Consumer searches for locations are growing. It has become critical to have your business on the map and to let customers know you’re there.
A recent survey by Search Engine Land claims that 82 percent of smartphone shoppers are using near me searches, and 90 percent of those are clicking on the first few listings.
Another article, this one by the VP of Marketing at Google, reveals some incredible search statistics. Near me, searches have grown over 900 percent for some services and searches including, “near me/near me tonight.”
Googles “near me” algorithm is no longer about people looking for a specific place. It’s about helping the consumer find exactly what they need and not just where they need to go. That’s why, today, we’re digging into how you can get found in more near me searches.
Here’s a short podcast overviewing this content –
Where to Start – Google My Business
Optimizing for a new strategy is never simple, and it’s often overwhelming. Here’s the best place to start: Google my business. Google, my business doesn’t need to be as tricky as it might feel. One of the best ways to optimize your Google my business page is to fill out all the appropriate fields. By doing this, you are helping your business to become more searchable on map apps and Google.
One thing that can hurt your Google my business listing is if you have an old account. Be sure that you don’t have any duplicate content. You want to have your current and correct business name, and you want it to be consistent throughout the web.
Use your local phone number, be sure to have your correct address, and again, make sure the information is consistent throughout the web.
Verify Your Business
Google actually offers a service that not many small businesses are aware of. To verify your location and place of business, you can have Google verify your business by sending a letter to the address you’ve provided in the listing. This is a huge step in helping your business to rank in Google’s near me searches.
Along with physically verifying your business address, you’re going to want to check and be sure that you are linking the correct URL’s. If you have different locations, you’re going to want to be sure to have all the correct web links so that no one is ever thrown off.
Business Hours, Description, and Photos
It’s always helpful to add business hours for your customers. This will help to legitimize your business and get more conversions when people do find you.
A compelling and well-written description that touches on who you are, as well as what you offer, is fundamental. You might notice that not a lot of people are doing this currently, which makes it a great place to focus attention if you’re trying to beat out some competitors.
Every customer likes to see photos. These can be photos of your products/services or photos of your physical building/space. Don’t worry about a picture always looking perfect. In this case, it’s better to have a bad picture than no picture at all.
Yes, I did say real. Don’t waste your time faking a review, get out there, and get some real ones. You’d be surprised by how many customers are willing to give you a review if you ask. And, if you ask for a review often, the customers are more likely to provide a better review.
52 percent of customers read those reviews every time and make their decision based on the review.
Also, be sure to answer the reviews. A simple “thank you for your business” will suffice and shows that you are an involved and caring business owner.
Using schema to mark up your standard HTML code can help Google index and advertise special events and other special activities at your office. Coding can get complicated. If you’re not ready to figure this out, that’s okay. You can always reach out to us at Hook Agency with any questions! If you are interested in seeing more of what Schema can do, check out this article by Moz.
It seems to be one of the biggest trends in marketing over the last couple of years, yet people still aren’t getting it… Your site has to be optimized for mobile! People are searching on there phones more than ever and most people searching for “near me” are on mobile because they’re on the go and wanting the best solution.
Your site must be optimized for mobile. The days of getting by are over, and you’re losing business every day that your website isn’t optimized. Google’s algorithm updates are getting more and more strict about mobile-friendliness, and you can bet that at some point, sites that aren’t mobile-friendly are going t struggle to be found at all.
Anchor Text From Other Sites
Everyone needs more content. Every day there millions of blogs being written and published, yet people are still looking for writers. A practice that will help you is to get some good inbound links to your site. One strategy that you might consider trying is reaching out to other local business owners and offering to write a blog post for their website. By doing this, you can include a link to your site.
If you use the name of a city in the anchor text that links to your site’s page, you’ll give your site a boost and show up in more “near me” searches.
City Landing Pages
No matter how many cities you serve, it’s worth it to have landing pages for each one. While ultimately, it would make the most sense to have Google my business pages for each city, it does still help to have landing pages. It’s good to note that if you don’t have a physical location in those different cities, then you shouldn’t be creating Google my business accounts for those cities. Just stick to landing pages.
Most importantly, you want these pages to have original and unique content to the page. Google can tell and will penalize you if the content is the same on more than one page of your site. For more on landing pages, check out our previous post.
The benefits of optimizing your business in these ways are enormous. The amount of “near me” searches are growing at a substantial rate, and there is no doubt that they are going to continue to grow. Google will, in turn, begin to update algorithms to find businesses for the consumers, and it’s only going to benefit you more and more to be on top of this.
If you’ve found this helpful, leave a comment below, or reach out to us! We’d love to answer any question or help you get started on optimizing your site.