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I Want You “Near Me” - The Rise of Mobile, Location-Based Search Queries and What You Should Do About It

WRITTEN by: David Kragel |
categories: News

May 2017

ALL INSIGHTS

The Rise of Mobile, Location-Based Search Queries and What You Should Do About It

According to Google, “near me” searches have increased more than 34 times since 2011.

It used to be that finding a local business required a map, a hard copy of the Yellow Pages, or a friend who lived nearby and wouldn’t be too annoyed when you asked for advice. Today, all of that has changed. People want answers now, and they assume Google can provide us the answers that we want, when we want them, and where we want them.

And Google knows this. Its users no longer must search for just the right combination of keywords to unlock the perfect mix of local business results. Instead, people pull a smartphone out of their pocket, purse or hand-stitched satchel and simply ask Google, “Find restaurants near me.” Google does the rest.

How?

When somebody searches using phrases such as “near me,” “closest” or “nearby,” Google uses that person’s current GPS coordinates to determine their exact location, and tries to match that location with search results that match the original product or service search. In fact, Google’s algorithm actually increases the importance of distance from the searcher’s location to ensure the results are as relevant and as helpful as possible.

As you can imagine, most these searches are happening on a mobile phone. In fact, over 80 percent of “near me” searches come from mobile, and of the people who search on their mobile device, an astounding 50 percent will visit a store within a day.

If your business has a local presence—such as a corporation with multiple franchise locations, or a health system with several physical offices—it’s critical that you adapt your search strategy to accommodate this rise in “near me” search behavior, because it’s not going away.

To help maximize your visibility for “near me” searches (often referred to as “hyper-local” keywords), consider the following steps:

  1. Understand the Visitor Journey
    Why would somebody be searching for your product or service locally? Are there different stages of the decision-making process? What’s the immediate need?
  2. Consider the Onsite Experience
    Once they arrive on your site, what are the most important pieces of information they’re probably seeking? Is this information readily accessible?
  3. Optimize for Local Searches
    Rather than include “near me” as a keyword in your title tag, the best way to optimize for hyper-local keyword searches is to ensure your location information is accurate and up-to-date. Specifically, your business Name, Address, and Phone (NAP). Is this information prominently and frequently displayed for both visitors and search engines to understand?
  4. Manage your Local Listings
    Your local listings should be properly setup and optimized, especially in Google. Does the information in your Google listing match what’s on your website? Each location should have a separate listing with as much relevant information as possible.
  5. Get More Reviews
    Lastly, try to secure as many positive reviews as you can for each location. Online searchers tend to trust anonymous reviews when considering what business to use, and what’s more, Google uses the number and quality of reviews as an indication of what businesses should be shown prominently in organic results.

We live in a mobile age and people are growing more accustomed to getting the information they want, when they want it, where they want it.

If your business has a local presence, take advantage of the growing number of “near me” searches by optimizing your website and local listings to serve local customers.

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