Small businesses readily rely on consumers in their own backyards, as opposed to a national audience, to keep their doors open. So what are you doing to ensure everyone in 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 and frankly, we’re not happy about it.
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?
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.
It is now considered a best practice to have your contact information, including physical address, included in the footer on each page of your website. This is crucial when optimizing your website to populate in local searches.
Post 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might want to use a listing service to do comprehensive search so you may edit any listings where your information is out of date.
Use the photos on your website to increase your odds of being found locally by using the location in the file name and tags of the photo. This is in the realm of SEO (search engine optimization) but when we’re talking local search results, you can’t ignore some of these SEO best practices. When including locations regarding photos on your site, don’t do it arbitrarily. Nothing is more frustrating than following a link promising to take you to a store’s website that’s supposed to be in your vicinity just to find out they’re two towns over.
Providing Google all the intel it needs to make quality recommendations to its users is all it wants! 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 enables image sharing from satisfied clients.
One of the highest ranking search factors for Google is allowing customer feedback to be visible. Google allows users 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 rankings 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. It actually helps your case as far as Google’s algorithms go.
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.
Essentially, this means showing up on sites, other than your own, that link back to your geo info. Work with local influencers and complimentary businesses’ to guest post on one another’s blogs. Reciprocity is one of the many keys to successful business relationships.
Local media outlets are always looking for content. Reach out to society magazines, local bloggers and other online publications with a story about your business or details about an upcoming event and get them to list your location in the publication.
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”: