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Google’s Local Search: What’s New?

As we reach the second half of the year, we take a deep dive into the happenings of the Google’s latest update with local search and more. From the launch of Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) to a flurry of Google Business Profile (GBP) updates, bugs, and algorithmic changes, the month was filled with noteworthy developments. In this roundup, we explore the latest updates, discuss their implications, and analyze the potential reasons behind these shifts, providing valuable insights for businesses navigating the dynamic world of local search.

Updates and New Features From Google

  • New Conversion Options in Google Ads: Google Ads introduces GBP-related conversion options, including GBP Call, Tracked Call, and Learn More conversions, enabling businesses to track the impact of their ad campaigns on their Google Business Profiles.
  • Live Chat Availability on GBP: Google tests a “Chat with live agent” button for select business profiles, offering users the opportunity to engage in live chat if the business has enabled Messages and utilizes a third-party tool.
  • Sharing Recent Maps Searches: Users can now share links to their recent map searches, enhancing user experience but requiring further observation regarding its impact on business performance.
  • GBP Tests: Various GBP tests surface, such as a sponsored listings label on maps, a “pending” edit label indicating profile changes awaiting approval, and a label in the Map Pack indicating unverified reviews.

Reasons Behind The Changes:

  • Evolving User Expectations: Google continues to refine its services to align with user expectations. The prioritization of the Services button in Google Maps search results reflects Google’s emphasis on delivering relevant results tailored to users’ specific needs.
  • Social Media Influence: Google draws inspiration from popular social media platforms, evident in the test of a sliding carousel for images on GBP profiles, enhancing visual appeal and engagement.
  • Bug and Glitch Resolution: The month saw the emergence of various bugs, including image rejections, blanked-out screens during post editing, and glitches related to inviting new owners and managing profile settings. All in all, Google is actively addressing these issues to provide a smoother user experience.
  • Algorithmic Changes: Local search experts observed a significant drop in local packs, particularly on commonly searched terms that typically generated local pack results. Algorithmic adjustments may be responsible for these ranking disruptions.

This recent update brought a plethora of updates and challenges in the local search landscape. From new conversion options in Google Ads to live chat availability on GBP and various tests, businesses must stay agile to leverage these developments effectively. Additionally, the resolution of bugs, potential algorithmic changes, and Google’s alignment with user expectations shape the evolving local search ecosystem. In conclusion, by staying informed, adapting strategies, and embracing new features, businesses can navigate these changes and position themselves for success in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

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