As we get ready to step into 2024, it's a time to look back at and reflect on everything that's happened in local SEO over the past year. Doing so, we can see that the coming year is shaping up to be one of the most exciting yet for the industry!
There have been plenty of big launches and developments in local SEO since the beginning of 2023 that will continue to shape local SEO trends and best practices into next year and beyond. So, we wanted to take a minute to put together a quick guide with some insights into what we think will be the top local SEO trends to keep an eye on in 2024.
Whether you're a local business owner or a digital marketing or SEO professional, understanding what these local SEO trends mean and learning to take advantage of them can help you start off the new year on the right foot — a step ahead of the competition!
Our Top Local SEO Trends for 2024
With more competition in local markets than ever, local businesses will increase their focus on hyperlocal targeting to refine their audience reach in 2024.
Thanks to advancements in local rank tracking and other marketing tools, businesses can more easily analyze their positions, compare them with those of the competition, and adjust their local SEO strategies to target users within a super specific radius.
In some cases, this might mean implementing optimization strategies to outrank the competition in an area as small as a certain commercial district or even a specific city block.
Such hyperlocal targeting allows businesses to ensure that their marketing efforts are highly relevant to both search algorithms and the local community. It also makes it possible to leverage precise location-based data to deliver personalized content, including offers and promotions, to potential customers right when and where they need it.
With the launch of Apple Business Connect, Apple's version of Google Business Profile, back at the beginning of 2023, it's now possible for businesses and local SEO experts to incorporate optimizations for Apple Maps into their local SEO strategies.
While Apple Maps is still nowhere close to having the local search market share of Google Maps, data shows that iOS users are increasingly going back to using Apple Maps as their preferred navigation app on iPhones and other Apple devices, after about 11 years of Google Maps domination.
The launch of Apple Business Connect and the increasing number of Apple Maps users means that, although Google Business Profile is still going to be the top dog when it comes to local listing SEO, we're definitely going to be hearing more about optimizing Apple Maps listings in 2024.
AI in Rank Tracking
Another exciting local SEO trend, and one of our favorites, to keep an eye on in 2024 is the integration of AI and machine learning technologies into local rank trackers.
AI-powered rank tracking tools, with features like Local Falcon AI, have the power to democratize local SEO by providing intelligent recommendations for optimizations that business owners and marketers alike can implement right away.
In other words, local rank tracking and local SEO will be more accessible than ever to people of all experience levels. This accessibility and AI's virtually unlimited potential means that local rank tracking AI is set to take on more of a central role in the world of local SEO in the new year and beyond.
Voice Search Optimization
The prevalence of voice-enabled devices and our modern-day on-the-go culture have made optimizing for voice search a necessity, and this is another local SEO trend that's set to continue next year.
In 2024, local SEO will see a surge in businesses adapting their content to match the conversational tone of voice queries.
What this means in practice is that local businesses will focus more on incorporating natural language into their website and listing content, optimizing for long-tail keywords, and providing accurate and concise answers to common voice search queries related to their products or services.
Mobile-first indexing is not a new concept, but its importance will continue to grow in 2024. Local SEO efforts will increasingly focus on optimizing websites for mobile devices to meet the evolving criteria set by Google and other search engines.
With Google's emphasis on mobile user experience in its ranking algorithms, businesses will need to work continuously to ensure that their websites are not only mobile-friendly, but also offer the fastest possible loading times and an overall seamless user experience.
Social Signals and Local SEO Rankings
Social media is an integral part of people's lives, and search engines are taking more and more notice of it when it comes to determining local search rankings. Despite Google not using social media as a ranking factor, other search engines like Bing have stated that social media and social signals, such as likes, shares, and comments are something they look at.
In 2024, social signals will likely have a more significant impact on local search rankings, meaning local businesses will need to make sure to actively engage with their local audience on social media platforms, encouraging social signals and building a strong online community.
Overall, the integration of social signals into more local SEO algorithms will reinforce the importance of a robust social media presence for local businesses.
2024 promises to be an exciting year for local SEO, with technological advancements, shifting consumer preferences, and the ever-changing local ranking algorithms driving significant changes.
Businesses that adapt to these trends and proactively embrace the evolution of local SEO will better position themselves for lasting success in the competitive world of local digital marketing.
So, make sure to stay informed, stay agile, and, most importantly, stay local in your approach to SEO for local businesses!