Grow Your Business

Local Search: How To Rank In “Near Me” Searches

a close up of a blackboard

In the ever-quickening shift towards mobile search, location matters more than ever. Consumers are now relying on their smartphones to make last-minute, location-based purchasing decisions.

Dubbed a micro-moment by Google, the “near me” search is characteristic of a customer that’s looking to buy, right then and there.

As a business owner, these micro-moments are great. They’re the perfect opportunity to reach your target audience. To help you get these micro-moments right, we’ve put together a few tips:

1. Deliver a seamless, mobile-optimized user experience

near me search google

With any micro-moment, you already know the customer is on their mobile device. Use this to your advantage.

Anticipate the questions your customers might have before booking, then answer them on an easy-to-use, mobile-responsive site. Here’s a guide to all the basic q’s:

  • Where is this business? Sure, it’s “near me”—but is the distance walkable or a car ride away? Your customers will want to know. Make sure your business address is clearly written on your website and social media pages.
  • When can I go? Keep clear tour times and business hours available on all sites.
  • How do I book? Provide a quick and simple call-to-action. Make sure your ‘Book Now’ button is mobile-friendly and that your phone number is easy to find.
  • Why this company? When it comes to online purchases, customers crave trust and credibility. Give them a reason to trust your business by getting your website SSL certified and adding in reviews or awards.

2. Put your Google+ page to work

We know, we know. Google+ is pretty much the last network that comes to mind when you think about social media. So why invest valuable time in optimizing your page? It’s all in the name; Google owns it.

Your Google+ profile will integrate across all of Google’s entities. This includes:

  • Maps
  • Search
  • Earth
  • Mobile

This makes Google+ a key player when it comes to getting noticed by the search engine giant, and the perfect tool for landing those crucial “near me” searches.

Once you’ve created a Google+ page, you’ll need to run through the listed information and make sure important details like contact information, address and opening hours are up-to-date. Then, treat Google+ like you would any other social media page and feed it consistent updates to photos and review responses.

Tip: You can help Google Maps recognize your business location by creating a “Local” page. You can find a detailed guide on how to create one here.

3. Get On Facebook’s “Nearby Places”

facebook nearby places

“Nearby Places” is Facebook’s very own geolocation feature. It helps Facebook app users search for local businesses from their mobile devices in the same way as a “Near Me” search.

For your business to appear in the Facebook Places directory, you’ll need to set the category of your business page to “Local Business.” This will allow your business to appear in “Nearby Places,” as well as allow visitors to check-in to your location.

Encourage your customers to check-in to your business on Facebook by offering a discount or freebie.

The more check-in’s you collect, the more likely Facebook is to recommend your business on Nearby Places. Plus, it’s a great way to get customers to share their amazing, five-star experience with friends and family.

4. Localize your content

The rest of your website can help too. Every page is an opportunity to promote your business in local search.

Scatter location-specific keywords into the content on your site, and you’ll be a contender for coveted long-tail keywords like “best things to do in new orleans” or “fun outdoor experiences near asheville.” We’ll get you started with a few ideas:

  • Write blog posts that focus on your local area and speak to your target audience. For example, if your business offers whale watching tours, you could write a post titled “5 Best Places To View Wildlife in Monterey Bay.”
  • Give site images a boost by localizing the file name, alt text and caption you add to your photo. For example, an image title of “river kayak tour” would be even stronger as “river kayaking in Vail.”
  • Put great reviews to use by adding reviews that mention your location to your site. A perfect example would be: “This was the best thing we did during our weekend in Seattle!” Adding content like this helps Google recognize where you are( and how great you are!).

5. Polish up your local business listings

yellow pages

Google likes to be accurate, so it is more likely to suggest your business address when it knows for certain it’s got it right. Encourage confidence by building up an arsenal of local listings with an accurate and up-to-date NAP (name, address and phone number).

This applies to pages of your website, your social media pages, even listings that live on other websites like a guest blog post or Chamber of Commerce listing.

Take it a step further and register your business with more obscure local directories like: Yellowpages, Whitepages, CitySearch, Merchant Circle. The list goes on and on.

Now that one-third of mobile searches are location based, mastering these micro-moments can have a huge impact on your business. It’s just about getting the right information to the customer, at the right time.

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