With most people getting around in cars, the concept of “foot traffic” seems to be weakening.
Instead, the “near me” search on Google is filling in the gap and driving traffic to local businesses.
Not just on Google’s native search service either, this includes any time you pull up the Google Maps app on your phone and look for businesses, services or products nearby. In fact, the Maps app is the most common place you’ll see people using the “near me” search phrases.
A report from Google highlighted huge leaps in near me searches in just the past two years. For example, phrases like “Pizza near me now” has seen 150% growth, and time-sensitive phrases like “clubs near me tonight” have seen a 900% growth.
Google’s VP of Marketing for the Americas Lisa Gevelber explains that if people are searching for something near them, that’s a pretty strong signal of intent.
Users are searching for specific items, and they want them now.
This is where it starts to get interesting. We assume searches for restaurants or gas stations “near me” would be common. You’re on the road, and your tanks are low, so whether it’s food or fuel you want to find something nearby in a jiffy.
Interestingly, there is now a jump in item specific searches. Need cowboy boots or a prom dress now? People are looking to google for the answers and asking for “cowboy boots near me”.
Whether it’s sassy new boots or a restaurant, today’s impatient consumers want things in the moment they need them—which is typically “now.”
The challenge for your local business is to make sure you’re giving people the answers they’re looking for as quickly as possible. Catch their attention at the right moment, and you’ve likely made that sale.
Show up “near me” to make more sales with minimal investment
If you can only do one single thing to improve your SEO this year, invest in your local citations. It’s a minimal investment that could pay dividends in driving local traffic to your business.
As we saw in the examples above, people are using “near me” with increasing frequency to find the products and services that they need, when they need them.
By not optimizing your business in “near me” searches, potential clients could be sent to competitors only a few blocks away.
Curious how your business is doing? Check your listing ? here to see if you’re set up to get the most out of local searches.
There is no middle ground with local citations
The importance of paying attention to your local citations stems from one specific feature...they either positively or negatively impact your search engine rankings & consumers. There is no grey area.
While yes, the number of citations, accuracy, and quality all influence ranking, with local listings they either match and increase trust and ranking, or they don't.
When your listings don’t match Google stops trusting your data and your business could start to slide down the rankings.
With this in mind, the importance of carving out a few hundred dollars to optimize your local search each year seems like a given. For the price of barely 2 lattes a week, you could be driving significantly more local traffic to your store.
To learn how you can improve your local citations without blowing your budget, contact our team. We’ll check your listing and show you how your business can win at local search results.