What might artificial intelligence look like for local search?

We don’t have to wonder too much because Neeva already provides AI-powered results for some local queries. For example, here’s what you get for “pest control”:

When you expand the AI ​​box, you also get a list of sources that were used to generate the text in the box, and you get something like an “AI Information Panel” on the right that has more details on each of the sources. The source listed first is displayed by default:
Information panel Neeva AI
I won’t go into how I think Neeva is creating these, because, well, so far we don’t have many incoming requests on how to rank well at Neeva, but at a high level it seems like she’s taking arguments from various pages on the site and turning them into somewhat related phrases. I don’t find these particular results very helpful as there is nothing inherently “local” about AI content. There is no phone number to call or “click here” to make an appointment, etc. And there is a local package right below it where neither Terminix nor Orkin are listed.

It’s early days, so I expect Neeva to improve this, particularly as Google and Bing launch their own versions.

So what might Google AI for Local look like? My initial guess is that it should act like a chatbot that knows a lot about helping me find what I’m looking for. For example, if I’m looking for a green top for my daughter (she likes green), she might ask me for information that can help direct me to a local business that has one she might like. Here is a simplified example:
Google AI local search idea
You might imagine that it provides additional options to buy it online, ask for your desired budget, etc.

This type of UX could help a researcher make sense of results faster. Instead of guessing the search engine’s intent, it provides an easy way for the searcher to be explicit about it.

It will be a long time before Google knows all about inventory, appointment calendars, etc., for truly local businesses, but it already knows a lot about this information for more businesses than virtually anyone else in many of the most popular categories. A chatbot to help me pick the perfect place for Valentine’s Day dinner with my wife seems like a no-brainer.

As far as monetization goes, I don’t think this kills the search ad business at all. As the searcher gets deeper into the chatbot experience, the search engine gets smarter about the intent. There seems to be opportunities for ads and ecommerce $ at every turn. So, in the Valentine’s Day example, they could show me an offer from a local restaurant. In the example above in green, they could show me an offer from Amazon, etc.

So how do you optimize for local SEO + AI?

If Neeva’s example is in the ballpark, these seem like good starting steps:

  1. Make sure that every page on your site has a clear purpose and that the text is written in the simplest possible language. Don’t let the AI ​​robot guess what you mean.
  2. Monitor what the search engine shows in the AI ​​sections for relevant searches. If your site doesn’t cover the concepts it’s showcasing, then you should probably add them to your site. I’m sure Google will roll out whatever its AI thing is, we as an industry will quickly pull it apart and start sharing all sorts of tactics to get your businesses in there.

The good news is that this doesn’t sound much different than non-AI local SEO.

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By LocalBizWebsiteDesign

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