Local Search Developments from Q1 2024

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How significant? Enough that Near Media needed to produce a visual glossary to help us all understand what the new elements are. Their outlet is doing a great job at tracking the ongoing evolution of what appears to be Google’s response to the requirements of the Digital Markets Act, which went into full effect in 2023. Watch a video demo here.

As Near Media reports:

“The six companies designated as “gatekeepers” under the DMA, Google, Microsoft, Apple, Meta, ByteDance (TikTok), Amazon, must be in compliance by March 6, 2024.

That includes not giving preferential treatment to their own products or services vs. third-party competitors. Google has thus created a modified search results page and new search features for the 27-country European Economic Area across several verticals: Local, Travel, Products and Jobs.”

The upshot is that whether your clients or business locations are based solely in Europe or are global with some locations in Europe, you need to study these new SERPs to understand how consumers there are experiencing search. We look again to Near Media for early reporting on the impacts of these changes and also a good tip from Mike Blumenthal that North American agencies for whom European local search is critical can invest in the Nord VPN to experience overseas search.

It’s good news that European regulators are taking a strong stance on matters of anti-trust, privacy, and fairness, but it will be a bit more work for SEOs to study markets with differing search experiences.

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