When consumers are searching for near me keywords, they are not just looking for information but are likely to be closer to making a quick, on the spot decision. According to a research, 50% of the consumers who conduct a local search on their phones visit the business within 24 hours of performing the search and 18% of the local searches lead to a purchase. With a world of information at the fingertips of a consumer, they like to make well-informed decisions and near me searches help in this regard. A huge portion of millennial is likely to search for a restaurant within the hour.
According to Google, the popularity of the local searches doubled in 2015 and has been on the rise ever since. The search phrases containing ‘Near me’ and ‘Nearby’ have been used a lot by the users with 80% of these searches coming from the mobile users. With the search results not necessarily showing the typical ad copies, the local searches often come with a unique call to action buttons such as ‘Get Directions’ or ‘Click to Call’ buttons.
While performing local searches on Google, it often displays the top three most popular results from the area. However, these results may or may not be relevant to the person performing the search. For example, your search for ‘restaurants in Miami’ and the top 3 results that are displayed are from the other side of the city. This is where near me searches come into play. When performing the ‘near me’ searches, Google takes into account the location of the person (for which their GPS needs to be on in the location settings) performing the search and displays the results relevant to them.
Although the exact algorithm for ranking businesses for the near me searches is still unclear there are a few steps that a business should take in order to optimize their website for location so it can rank well.
- UPDATE GOOGLE LOCAL BUSINESS PAGE LISTING
Showing up as a Google Local Business is a great way to increase search visibility. Getting your business listed on Google Local Business is easy. Just go to https://www.google.com/business and follow the process.
For example, a person in the DC area is looking for a coffee shop to have coffee at and searches ‘coffee shop near me’. The result that would appear would be as shown below:
If you click on the first search result the following box would appear giving you an option to find directions to the necessary details about the business like the website, business hours, address and phone numbers of the place. It also includes pictures from the users that were taken at the business place.
- DISPLAY BUSINESS NAME & ADDRESS ON THE WEBSITE
It is absolutely essential to have your latest/current address displayed on your website accurately. The consistency of the information is also necessary. The business should use schema markup for this information including all data like address, region, postal code and state. Updating this helps Google pick up your address easily and helps identify the potential customers to show it to.
Below is one of the results of an online search of online boutique near me by a resident of Lake Mary, for example. The address and necessary information being displayed by Sophie and Trey, a clothing store based in Lake Mary, Florida appear in the search. All the necessary information has been provided and as you can see on the left side of the screen, it has been indexed by Google too.
- CONSISTENCY OF INFORMATION
Being consistent with the information that you share with your users as well as your business listings helps Google display the most accurate information about your business to the people who are searching for it. If you display an incorrect or outdated address on any listing, you risk confusing Google which inevitably results in the users getting confused, too. This can be done manually or by using a service that can tally your listings across the web.
- MAKE CUSTOMER FEEDBACK VISIBLE
Google, now, takes into account the reviews of a business in its local searches. The process to review a business through Google has been made very simple through an option within the Google Maps. Having a number of positive reviews about your business leaves a ‘good impression’ on Google. Another important factor to keep in mind is that Google relies heavily on the reviews left through its applications rather than the third party reviews such as Yelp. Responding to the client reviews is also a key factor in helping your business get noticed on Google.
Another thing that we noticed recently is that the reviews left by Google Local Guides hold great weightage in the reviews and are often displayed on the top. This is great news for businesses as they can approach the Google Local Guides and get them to review their products/services. An example of Trader’s Coffee House is shown below:
With Google search trends also indicating a rise in the ‘near me’ searches it is impossible to ignore these keywords when devising your SEO strategy.
As you can see from the Google Trends above, the rise in the search term continues to grow. Below is the data about related topics and related queries for ‘near me’ search results:
Restaurants, retail and food industries are the top related topics. It is evident from the above shown stats that near me searches have almost become impossible to ignore.
“Consumers have never been more informed because that information lies in the phone in their pocket, in their purse, or on their body,” says Annie Zipfel, senior vice president of marketing at REI.
The above-mentioned steps that can be taken to help boost you near me rankings would certainly help if implemented correctly. These keywords are not to be taken lightly anymore and can have a huge impact on your business and its standing.
“Consumers today, especially with the technology they have available, they expect immediacy,” says Serena Potter, group vice president of marketing strategy at Macys.com. “I think search is really one of those tools that allow them to quickly find exactly what they’re looking for and better understand where it’s available.”