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Our solutions are systems that deliver search results without constant effort. Set it up and let the technology do the work.

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Learn

Stay up to date with local search trends with content our experts have created to demystify SEO.

About Us

Locafy is a growing company that has been in the martech and web technology industry for over a decade. Get to know us!

Local Search Trends 2022

Alayna Moxness

Director of Marketing

Alayna loves an adventure. She loves to travel, go on road trips, and always seems to get herself in situations that make for a crazy story. She's an avid reader, wine-drinker, and always appreciates a charcuterie board.

Search engine optimisation, and more specifically, local search optimisation is dynamic and constantly changing making annual local search trends essential to follow.

Local Search Trends 2022

As all businesses do, search engines are working to get to know their customers. When you Google something, their goal is to provide the searcher with the best results. And what are the ‘best results’? Those that are relevant to the searcher, prominent in the industry, and close to the searcher in proximity. And on the searcher side, that’s what we all want right?

On the business side, it’s hard to keep up with all of the changes. 2021 went by fast and there were lots of search engine optimisation updates to keep up with. With change happening so fast, what’s sticking around and what can you expect of local search trends in 2022?

1. Search Intent

Over the last year, Google has taken a special interest in what people are trying to achieve when they use the search engine for their query - or simply, what their search intent is. Think about it like this, Google is trying to give searchers exactly what they are looking for, exactly when and where they are looking for it.

The impact of search intent on the business side? Demand generation is highly benefited by engagement with content that matches customer search intent.

Think about the last time you made a Google search. Was it to find a restaurant to go to? Maybe it was to book a dentist appointment. Or maybe, it was just to end an argument using an article written by an expert. Regardless of what that intent was, you likely wanted to find your answer quickly without a lot of annoying scrolling.

Backlinko will divide search intent into four different categories, all creating unique opportunities for businesses:

  • Informational
  • Commercial
  • Navigational
  • Transactional

Informational searches allow businesses the opportunity to become the topic expert in the industry. This is a fantastic long term strategy to increase brand recognition and trust.

Commercial is when people are looking to purchase something. An example of this is ‘buy a new car’ or ‘where to buy comfortable office furniture’. With that level of intent, businesses will want to get on top of the search result.

Navigational searches are when people are looking for a specific page on a website. This could be a case study or pricing page. Though these will not bring in major traffic, they are the main source people trust, instead of third party websites.

Transactional may seem synonymous with commercial. The key difference is the stage in the buying process. Transactional is when the searcher is thinking about buying something and are looking at all of the options. This means there is plenty of room for comparative content and feature-focused content.

Local Search Trends 2022 - Search Intent
For businesses, focusing on search intent can open up opportunities for brand recognition and trust, increased website traffic, and improved online sales.

In an episode of Google’s The Update, Mary Ellen Coe, President of Google Customer Solutions, talks about how people are searching differently. 56% of people have tried new brands out of necessity due to the pandemic, meaning businesses should be jumping at the chance to get in front of customers.

Local Search Trends 2022 - Search Intent
Coe also addresses the problem of lead generation quality. One of the main takeaways is when the business focuses on search intent with the right message at the right time they are able to increase customer satisfaction and lifetime value. A business dream.

2. User Experience

Google likes websites that are made with people, known as users, in mind. Remember, Google wants their searchers to find exactly what they are looking for with the least amount of friction possible.

What this means is website copywriters and designers need to focus on what the user wants from the page. Similar to user intent, focusing on user experience is getting the type of information the user is looking for right in front of them easily.

Local Search Trends 2022 - User Experience
So what are searchers trying to find? If they get to your website, they are looking for how to do something, why they should do it, and what will help them achieve it. Oh, and the timeline to do those things is likely ‘right now’.

When put that way, the copywriters and designers should start to think about making the message clear, concise, and visually interesting without being distracting.

You may be thinking to yourself: “But isn’t that a pretty subjective task? I think that my content is perfect (or close to it).”

That’s where Core Web Vitals come into play. Core Web Vitals are Google’s ranking signals that measure speed, responsiveness, and the stability of images and other visual aspects of the website.

Google Search Console is one of the most efficient ways to monitor Core Web Vitals and the overall performance of SEO for your business’ website. Getting familiar with all of the tools available to you is something Google has created quite a few course-like videos about so that you can start today.

3. Content

Content... Still?

If you’ve spent even the smallest amount of time around marketing people, you’ll hear the phrase ‘content is king’. Google still and will continue to agree with the emphasis placed on content.

Local Search Trends 2022 - Content

When we talk about online content, we are talking about a big list of things. Website content, blog content, resource content (like whitepapers and case studies), video content, social media content, etc.

Sound like a lot? Well yes and no.

The great thing about a strong piece of content (otherwise known as a ‘pillar piece’) is that it can be reused and repurposed a lot. One strong blog can be used in video content, quotes can be taken for social media, graphics from the blog should be branded and used on posts all over, and more. It’s all about getting creative and resourceful.

Local Search Trends 2022 - Topic Clusters

Pillar content is something marketing specialists like Gary Vee talk about quite a lot. You can find tons of resources about the best ways to create this type of content and the underlying strategy around it. HubSpot is a great place to start!

Google EAT

When creating content for local search, three words come to mind: expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. These three words are otherwise known as Google EAT. Though this is not a new concept, Google has continued to double down on these content qualities especially in the specific geographic location where the searcher is.

Businesses have to prove their expertise by having resources with the information people are looking for. There has to be reason to believe the business is reliable and relevant in the field. Even more importantly, there has to be confidence in the information that is being delivered.

