The future of Local SEO: Trends and Predictions is an increasingly important topic for businesses looking to establish a strong online presence. As search engine algorithms continue to evolve, local businesses and digital marketing professionals must remain ahead of the curve in order to stay competitive with their rankings in local searches. In this blog post, we will explore some key trends shaping the future of Local SEO. Let’s start.
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The Future of Local SEO : Trends and Predictions for 2023
Google Ads gives in to organic search
If you look at recent Google Search ad revenue reports, you’ll see a clear descending trend. The report published in October 2022 says that Google Ads revenue was up only by 4.25%. This indicates that businesses are shifting their focus from paid advertising to organic search results. Microsoft Bing ad revenues are doing slightly better, but do not show steady growth either: the report of October 2022 shows only a 16% increase.
Why is this happening?
The answer lies in the fact that consumers have become more aware of ads and tend to ignore them while searching for information online. They prefer clicking on the top results which appear organically on the first page of search engines like Google.
What does this mean for local businesses?
It means that investing time and resources into optimizing your website for local SEO is crucial if you want your business listing or web pages ranking higher than competitors’ sites when potential customers conduct searches related to your industry or niche. The economic forecast of the IMF is also far from optimistic: finance experts say that 2023 is likely to become the year of the great recession. Judging by previous years, paid promotion is the first thing businesses cut down on when a financial crisis is soon to come and affect profits.
To get started with improving your website’s visibility on SERPs:
Featured snippets and zero-click results
As local businesses strive to establish an online presence, it’s essential to keep up with the latest SEO trends that can impact your website’s ranking on search engines. One of the most significant trends is featured snippets and zero-click results.
What are featured snippets?
A featured snippet is a summary of an answer to a user’s query displayed at the top of Google search results page (SERP). It provides users with quick answers without having to click through any links or pages. These are also known as “position zero” because they appear above organic search results.
Featured snippets come in different formats such as paragraphs, lists, tables, videos or images depending on what type of content best answers the user’s query.
The rise of Zero-Click Results
In recent years there has been a shift towards “zero-click” searches where users find their desired information directly from SERPs without clicking through any link. According to SparkToro data analysis published by Rand Fishkin found out that over half (50.33%) of all Google searches result in no clicks whatsoever. The rise in voice assistants like Siri and Alexa have contributed significantly toward this trend since these devices read aloud featured snippet summaries when answering voice queries. This means that if you’re not optimizing for position zero rankings then you may be missing out on valuable traffic even if you rank high organically.
What to Do
Apply Schema Markup Everywhere It Is Relevant Google often uses structured data to pull information from your site and display it as a featured snippet or zero-click result. By applying schema markup, such as FAQ markup, across your web pages, you increase the chances of Google displaying rich snippets that provide users with more information about your business. You can use tools like Google’s Rich Results Test to ensure that your schema markup is valid and correctly implemented.
E-A-T Framework Remains Crucial for Local SEO Success
Expertise-Authoritativeness-Trustworthiness (E-A-T) continues as a vital factor in determining SERP rankings. Building trust through high-quality content should be at the forefront of any local SEO strategy while focusing on demonstrating expertise within your niche market. Google has recently confirmed that E-A-T is applied to every single query. Several factors contribute to E-A-T signals, including the expertise of authors, credible backlinks from sources such as Wikipedia and relevant niche websites, and mentions by niche experts and opinion leaders.
In the context of cooking and restaurants, for instance, your site’s E-A-T can be significantly enhanced by mentions from restaurants, food bloggers, and renowned cooks, whether local or global. Ultimately, the pursuit of better search engine ranking through E-A-T signals is likely to drive up the cost of SEO services.
AI content overuse
As the cost of hiring skilled authors continues to rise, SEOs may resort to cutting corners on content creation expenses. This is where AI content-generating tools come into play, as they offer a more affordable alternative to human writers (some even being free). Although these tools are continually improving, they cannot yet fully replace human authors.
It is important to note that over-reliance on AI-generated content can be risky. Lazy SEOs who rely too heavily on this approach may fall prey to Google’s helpful content update, designed to demote low-quality and spammy content.
Risks associated with overusing AI-generated content
Relying too heavily on AI-produced content may lead to webpages that lack individuality, imagination, and pertinence for your readers. Search engines are able to recognize and penalize websites that utilize AI-generated content of poor quality, leading to a decrease in local SEO rankings. This could negatively impact your local SEO efforts by causing a drop in rankings within search results.
Entities Take Over Keywords
Search engines are now prioritizing understanding the meaning and relevance of content, rather than just searching for keywords. This has led to a growing importance of entities in local SEO strategies. Entities are unique identifiers that represent people, places, or things within a specific context. Google understands content with the help of its NLP algorithms. For example, the NLP API analyzes a piece of text, identifies the most meaningful terms (entities), and defines what the text is about.
What to do
You need to make Google understand your entity the way you need, so make your entity as meaningful as you can. And here are a few steps to help you make your entity more prominent:
Google Shopping Expands Its Reach
As Google Shopping continues its expansion into ecommerce, new features are being introduced specifically for small businesses looking to compete against larger retailers online. Integration with these services is vital for continued growth within this sector.
New Features Designed for Small Business Success
The latest updates to Google Shopping have been designed with the needs of local businesses in mind. These include:
Visual Search Gains Traction
With platforms like Pinterest leading the way, visual search has become widely used among users. Businesses should prioritize incorporating high-quality imagery and interactive elements into their websites to cater to this growing trend and enhance user experience.
Interactive Elements That Support Visual Search
Beyond static images, integrating interactive elements such as videos or virtual tours can further boost your website’s appeal in visual searches. These features offer a more immersive experience while providing additional information about your business location or product offerings. Consider implementing the following:
By incorporating high-quality imagery and interactive elements that support visual search, local businesses can enhance user experience while staying ahead in the ever-evolving world of SEO trends. With a strong focus on these aspects, you’ll be better positioned to attract new customers and maintain a competitive edge in your industry.
Visual search is becoming increasingly important in local SEO, as businesses strive to create a more engaging and immersive user experience. As AI-generated images become more popular, it’s essential for businesses to maintain authenticity while leveraging the benefits of this technology.
AI-generated Images Rise in Popularity
As technology continues to advance, AI-generated images are gaining popularity among businesses and digital marketers. To achieve success in this domain, a delicate balance between automation and human input must be struck. Ensuring a mix of unique visuals created by both humans and AI can help maintain authenticity while leveraging technology advancements.
Maintaining authenticity through a balanced approach
While there are undeniable advantages to utilizing artificial intelligence for image generation tasks, it is essential not to overlook the importance of human input. A balanced approach that combines AI-generated visuals with original content created by skilled designers can help maintain authenticity and ensure a unique brand identity.
Some tips for achieving this balance include:
Frequently Asked Questions
As we look to the future of local SEO, it’s clear that Google Ads will have a significant impact on organic search. However, businesses can take advantage of this change by optimizing their ads campaigns and focusing on featured snippets and zero-click results. It’s also important to prioritize E-A-T and avoid overusing AI content while leveraging entities for better rankings.
In conclusion, staying up-to-date with these trends and predictions is crucial for any business looking to establish an online presence in their local market. By following the advice outlined, you can enhance your likelihood of success in the continually changing local SEO sphere.
If you’re ready to take your local SEO strategy to the next level, contact OptiLocal today for expert guidance and support!