Local Searches: The Importance of Proximity and ‘Near Me’ Searches to Your Business

Map on Phone

When was the last time you searched on your smartphone or asked Siri for directions to the nearest restaurant or store? Did you specify "near me" or "nearby" when you did this or did you simply request the address of that location? For about three to four years, common searches including phrases like "near me" and "around me" grew rapidly, but in 2017 geo-qualifiers are becoming less important as users understand that Google has learned their location.

As you may have guessed, these users are your current and potential customers, and keeping up with the rhythm of this trend can take your business to the top of customer search results.

Google Knows Where You Are

The decrease in "near me" searches from three years ago to today is largely due to the fact that users have become accustomed to their smartphones knowing where they are through the geo-location feature. Since 2015, there has been a 150% rise in similar searches leaving off the "near me" specification. Looking for a nearby coffee house in 2014, a user may have typed "coffee houses near me," whereas, these days a quick "coffee shop" entry into the search bar can generate the same list of locations. The same concept holds true in other contexts as well, such as looking up the weather.

In 2017, searches without "near me" exceed and expand past those including it. The three top options that pop up in a search are known as a snack pack, and this is where you want your business to fall to ensure users will select your shop over the next. Google studies show that 90% of users confirm they aren't set on a specific brand for their purchase when they set out, making it is clear that there is an extraordinary opportunity for local. small businesses to shine through by being locally accessible.

Proximity is Critical for Ranking

When nearly one-third of all mobile searches are related to location, it is essential to understand the possible key qualifiers to achieve a high ranking in user searches. Studies done by Google show that customers who conduct a "near me" search normally enter the business searched within 24 hours, and a little under 30% of this sample ends up making a purchase. Local convenience is another key factor.

Suggestions to increase your ranking:

  1. Google My Business: The #1 factor in where your business ranks is your Google My Business.For the best results, make sure your Google My Business listing is claimed and completed with all relevant and up-to-date information.
  2. Your Company Website: Incorporate relevant and trending keywords into the content of your website as well as within posts you put up on your blog. Building links from other people's sites to yours can also increase traffic and SEO.
  3. Reviews: Gathering positive reviews is crucial. Consumers nowadays really like reviews and Google is well aware. Data shows that consumers won't even consider a business with less than three stars, so remember customer is king.
  4. Citations: Citations are listings indirectories other than Google My Business, such as Yahoo, Yelp and Yellow Pages, etc. You must claim your listing on these directories and complete the information about your business.

Every month, One out of two smartphone owners uses his or her phone to choose where to eat. Think about it, your customers are mobile and already on their way to you but the one deciding factor on whether they choose you or a competitor is who pops up first in their search with the most complete information promoting their business.  This means, if you haven't perfected your Google My Business page, now is the time to do so to gain sales and security.