But what does that mean?

Creating content should go back to understanding customer intent. Your content should be answering a question, delivering solution options, or maybe showing someone how to do something.

Whatever it is you are trying to achieve, the audience should be able to tell right away. On your website, your copy should tell your customer exactly what they need to know. Your blogs should have navigation to help the reader get to the answer they are looking for most. Videos should have an agenda and contain timestamps.

As a content creator, your goal is to deliver exactly what the audience wants to find. Aside from delivering that answer in a clear and concise way, you’ll want to back up that answer with additional information so that they know where to go if they want it.

Local Search Trends 2022 - Google EAT

Keywords

By now you probably already know about keywords in content marketing. These go along with understanding search intent because you want to know what your audience is searching for.

You’ll typically want to have one main keyword and secondary keywords to back it up. For example, in a blog, you’ll want to use one main keyword and one to two long-tail keywords to try to pinpoint what the 3-5 word phrase your audience is searching for. Google has a great ability to use context to give your content more authority if it recognizes your content delivers information with keywords all relating to each other.

One word of caution is that keyword stuffing can actually hurt your ability to rank. Just try not to overuse your keyword where it does not feel natural.

A local search trend that you may not have thought of? Include your geographic location in your content.

4. Google Business Profile (GMB)

When you do a Google search that is associated with a product or service a business offers, you’ll typically notice a result like below:

Local Search Trends 2022 - GMB

These results show Google Business Profiles (formerly known as Google My Business).

With a Google Business Profile, your business can be listed on Google Maps and business listing data can easily be accessed on search results without having to go into the business’ website. Important data like the address, phone number, hours of operation, website, and reviews populate when someone is searching.

Google Business Profile is more than just a listing. GMB listings give Google the information people are searching for, for the location where they are. With Google’s core focus on Proximity and delivering local-focused results, setting up a complete Google Business Profile is best practice for local search findability (and to stay up to date with local search trends in 2022).

5. Zero Click Results and Google Snippets

Did you know that in 2020, nearly 65% of searches resulted in zero clicks. That means, nearly 65% of people got the answer they were looking for directly on the results page.

This trend has not shifted over the last year and will continue to rise in importance for local search in 2022.

How do you take advantage of this local search trend? The first thing to do to set your business up to be found in a zero click search is to make sure your Google Business Profile is set up with complete information. That includes your business data, location, and images. Remember, a picture says a thousand words (but still include alt-texts too).

Local Search Trends 2022

The second tip to get found on a zero click search is to optimise your site for schema.org. In a very simplified description, schema markup makes sure all of the ingredients Google likes to see are embedded into your website.

Local Search Trends 2022 - Structured Data Testing Tool

Another way to get a zero click search result is to put out content that shows as a feature snippet.

Local Search Trends 2022 - Featured Snippets

A feature snippet can be from a web page, a blog, or another piece of written content. This is what Google has identified as the best and most relevant answer to a specific search query. Remember, Google’s job is to show the searcher exactly what they are looking for, as fast and as easily as possible so a feature snippet with the best answer is like winning as an expert.

The way to get a feature snippet? Optimise your content for quick and to the point answers. This may mean a list or a concise one line response.

How does this local search trend impact businesses? Well your Google Business Profile showing up as the best soup and sandwich restaurant in the area may lead to a new customer on that day.

Being shown as the feature snippet could lead to your business being trusted for other questions or services they need when they can’t do it themselves.

7. Mobile Optimisation

Most of us are attached to our smartphones and use them frequently for our own personal pocket encyclopedia of every answer we could possibly ever need. When we’re out and about and want to know what year man landed on the moon, we ask our smartphone. When you are having a heated discussion with your uncle and need to settle what year Led Zeppelin put out their first album, you can find out you’re wrong on the spot.

When it comes to search engine optimisation and more importantly to us, local search trends, mobile optimisation is key. Mobile searches have grown to 54.8% of total searches in 2021. This is a 23.64% increase from the first quarter in 2015 and we do not see this number slowing down in 2022.

Local Search Trends 2022 - Mobile Optimisation

With mobile optimisation, the first step is to make sure your site is seamless and is responsive and mobile-friendly. If you go onto a website and only see half of what you’re supposed to on the screen, it’s not mobile friendly. If the call to action looks broken on a smartphone, it’s not mobile friendly.

The best way to make sure everything looks good (and is mobile optimised for Google) is to ensure the site is built on a reliable platform and that it has been tested on desktop, mobile, and tablet devices.

Though it’s not new to search engine optimisation, speed is another factor that goes into findability online. No one wants to wait more than a few seconds for a website to load, especially when they are on the go looking for the best local option.

8. Automation

The goal of technology has been to make everything easier. We don’t know about you, but SEO has never felt all that easy. There are all sorts of articles, videos, downloads, and everything in between that help to explain everything. In reality, it takes testing, knowledge, and time to get SEO results.

That’s why in 2022, SEO automation is projected to be one of the biggest game changers. Tools that help automated SEO like automated content, on-page SEO scripts, and a variety of other incredible things that will help deliver meaningful results.

Neil Patel, one of the leading experts in search engine optimisation explains how automation will work to make things easier.

Conclusion

When it comes to staying with the times to have your business being found online, understanding the local search trends is the best way to get your business found where it matters most - in front of your customers.

Getting started with the small things like claiming your business’ Google Business Profile, making sure your website is mobile friendly and answers questions in a quick and concise way are a couple ways to jump higher in local search results.

Looking for more local search tips and tricks? Subscribe to our blog to find out more and get found locally faster.

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