uses deep learning and AI algorithms to reveal local SERPs. Businesses can leverage AI models and ChatGPT to help solve key industry problems.

  • Vision Search: Always use relevant images with the correct category label. 
  •  Content by Topic: Create a table of contents for localized content such as title, meta, keyword research, schema and synopsis. 
  •  FAQ: Research, create, and optimize frequently asked questions. 
  •  Audience Insights: Discover opportunities, patterns and insights.

Automating manual tasks with AI models is great, but  remember that deep strategy and content fine-tuning still require a human touch.

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