How to Show Up in “Near Me” Searches
Learn how to get found by nearby customers.
Small businesses rely on consumers in their own backyards to keep their doors open. So what are you doing to ensure everyone within a 25 mile radius knows you exist? If you’re not showing up in “near me” searches you’re likely missing out on a bevy of business.
The Short Version: Three Steps to Get in Near Me Searches
As evidenced by what Google deems important, here is the summary of what you need to do to start showing up for “near me searches”:
- Complete your Google My Business profile
- Aim for 5-star reviews on Google
- List yourself in third party directories and review sites (Yelp, Yellow Pages, Angie’s List)
- Include your address, phone and contact info on multiple pages within your website
We’ll go into more detail on these below.
What is a “Near Me” Search?
Grab your phone and type in “running store” and you’ll see that Google tries to fill in the rest of the search with “near me”. They figure, whatever you’re searching for you’ll be happier with your search results if it suggests stores that aren’t clear across town from your current locale. Makes sense, right?
Even if you don’t add “near me” to the end of your search, Google will still detect your location via your IP address, and serve up any local results it finds.
Why Should I Worry About Showing Up in “Near Me” Searches?
Think with Google recently reported that “76% of people who search for something nearby on their smartphone visit a related business within a day and 28% of those searches result in a purchase.” There’s also been a 500% increase in “near me” mobile searches that contain some variation of “can I buy” or “to buy” over the last two years. Source: Think With Google). That’s pretty impressive.
So How Do You Improve Your “Near Me” Search Visibility?
There are a few key features that influence your near me search presence.
1) Add Contact Info to Your Website
Make sure to have your contact information, including physical address, included in the footer on each page of your website—not just in the contact page. This is crucial when optimizing your website to populate in local searches.
2) Listings in Local Directories
Your website isn’t the only result that can appear for “near me” searches. Don’t forget about popular review sites and directories. If your listing is complete and your ratings are high enough, your page for that site might appear at the top of “near me” search results, or it may list you in one of its “Ten Best [industry] Businesses in [location]” pages, as you often see with Yelp.
That being said, list your business in as many local directories as you can. Be sure that your address and contact information is consistent throughout each directory, otherwise you risk hurting your chances of showing up in searches. Note, there’s a strong chance that you’ve signed up for directories over the years and maybe haven’t done that great of a job keeping track of them. You might want to use a listing service to do comprehensive search to audit and edit any listings where your information is out of date.
3) Tag Website Images
You can use the photos on your website to further signal to Google that your business is associated with a particular location. Do this by including your location name in the image file name and alt tags. You can learn more about alt tags in this post on how to improve your SEO.
4) Optimize Your Google My Business Profile
In addition to your website and directory listings, your Google My Business profile is also an online asset that can help you show up for “near me” searches. In fact, it is potentially the most important asset for this. Your Google My Business profile is what forms your Google Maps listing, as well as the right-hand information panel that appears if someone types in your business name and location.
This means that Google My Business places a lot of importance on location, and therefore, if you want to show up for “near me” searches by potential customers, you should place a lot of importance on completing your Google business profile!
Create or update your Google My Business page with details like address, phone numbers and store hours. Not only will this allow potential customers to find in you a local search, but you’ll also populate in Google Maps, collect reviews on Google, and generate traffic to your website.
How complete is your Google business listing?
5) Collect More Reviews on Google
One of the most influential search ranking factors for Google is customer reviews. If a user navigates to the review section of your Google My Business profile, they will find the option to write a review and award up to five stars for their level of satisfaction. The higher your reviews, the more likely you’ll be to show up as a top local search result. Google ratings outweigh those you may receive from third party directories, such as Yelp, so this is one of the most important places you’ll want people to leave reviews. Want to take it up a notch? Respond to customer reviews on Google, too. It actually helps your case as far as Google’s algorithms go.
For more help, check out our post on How to Get More Google Reviews.
6) Tag Business Location on Social Media
Any time you post about your business on social media, be sure to include a location tag. The more data you can put into the digital realm about where you are the more likely you’ll be to show up in these local searches. You can create a new location from your Facebook page which in turn will populate on Instagram.
7) Get Geographically-Relevant Backlinks
A backlink is a link to your website from someone else’s website. Backlinks from local websites can help strengthen your location signal to Google. You could also strive to get backlinks from influencers in your industry that emphasize location in their anchor text. For example, if they link to you in their top ten round up, they could hyperlink the text “Joe’s Coffee Corner in Jamaica Plain” rather than just “Joe’s Coffee Corner”.
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