Increase in “Near Me” Google Searches Makes Local SEO Critical

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Categories: Search Engine Optimization

Google handles billions of searches per day worldwide. These days, the majority of them will be coming from mobile users. These users look to their phones for immediate answers to their problems, something Google refers to as a “micro-moment” of need.  

In the case of finding local goods and services, search users will frequently signal their intent to visit a physical location by searching for a specific business “near me,” such as the query: “transmission repair near me.”  

These “___ near me” searches have exploded in recent years, and five times more of them happen on mobile devices compared to desktop computers, meaning people are already in their cars or on-the-go when they search. Only a small percentage of these searches result in clicks, but they can easily translate to an in-store visit and a customer transaction.

Put together, the “near me” search trend is a driving force for local business revenue, one that means small businesses must have local SEO strategies in place if they want to capture customers near them quite literally searching for a place to spend their money.

What Happens When Someone Searches for a Local Business

When looking for a local business, very few customers need to see a full website. What they actually want is the most pertinent information: store hours, location, and business offerings — like whether or not you offer specific services. 

As an example of specific service, someone may not be just searching for “bakery near me,” but may also add the qualifier “gluten-free bakery near me.” This query can absolutely pull up a bakery that is 100 percent gluten-free, but smaller bakeries — and places like grocery stores that sell some baked goods — can still rank for these searches if they include the relevant keywords on their website.

After searching for a query like “gluten free bakery near me,” the search user will be looking for a few things: 

  • Whether the store will be open during their intended time to visit
  • A phone number to possibly contact the location
  • An indication that the location can fulfill their specific need, in this case some indication in the page’s title tag, meta description or text snippet that they offer gluten-free baked goods of some sort
  • Google reviews, indicating the quality of the business
  • Whether any of the business listings stand out from others, especially in terms of reviews 

Quite often, someone will be able to glean all of this information from the search engine results page (SERP) and then close out the tab or go to a phone call without ever clicking on the business’s website.  

But, counter-intuitively, these businesses need to optimize their website in order to make their local SEO strategy work. Optimized websites will allow Google to present all of the information a customer needs and help that business win a customer over their competition. So, even if few people click on your website, how you optimize it can win you local business directly from the SERP.

How Your Business Can Rank for “___ Near Me Searches” Using Local SEO

Ranking for “___ near me” searches requires a few SEO best practices:

  • The proper schema markup on your “About Us” page, which can allow Google to quickly and accurately fetch your business name, address and phone number information
  • An updated, accurate Google My Business profile with your main business website listed
  • Keyword optimized, locally focused pages — or even separate websites — for each of your locations; try to use the specific neighbourhood for each location rather than a general region like “metro Vancouver”
  • An online review strategy in place to increase the quantity and quality of customer reviews
  • Consistent content publishing using optimized keywords, such as “gluten-free bakery in Yaletown”
  • Diligent monitoring of your key digital marketing metrics as well as your current ranking compared to competition

Many small business owners do not have the time or expertise to handle all of these tasks and excel at them. If they want to improve their digital marketing efforts and ensure they can win consistent business through local mobile searches, they can look to an expert local SEO marketing company to develop a winning strategy. Then, when people search for a business like yours near them, you will be the best one that they see!

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