For small business owners, local search is essential. It’s how homeowners find you when they need your services the most. In fact, 60% of local searches lead to direct contact with the business in question. But what if the rules of local search are changing? Generative AI and ChatGPT bots are new techs that might just shake up how your business shows up in Google’s local searches. With these advancements, the way your services rank on Google could be different. It’s more crucial than ever to keep an eye on tracking local SERPs; a fancy way of saying you need to watch how your business ranks in search results. Let’s get started and see how these changes could help or challenge your business.

Local Search and Its Impact on Small Businesses

Google has long been the go-to for anyone trying to find just about anything. Over the years, this giant has fine-tuned its search engine to cater precisely to those looking for quick solutions nearby. Showing up in these search results has become crucial to being visible right where and when people need you.

Local SERPs, which simply mean the pages you see after searching for something nearby, are vital for small businesses. They are the bridge that connects your business with homeowners in your area looking for the services you offer.

For instance, when someone’s AC breaks down in the middle of a heatwave, they’re likely not going to scroll through pages of search results; they’ll call one of the top businesses that pop up immediately.

The trends in local marketing have shifted more towards precision and personalization. Google has continuously updated its algorithm to prioritize local businesses that have good reviews and accurate, up-to-date information. This means that your rank position can significantly affect the number of calls and leads that you receive.

Generative AI and ChatGPT

Generative AI can create new articles or even conversations, just by learning from loads of data it has seen before. ChatGPT, made by OpenAI, is an industry leader in this realm. It can chat with you, giving responses that sound like a human would.

Now, imagine this kind of AI helping out in search engines. Today, when you look something up, especially local services, you type in keywords and get a list of links. But with AI like ChatGPT, searching could get a lot smarter. Instead of just giving you links, it might understand what you’re looking for and give you a clear, direct answer right away.

For businesses, this could shake things up a bit. The old ways of SEO might not be as important. With AI in the mix, what might matter more is how well your website talks about your services in a way that sounds natural and answers common questions.

If ChatGPT starts to be a big way people search for local services, it could give a boost to smaller businesses that adapt fast. Being quick to use these new tools could help you show up higher in search results, even above bigger companies that aren’t catching on as quickly.

Tracking Local SERPs in the Age of AI

For any small business owner in the home services industry, knowing where you stand in Google’s search results, or SERPs, is key. This is how new customers find you when they need help the most. But as AI technology like ChatGPT gets involved, keeping track of your search rank becomes even more important.

Why Track SERPs?

When a homeowner’s furnace stops working in the middle of a cold snap, they’re likely going to Google something like “furnace repair near me.” If your business pops up in the top few results, that could mean a new customer for you. That’s why tracking where you rank in these search results can make or break your business. You need to know you’re showing up right where people are looking.

AI Changes the Game

ChatGPT and other AI technologies are starting to change how search works, but they’re not just copying old methods. Unlike Microsoft’s Bing, which struggled to catch up to Google by following its lead, OpenAI (the company behind ChatGPT) is trying to transform the way we use search engines. They’re working on making searches smarter and more conversational, which could mean big changes for local search. Imagine a search tool that answers your questions directly, using everyday language instead of just listing links. For local businesses, this could mean that the way to get noticed by search engines might start to focus more on having helpful and clear answers rather than a lot of keywords.

Practical Tips for Local Marketing in a Changing World

  1. Start by making your website’s language more natural and conversational. It makes your site more enjoyable for customers to read and interact with and matches how ChatGPT behaves. Think about the common questions your customers have, and try to answer these straightforwardly on your site.
  2. Keeping up with SEO changes is also key. As Google starts favoring AI-friendly content, you’ll want to keep your website’s information fresh and relevant.
    • Update your pages often
    • Use terms that are trending in your field
    • Revise older content to keep it new
  3. It’s also smart to keep an eye on the latest updates from Google. Quick changes to your website after an update can help you beat competitors to the punch.
  4. Quality content matters, too. You need to provide useful information that addresses your customers’ problems since good content like this draws in readers and tells AI that your site is helpful.
  5. Keep your social media lively, encourage customers to leave reviews, and respond to their comments. AI notices this kind of engagement and will see your site as more trustworthy and valuable.

SEO in a Changing Digital Landscape

As AI reshapes the world of local search, tracking local SERPs becomes essential for small businesses aiming to thrive. Adapting quickly and optimizing your online strategies are key. At Optic Marketing Group, we listen to your goals and vision so that we can craft a strategy that works for you. Let us help you navigate local SERPs and boost your visibility. Reach out to Optic Marketing Group today.