Find out what local consumer behaviors, new tools, and industry insights will impact your 2022 strategy.

Knowing the changes in local search throughout 2021 will help you adjust your 2022 local SEO strategy accordingly. Considering the many updates and changes coming up in 2021, what should you know?

1. Google Business Profile Made Local SEO More Convenient For Businesses
When Google rebranded Google My Business as Google Business Profile, the new moniker came with updates and new features, too.

Perhaps most impactful was that business owners no longer have to dig through an app or platform to update or correct their listings. You can add or update contact information, opening hours, add images, and more right from Google Search and Google Maps.

You can complete the verification process and address issues such as suspensions from Search, too, making it easier than ever to gain a powerful presence in the local search results.

2. Google Made It Easier To Find And Catch Up On The Latest Local News
On the back of searches for [news near me] tripling over five years across the globe, Google added features to the local SERPs to make local news easier to find and create.

The search engine also made local news stories easier to find in the SERPs with these updates:

Local News Carousel: Local news stories relevant to a user’s query now appear at the top of the SERPs, making them easier to find while giving local journalists and publications more visibility.

Top Stories Carousel: Authoritative local news sources appear alongside the major publications, which once dominated this portion of the SERPs.

More News In Search: Google improved its ability to connect the news to broad topic queries.
Local Tweets: Local publications and journalists appear in local news with tweets rather than just published stories.

3. Bing Added More Visual Elements And Rich Results
In March 2021, Microsoft Bing rolled out five updates focused on providing local searchers with a richer experience by improving the integration of visual elements with its text-based search results.

Expandable carousels give users access to additional information when they hover over a result.
Infographic-like results now entice searchers using broad queries to dig deeper into a topic.

Intuitive highlights pull details like ingredients lists, calorie counts, and nutritional information from a page without requiring the user to click through to a website.

Integrated visual search allows users to visually search for similar-looking items by clicking the integrated visual search button.

4. Everyone Gets New Attributes
It seems like Google constantly releases new attributes, and that’s for good reason.

Attributes provide proactive answers to questions searchers often have about a specific business type and are featured prominently on Google Business Profiles.

Why? Google is always looking for ways to help businesses stand out and better satisfy a query.
Features like the Black-owned or Women-owned business attributes, for example, help searchers who are looking to support businesses with shared value make these connections.

5. Local Ecommerce Got A Boost With Pointy
In June 2021, 50% of US shoppers said they planned to check online to see if an item was in stock before buying their holiday items. But even before that searches with the phrase “in stock” increased 800%.

This means adding your products to your Google Business Profile and keeping the inventory up to date are highly advantageous. Still, it can be a time-consuming feature–one that businesses don’t always have time for as sales increase.

To make it easier, Google announced Pointy integration.[sc name=”digitalmarketing”]

6. The Mobile-First Indexing Rollout Is Still Rolling Out
Mobile-first indexing has been looming since Google first announced it at the end of 2017.

Since then, there have been several expansions, stops, and starts, including the September 2020 delay in which the search engine stated it would hold off mobile-first indexation until at least March 2021.

7. New Free Local SEO Tools And Insights
Local businesses and SEO professionals looking to keep up with all the changes also gained access to some new free tools.

One of these tools, developed by the Local SEO Guide, is the Local-Pack-O-Meter. With it, SEO and business professionals can track data for ten different types of Google search features, including local packs, knowledge panels, shopping, job postings, and ads, to name a few.

Some of the insights include:

  • Referral traffic came in third behind organic and local search for ROI.
  • Referral traffic did, however, have higher engagement rates.
  • Local search gives the best ROI with the highest page views per session.
  • Rio SEO, meanwhile, has been analyzing aggregate GMB performance metrics from the over 200,000 U.S. business locations managed in its platform.
  • Each month, the brand releases a new report with vertical-specific benchmarks for Search Views, Clicks to Call, Clicks to Website, and more.

Source: Search Engine Journal