Online brand managers Yext have released a report on Local Search Trends from 2017 to 2018.
Results are based on data from a sample of 300,000 business locations - primarily in the USA but also some in Western Europe - active from 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2018.
- Consumer-business interactions increased, with new reviews per location up 87% in 2018.
- In 2018 businesses saw up to 2.7X traffic via AI-enabled 3rd-party sites - voice search, Google, Alexa, Facebook, etc. - vs. their own websites.
- Consumer actions - clicks to call, clicks for directions, clicks to website - were up 20.1% in 2018.
- Local transactional pages for subscribing, booking, ordering, etc. were used up to 30.4% more in 2018.
Conclusions drawn by Yext analysts:
- Businesses need to ensure that their local listings are accurate.
- Anticipate questions: when a consumer hasn't been able to find needed information on a local listing, provides it on a linked landing page.
- Respond to consumer feedback, create a conversation.
- Your local page is your visual merchandising for that business location - make it visually appealing, and tell people why they should do business with you.
Yext's recommendations for 2019
- Optrimize the interactions of local listings and landing pages for consumer engagement.
- Be prepared to answer consumer questions via voice and conversational AI.
- Optimize data to get answers to future questions out there.
- Remember that these findings reflect trends, not absolutes.
If you depend on, or want more of, local business - either customers coming to you like a store, or you traveling to them within a local area like a plumber, you need an effective online local presence. There's no better place to start than Google My Business. It's free, includes a free mobile app, and puts you on Google Maps (which in my opinion is the greatest thing since sliced bread).
And you should check out Yext also, especially if you have multiple locations.
FYI, neither Google nor Yext is compensating me in any way for these recommendations.