There’s been a revolution in the online search world in recent times, and it’s lead to SEO advice that every small business owner can take advantage of.
It comes in the form of the “Near Me” search trend.
Consumers everywhere are not only searching online for things that they want and need. They’re also now insisting on finding those things near their location.
In fact, Google search interest in the phrase “Near Me’ has increased 34x since 2011 and it has doubled in the last year.
Now, when there’s a huge shift in consumer behavior of this nature, business owners need to take some serious notice.
The “Near Me” search trend is a good thing for consumers and businesses alike. It provides the consumer with a heightened online experience and it presents businesses with a massive opportunity too.
Yes. For the business owner…
To capitalize or not to capitalize?
That is the question.
Of course, the answer is yes!
Now, here are two more questions: Why do you need to capitalize on this trend? How do you do it?
In this article, we’re going to show you everything you need to know and more.
Why Your Site Needs To Be Optimized For a “Near Me” Search
Offline sales start online. This is our mantra, and it makes all the sense in the world.
If you want to convert online searches into profit you simply must optimize your website for a “Near Me” search.
And there is one compelling reason for this.
The Surge in Mobile Technologies
There has been a massive increase in on-the-go mobile consumers in the past decade. Everyone has a mobile phone, right? Simply put, smartphones have taken over the world.
The days when people had to trawl through the Golden Pages for a local business are well and truly over. Coupled with this, consumers are no longer stuck behind a desk scanning the internet on their desktop or laptop.
Why Does This Matter?
It matters greatly because the modern customer is on the move. He or she is out and about, and, more importantly, he or she is in the moment. They’ve got their wallet or purse in one hand and their smartphone in the other.
The number one concern of the mobile customer is immediacy. They want your product, and they want it now. So, if you’ve optimized your site for a “Near Me” search (Eg Italian Restaurant “Near Me”) your business will show up in the results they want.
Google and other search engines such as Bing and Yahoo, make this easy for businesses. They grab your customer’s exact location via the GPS on their smartphone and their algorithms take care of the rest.
In this way, optimizing your site for a “Near Me’ search is an absolute must. Anything else and you’re just throwing away money.
Other Reasons Optimizing for “Near Me” is a no-brainer
There is a whole host of other important reasons why businesses need to capitalize on the “Near Me” trend.
Here’s just a few:
- More Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in the U.S. These users are in your locality actively shopping for your product.
- In recent research released by Google, 80% of users cited how important relevance was in their search use. 4 out of 5 people stated that they want search ads to be customized to their city, zip code or immediate surroundings.
- In other Google research, it was found that 50% of consumers who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a store within a day. And guess what? A whopping 18% of those searches lead to a purchase within a day.
- This site has been well optimized for Health and Technology.
These trends are not just showing up across the Google network. Facebook shows the need for clever “Near Me”optimization too.
The Facebook Events Mobile App has a list of local music, food and drink, nightlife and sporting events based on searches within given cities. Facebook says that 450million people use this feature every month and, it has only been available in certain places up to now.
How Do You Optimize Your Site?
Aside from getting the most clinical, up-to-date advice from the experts, here are five quick things you can do immediately to optimize your site for a “Near Me” search.
1. Be Mobile Friendly
Your website and all of its content simply must be friendly to use on all mobile devices. Now and forever.
If customers are not happy with the way your site looks or feels, or if your website is not easy to navigate using a smartphone, they will quickly move on to the next site – no questions asked.
2. Index Your Business Location Details
You should index your business name, its address and its phone number within your website and on every page you can. This will increase visibility in search engines for your location.
3. Seek Reviews
Encourage your customers to leave Google reviews about your business or service. Positive Google reviews can dramatically increase your chances of inclusion in the local search “3 Pack” and may result in a page one listing. If you have Reviews from employees, that are of a political, or that are blackmail type reviews check out a great article on How to delete a Google Review.
4. Use Google Adwords’ Location Extensions
Google provides you with the chance to appear as a listing when a customer looks for a service or product ‘nearby’. In order to take advantage of this and become part of this ad format, you must use location extensions.
5. Include Structured Data in Your Name, Address and Phone Profiles
Using structured data on your site is helpful to search engines. If you’re not familiar with this term, a good marketing advisor will prove invaluable.
In a nutshell, structured data makes things clear and understandable and allows the search engine to do its work on your behalf.
Combined with this, various bits of your structured data can then be used by search engines on their results page. This is something you dearly want if consumers are searching for something nearby.
Our SEO Advice? Optimize for that “Near Me” Search
Now, if your head is spinning or you think any of this is too complicated, we are here to help.
But whether you need that help or not, remember this: The consumer world may be very big but small businesses can make it so that it’s very small.
The customers you are seeking are also seeking you.
They just need to be able to find you.
And they need to be able to find you in seconds, as soon as they take that smartphone out of their pocket.
Optimizing your website may not be the holy grail of marketing, but it sure is making its mark, now and into the future.
Perhaps the time has come, for you and your business to make your mark too.