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Moz Local: As Contextual & Voice Search Grows in 2017, Local Budgets Will Expand

At the end of 2016 we asked members of the extended LSA community to tell us what they expect in 2017 for location-based marketing and media. We received a broad mix of predictions from over 50 industry professionals and compiled them into a free report.

Below are the predictions submitted by George Freitag, local search evangelist at Moz Local:

Local Will Continue to Evolve to Meet the Changing Market

The last 2 years have brought massive changes to the search landscape and local has been on the front lines. First, mobile has quickly become the predominant method by which people search for information online. Not only has this led to changes to the UX and design of local search results with the local pack becoming more prominent, but it also means that search engines have access to a new piece of contextual data that wasn’t available before; location.

As Google continues to invest in machine learning to better customize search results using contextual factors like local (as well as recent search history, current events, and social data) it will lead to better voice search results which, in turn, will boost the popularity of virtual assistants like Alexa, Google Home, Cortana, and Siri. Since nearly a third of all searches on mobile devices already have local intent, local will grow as voice search grows, resulting in a virtuous cycle.

Showing up for voice searches will soon become a vital step in the customer journey for many brands — and brick and mortar businesses that take advantage of this will see some steep growth this year. Restaurants that show up for a voice search like “I’m hungry”, for example, will start to see some serious momentum, and those who do not may start to see a slow-down.

Local Marketing Budgets Will Grow as Local Grows

Because the popularity of contextual and voice searches will lead to a new point of action in customer journeys (the point where the virtual assistant verbally suggests a local business), forward-thinking brands and agencies will invest more in local since it is such an important, bottom of the marketing funnel action.

Local search results can largely be influenced using local SEO strategies. Brands that want to be sure their business shows up for popular voice and conversational searches will choose to allocate budget to SEO and local search campaigns since they know that it will have an impact at the local level.

To access the more than 50 predictions for 2017, download the report here.

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