With more of us using smartphones to navigate the world, it is hardly surprising that ‘near me’ searches are ever on the rise. What is surprising is that these searches are becoming less about finding directions to a place and more about finding a specific item, in a specific area, at a specific time.
Customers are no longer driving around town trying multiple stores. They want to know exactly where they can find an item and using the “near me” search string to find them.
It isn’t only proximity that is important for this type of search. The evidence is growing that consumers are also using time-sensitive searches, such as “now/today” type searches. For example, users are more likely to search for something like “cheap hotels near me today”.
This should be music to the ears of business owners and marketers everywhere. Your customers are out there looking for you. So what are you doing to make the most of this golden opportunity?
We’ve spoken before about the importance of local search. A common mistake we hear company owners make is to dismiss local search because their reach is national. You might not limit your service to a specific area, but you still need to be discoverable to those who are looking.
How can you make the most of local search?
Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst for Google, John Mueller said: “doing things like adding “pizzeria near me” as a title of your pages on your website probably doesn’t make that much sense because we would try to figure out what is actually near the user.”
A sushi restaurant in Manchester might try to optimise their website for “sushi near me”, but how many of these searches will actually take place in Manchester? Not a whole lot on a global scale.
Instead, the restaurant should ignore the keywords and focus on providing the right information. When people submit “near me” searches, what they want to know is where you are based, when you’re open and what you offer. This is information that is easily dispersible via Google My Business.
The second step is to ensure your website includes the correct information with the appropriate structured data markup.
Your Google My Business profile should include the following information and be updated regularly.
- Company name
- Phone number
- Opening times
Any information provided on your Google My Business profile should be reflected on your website and be marked with the appropriate structured data. A lot of people shy away from structured data because they assume it’s another type of code they need to learn. Thankfully, Google has created a handy structured data markup tool that will all GMB page owners to highlight the correct information in Google’s Search Console.
If you need some help setting up your Google My Business profile, we’ve written this little guide to local SEO techniques.