Google Gemini: A New Era for Local Business Marketing and SEO?

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The world of online search is constantly changing. Keeping up with Google’s ever-evolving algorithms can feel like a full-time job. The search giant is always seeking ways to enhance the search experience, which in turn influences their ranking strategy.

Generative AI Is Here to Stay

The latest advancement that is transforming online search – and subsequently online brand optimization and local SEO – is generative AI. Earlier this month, Google announced that they were incorporating their latest generative-AI model, Gemini (formerly named Bard), into the Google search experience.

“Now, with generative AI, Search can do more than you ever imagined…This is all made possible by a new Gemini model customized for Google Search. It brings together Gemini’s advanced capabilities — including multi-step reasoning, planning and multimodality — with our best-in-class Search systems.”

Google

Because all of this is still in the early days, we can only make educated guesses on the true business impacts of generative AI tools like Google’s Gemini and Microsoft’s ChatGPT.

But there are two things we do know for sure:

  • Google Gemini, and other generative AI tools, will reshape how users find and engage with information online.
  • Local businesses will need to adapt their local SEO and marketing strategies to maintain and enhance their online presence.

Below we’ll walk through the various ways Google Gemini will impact local business marketing; based on what we’ve seen and learned so far. We’ll also discuss what can be done to keep your online presence front and center when potential customers are searching online.

Empowering Accuracy: A Boon for Local SEO

One of Gemini’s strengths lies in its ability to refine data accuracy. This is fantastic news for local SEO, where precise information is paramount. Imagine Gemini scouring the web, identifying inconsistencies in your business listings across various platforms. By ensuring your Google Business Profile and other listings are up-to-date with consistent details like address, hours and contact information, you’ll be providing a seamless experience for search engines and potential customers alike.

Personalized Search Results

Google Gemini’s AI algorithms are designed to provide highly personalized search results. For local businesses, this means search results will be more tailored to individual preferences and behaviors. To take advantage of this, businesses must optimize their online presence for local intent by ensuring their business listings are complete, accurate and up-to-date.

Beyond Keywords: Google Gemini’s Ability to Understand User Intent

Traditionally, SEO focused heavily on keyword optimization. However, Gemini’s ability to understand the nuances of natural language means it can delve deeper into user intent. Imagine a user searching for “best bakery near me.” In the past, ranking for “bakery” might have sufficed. With Gemini, local businesses with stellar reviews for fresh bread or decadent pastries might be displayed first, even if they don’t have “best” in their title. This shift emphasizes the importance of crafting content that reflects your unique selling points and resonates with your target audience.

The Rise of Richer Search Results

With its multimodal capabilities, Gemini could usher in an era of richer search results. Imagine a user searching for a local Real Estate Agent. In addition to text listings, Google might display video snippets showcasing an agent’s expertise or even highlight customer reviews in audio format. This presents an opportunity for local businesses to create engaging visual content and to solicit positive online reviews to stand out from the competition.

Enhanced Customer Insights

Google Gemini’s AI capabilities can provide deeper insights into customer behavior and preferences. The hope is that Google will share this data so local businesses can use the insights to refine their marketing campaigns, making them more effective and targeted. Understanding what drives local traffic and customer engagement can help businesses create more relevant content and offers.

How Can You Prepare Your Business for a Google Gemini-Powered Future?

While the full impact of Gemini remains to be seen, here are some proactive steps local businesses can take:

  • Consistently Update Your Google Business Profile. Local businesses should regularly update their GBP with new photos, posts, and responses to reviews to stay relevant. Regular maintenance will continue to signal to Google you are a relevant, trust-worthy business.
  • Ensure data consistency across listings. Manage your presence on platforms like Yelp, Bing, and industry-specific directories. Ensuring your business information like name, address and phone number (NAP) are accurate on the various business listing sites can build credibility.
  • Focus on high-quality content. Create content that showcases your expertise, highlights customer testimonials, and reflects your local community.
  • Prioritize Online Reviews. AI’s enhanced ability to analyze sentiment and review quality makes online reviews more critical than ever. Local businesses should encourage customers to leave positive reviews and address negative feedback promptly.
  • Embrace multimedia content. Explore creating video content that showcases your services or customer testimonials. You can leverage video content in posts (if allowed for your business category) and as images.

By following these practices, local businesses can position themselves for success in a search landscape potentially reshaped by Google Gemini. Remember, the core principles of online brand optimization and local SEO – providing valuable content and a positive customer experience – will still hold weight.

With Gemini’s arrival, the tools and strategies for local business marketing may evolve to become more data-driven, user-centric and visually engaging. Embracing these changes will not only improve visibility but also create a more engaging and personalized experience for potential customers.

If you’d like to learn more about how to make sure your digital brand presence is prepared for the way online search is transforming, schedule a free 30-minute online brand consultation. We can help make sure your Google Business Profile, Business Listings and Online Review strategies are where they should be.

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