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2018 Trends for Local Search - January 2018

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With 2018 now here, many marketers have overhauled their strategies for the new year. 2018 will be a banner year for local search, with many new features becoming available. Here are the top 2018 local search trends and how digital marketers can integrate them into their strategy.

Google Posts

Google introduced the Google Posts feature first during the 2016 presidential campaign. Initially it was a way for voters to determine a candidate’s platform with ease. Google Posts soon opened for use by businesses, which enabled them to include timely and relevant information during local searches. In 2018, Google Posts will be a crucial component to local search. Marketers will be able to publish events, new products, promotions, and/or services directly to Google. The content will display on the Knowledge Panel and Maps areas for users, giving them quick, useful information about the latest happenings for your brand. Keep in mind that newer posts show up first and older ones get pushed down. It’s important to use Google Posts often because they only stay live for seven days. How to integrate into marketing: Google Posts is a great way to highlight promotions, sales, or your unique selling proposition. For example, if you’re running an exclusive holiday promotion or have added a new service that sets your company apart, Google Posts is a great way to announce it. When you write a Google Post, be sure to prioritize the first 100 characters, which will show in the Knowledge Panel. Don’t make users guess what your post is about. To start pushing out Google Posts, check out this great resource from Google.

Voice search

Voice search will be more critical to local search in 2018. Most smartphones, tablets, and laptops come equipped with voice search and digital assistants. Technology from Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and countless other digital assistants are popularizing voice search to streamline people’s lives. This technology enables users to search for new restaurants hands-free while driving. It’s estimated that 20% of all mobile queries in 2017 were from voice search. By 2020, that number is estimated to clock in at 50%. It’s more critical than ever for marketers to optimize for voice search to cater to these users. How to integrate into marketing: Because users are searching for answers hands-free, the queries they use differ significantly. This is where marketers need to adjust how they integrate voice search into their campaigns. Users search in a much more conversational tone during voice search. For example, the query may no longer be, “Digital Marketing Talent near city,” but “How do I find talent to improve my website?” These longtail keywords present a challenge to marketers. The best way to integrate them into marketing is offering direct answers in your website content, as well as creating a frequently asked questions page.

Structured data markups

Structured data markups have been around for a while, but they will play a more pivotal role in local search. Marketers may be used to address, website, and phone number structured-data markups, but in 2018, they will see even more data available to improve user experience. For example, Google won’t just show a local pizza joint’s address. Now it will preview the menu in the Knowledge Panel to help users determine if they want to eat there - all without leaving the search page. How to integrate into marketing: The best way to integrate structured data markups into your marketing is to meet with your SEO, Webmaster, or IT department. Coding will be necessary to structure your site’s information to better appeal to smarter local search. If you already implement structured markups, consider upgrading to new markups like employment type, job title, ratings, and more. To learn how to implement more structured data markups on your site, check out this great resource from Google.

Where will 2018 take you?

Local search will continue to evolve over time. Stay ahead of the curve with Google Posts, optimizing for Voice Search, and hire a structured data guru. Acquiring talent that has mastered these skills can set your company apart from the rest and help you get noticed. If you are ready to take on the Digital Marketing space, partner with24 Seven Talent and let us help you find talent with a mastery of these skills.