7 Major SEO Updates That Will Impact Your 2022 Planning


This has been a busy year, with many developments in digital marketing.

Search engines have evolved to meet the changing information needs of consumers.

Local SEO professionals, agencies, and businesses have access to more data and new tools.

Consumers? Consumers gain more information through a seamless, rich, and engaging local search experience.

Google And Switching Consumer Buying Habits Disrupted Local Search

Many of our top local search updates this year are Google.

Google quickly reacted to the pandemic by changing consumers’ buying habits and is still the dominant player in the market.

  • Google currently enjoys an over 93.4% market share worldwide in the search engine space.
  • 84% of Local consumers use Google Search to search for local businesses. 90% of them will purchase within a week.
  • Google enabled 2 Billion connections, such as reviews and bookings between U.S. shoppers and businesses.
  • [Available near you] searches increased 100% by 2021; [now nearby me] searches rose 200% in 2021 and [along our route] searches rose 1000% in 2020.

Local SEO is a must-have for businesses. Even a tiny percentage of these searches could be life-saving for a company and can make a massive difference in the lives of those who are struggling.

This means that you need to understand the changes in local search over 2021 and adjust your regional SEO strategy for 2022 accordingly. What are the fundamental differences and updates for 2021?

  1. Google Business Profile Made Local SEO More Convenient For Businesses

Google changed its name to Google My Business, now Google Business Profile. This new moniker also includes the latest features and updates.

The most important thing was that businesses no longer needed to search through different platforms or apps to correct or update their listings. Google Search and Google Maps allow you to add, edit, or remove contact information, hours, images, and other details.

Complete the verification and address suspensions from Search issues. This makes it much easier to have a strong presence in local search results.

  1. Google Made it Easier to Find and Catch Up on the Latest Local News.

Google’s local SERPs were enhanced to help local news creators, and finders locate local information after searches for “news near me” tripled in five years.

Google launched two initiatives to assist journalists in enriching their stories with local information and data:

Census Mapper Project

Collect, analyze, visualize, and present data about a particular area.

Common Knowledge Project

View charts, geographic comparisons, and visualizations to analyze national, county, and state data.

These updates made it easier for local news stories to be found in the SERPs.

  • Local News Carousel: Local news stories relevant to a query appear at the top SERPs. This makes them easier to find and gives local journalists more visibility.
  • Top stories Carousel: These local news sources are listed alongside significant publications that once dominated this SERP section.
  • More news in Search: Google has improved its ability to connect the information to broad topic queries.
  • Local Tweets: Local journalists and publications with tweets rather than published stories appear in local news.
  1. Bing added more visual elements and rich results.

In March 2021, Microsoft Bing released five updates that aimed to provide local searchers with an enhanced experience by incorporating visual elements into its text-based results.

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  • Users can hover over results to access additional information.
  • An infographic-like result is now available to encourage searchers to use broad queries to dig into a topic.
  • Intuitive highlights details like ingredients lists and calorie count from a page without the user clicking through to a site.
  • The integrated visual search lets users search for similar items by clicking on the integrated visible search button.

These are the things that matter to local SEO professionals. Bing also used these same concepts in its local search results.

Microsoft Bing provides a visually rich SERP for local queries more than just an image carousel. It also includes text-based facts and top images.

This has made it more appealing to focus some local SEO efforts towards Bing. If they are willing to be creative, creative businesses can control the local search space.

If you don’t have it already, enhance your site and listings by adding various media types, including user-generated content.

Don’t forget to use schema

  1. Everyone Gets New Attributes

Google seems to release new attributes constantly, and it’s a good thing.

Attributes are proactive answers to searchers’ questions about a particular business type. They are prominently displayed on Google Business Profiles.

Why? Google is always on the lookout for new ways to make businesses stand out and better answer queries.

Searchers looking for businesses that share a common value with others can use features like the Black-owned and Women-owned business attributes.

Google added pandemic-related attributes to Google’s Business Profiles in February 2021.

Local businesses can now share safety information and promote new or changing services, such as curbside pick-up and no-contact delivery.

Google also includes attributes for online appointments and estimates and online classes and digital care.

Call log, messaging and access to new data and insight in Google Search and Maps keep customers engaged. This allows businesses to track customer calls and respond to missed calls.

These can all be very important for busy businesses. It would help if you looked at the many attributes that will be available in 2021. This should be one of your first local SEO tasks for the new year.

  1. Local Ecommerce Gets a Boost with Pointy

Half of U.S. shoppers stated that they would check online before purchasing holiday gifts in June 2021. However, searches for “in stock” have increased 800% even before that.

It is highly beneficial to add your products to your Google Business Profile. Also, it helps to keep the inventory current. It can still be time-consuming and businesses may not always have the time to do this feature.

Google launched Pointy Integration to make it simpler.

This new feature allows eligible U.S. retailers to have their product inventory added to Google automatically.

This keeps the product information up-to-date online and allows search engines to see what products you have.

  1. Still rolling out Mobile-First Indexing.

Google announced Mobile-first indexing at the end of 2017.

Since then there have been many expansions, stops and starts. The September 2020 delay was when the search engine said it would not index mobile-first until March 2021.

The source of the problem is that Google listed several sources, including lazy-loading and robots meta tags.


According to Google’s search statistics, 76% of people use smartphones to search for nearby items during the day. 28% of those results result in a sale.

How do you prepare?

Local businesses and marketing professionals who want to draw attention from local searchers on the go should focus on creating positive mobile experiences

  1. Free Local SEO Tools and Insights

SEO professionals and local businesses looking to keep up to date with all the changes have access to new tools.

Local SEO Guide has developed one of these tools: the Local-Pack O-Meter. It allows SEO professionals and business professionals to track data for ten types of Google search features including local packs and knowledge panels.

This tool uses approximately 60 million U.S. search queries, which Traject Data provided. It has a larger sample size, and is therefore more representative of all U.S. search queries.

With data back to May 2020, users can search the data for exciting trends and insights that will help them in their future strategies.

A research article by Milestone Inc was another great resource. It analyzed 500 location-based companies, their sessions and page views to understand better which channels have the highest ROI.

Some insights include:

  • Referral traffic ranked third after organic and local search for ROI.
  • Referral traffic had higher engagement rates.
  • Local search has the best ROI and the highest page views per session.

Rio SEO has been analysing aggregate GMB performance metrics for the more than 200,000 U.S. businesses located on its platform. The brand releases a monthly report that includes vertical benchmarks for Search Views and Clicks To Call, Clicks To Website, and other metrics.

You’ll need to look at these and other data to help you build your 2022 local SEO strategy.

What You Should Know To Create An Effective Local SEO Strategy

These seven updates are crucial for your 2022 local SEO strategy. However, they’re just one of many things that you need to keep in mind.

Local SEO is a great way to get started. Make sure your products are visible and convert in Google Search.

Large, multi-location companies should leverage the Google Merchant Center data to drive their local SEO campaigns.

Additionally, you’ll need to address any local SEO issues or problems common to the Service Area Business.



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