Massive 82% of the shopping searches on Google are“near me” searches.

how can digital marketers leverage and capitalize on “near me” searches for growth?

“Near me” is not only about finding places near you but people are using to find and buy things near them.

Initially, “near me” searches were used to find places where people used to search with something like “pizza restaurant near me” or “doctor near me”.

But now there is a significant growth in “near me” searches for specific items like “Adidas shoes near me” or “vegetable shop near me”

Below chart clearly depicts the growth of near me searches in the last two years

Thanks to the mobile device we can find easily find things quicky and near us.

Today consumer journey looks very different compared to it did three years ago, today consumers want thing right, and want it right away.

Today consumer have height expectation of “immediacy and relevance”. “I think search is really one of those tools that allows them to quickly find exactly what they’re looking for and better understand where it’s available.”

Now the question remains is your business optimized for “near me” search and how can business leverage and capitalize on this opportunity.

There are 5 important steps which done correctly will help the business to rank for “near me” searches.

#1 Listing your business on Google my business

Step 1: Go to Google My Business.

  • Click “Get on Google”

Step 2: Enter Your Business Name and Business Address in the Search Box.

Step 3: Select or Add Your Business.

  • Add the complete direction to reach your business address using Google Maps
  • Add your business hours and contact details like phone number and website.
  • Include your business in the correct category and be as specific as possible.
  • Add photos of your favorite services.
  • Ask people to leave reviews on your business page.( Reviews are a great way to filter the best businesses from the average ones, and Google always prefers to list the best businesses on top. Hence, if you wish to move your business to the top of the local search results then you need to acquire a ton of positive reviews for your business).

TIP: Determine how you want your business Name-Address-Phone Number (NAP) to appear across the web and use that NAP here (i.e. Will you spell out S-t-r-e-e-t, or use St.?) The address that you use here should become your default address across the web. Consistency is important.

Step 4: Verify Your Business

Google will want to verify that your business is located where you say that it is. This usually means waiting 1–2 weeks for a postcard with a verification PIN.

Step 5: Confirm your Business. Set up a Google+ Page.

# 2 Create webpages targetting every location of your business

If your business has multiple locations, build a separate page for each location.

You need to create separate, optimized pages for each business location.

These should not be identical. Include:

· That location’s name, address, and phone number (NAP)

· Location-specific content (staff information, testimonials, news, etc.)

· An embedded Google Map

· Descriptions of where and how to get to your business — including mentions of local landmarks that Google can connect as entities

· Location-specific comments and reviews from customers

· Location-specific Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

· Images from inside your business and the team members that work there

Think of your location pages as microsites that you can expand on to create relevant related content. You can set up your URL structure like this:

· www.yourdomain.com/locations/location-a/testimonials

· www.yourdomain.com/locations/location-b/testimonials

www.yourdomain.com/locations/location-a/directions

· You should also optimize your content, title tags, meta descriptions, etc. with location-specific keywords. Apply a local business schema markup to each page so your business hours and other important information can appear in search results.

· Lastly, make sure these pages are discoverable by Google. Google’s crawlers aren’t always able to find a page that’s only available through a search or branch finder on your site.

· It’s a simple process: once you’ve created your new landing pages, submit a Sitemap to Google.

#3 Add schema markup to every location page that your business serves.

Searchers are interacting with the data about our businesses and not our websites.

Information about cupcakes, you search, and there’s the answer, without you needing to even click through to a website.

We need to take control of our business, and how it is being understood by search engines. How? It’s simple; you have to talk to the search engines in their language. The language that search engines speak is called ‘Schema Markup’.

“If you want your sites to appear in nearby searches, implement structured data.”

How to Get Started with Schema Markup

· Schema.org has defined a LONG list of Local Business Types. Always pick the most specific type. I recommend following the Ultimate Guide for Local Business Schema Markup to guide you on what properties to use to get the best results. This guide takes you through the process of creating your Schema Markup with plenty of detail, and using Wikipedia and maps to create rich, robust markup.

· The reason that your homepage/business is the first thing to optimize is so that we can refer to it with your other pages. For example, if you offer Services, we want to define your business as an organization that is delivering the service. If you manufacture a product, we want to define the business as the Manufacturer.

· After you’ve optimized your homepage, I recommend you also add a markup to your contact page (in Schema Markup this is known as a Contact Point) followed by your services and products. In my next blog, I’ll share some best practices for optimizing your services pages.

#4 Make your site completely mobile friendly.

A mobile-friendly site is one that loads and opens fast on a mobile device and is easy to read, navigate and use on the small mobile screen.

Search engines like Google and Bing also reward mobile-optimized websites with high ranking in search engine result pages, which brings more online visibility for your website, business, and work.

Characteristics of a mobile-friendly site

Among the top characteristics of a mobile-friendly website are as follows:

  • The website must appear on the mobile screen in such a way that its interface is fully visible; all site elements are in full view and every inch of the interface can be zoomed by the user as per preference for a closer look and operation.
  • The website must be loading fast. Generally, websites that have a mobile friendly or responsive design load at a generous speed even on slow internet connections. This is necessary because the mobile user may be on the move, shifting constantly from zones with good and poor internet connectivity. And in that case, the web browsing experience should not be too uneven. It should suffice even with the minimum vital requirements of a feeble connection.
  • The responsive website must have a nice single scroll navigation system, or a nice user-friendly link, menu, or button-based navigation system, which can be smoothly located, zoomed, clicked, and used.
  • The website must look attractive on small mobile screens. The average smartphone screen is only 5 inches, and yet this space should be utilized well by the site interface to impress visitors and make them stay longer on the site.
  • Locating content, elements, links and other important information on the site must be fluid and effortless, even though appearing on small mobile screens.
  • A mobile-friendly website must have easy to download links for programs, apps, files, etc. so that users can download things directly to the gadget.
  • Social sharing is an important criterion for mobile-friendliness these days. This means mobile-friendly websites need to have easy to locate sharing buttons to help users share content instantly with other apps and social media sites directly from the website. This enhances the site’s user operability and experience.
  • Although a huge population around the world uses mobile devices running on iOS and Windows operating systems, yet there is a higher proportion of people using Android-based devices. Hence, when developing your website, ensure it is designed to be compatible with all three OS: iOS, Windows, and Android.

With so many criteria to be fulfilled when developing a mobile-friendly website, the pressure on the site owner and developer is palpable. It helps to write down your mobile-friendly site ideas in an organized way, . Otherwise, you may not get what you envisioned or desired.

# 5 Acquire Backlinks with Geographic Anchor Text

Geo-targeted keyword:

Backlinks work well to improve your business rankings on Google local. In order to increase your business rankings for “near me” searches, you need to acquire high authority/relevant backlinks with geographically-rich anchor text.

For example, if you want to rank for “near me” searches for the location “Mumbai” and for the category “bakery”, then you need to use location rich variants of anchor text like “best bakery in Mumbai”, “bakery in Mumbai”, “Mumbai bakery Andheri”, “Mumbai bakery Marol Andheri”, “cakes in Andheri Mumbai”, “fresh cakes Mumbai”, etc.

If you haven’t started optimizing your business for voice search and “near me” searches, then the time is just ripe to start doing so. Remember, the businesses who think ahead of their competitors and take efforts to keep their customers happy are able to generate maximum profits. Make use of the strategies discussed in this article to optimize your business for “near me” searches and satisfy your customers, both now and into the future.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store