How SEO Near Me Searches Make Sure Your Business Ranks
All businesses want to increase their online visibility by improving the local search engine optimisation (SEO) ranking on Google and other search engines. Ensuring that your website appears in searches for certain keywords in a particular geographic location is crucial if your prospective customers are to find your website. With the prevalence of smartphones, people are no longer searching for what they need on desktop PCs from their home or office. Instead, they are spending a large proportion of their time on handheld devices, searching for the products and services they need there and then, so-called ‘micro-moments’. These include searches like ‘best hairdresser in Deansgate open now’ or ‘best Thai restaurant open past 10pm’.
Smartphones have changed search
The widespread use of smartphones has changed the way consumers use search engines. People are constantly looking for things to buy or do, or even to quickly learn something. These searches, which are often hyper-local and/or very precise, have been dubbed ‘micro-moments’ by Google, who write that customer behaviour has ‘changed forever’. The Google study revealed that consumers look up information on their phones when they are working on a task, and 82% will search for things while physically in a store deciding what to buy. One in ten will eventually purchase a different item than the one they originally intended to. Respondents in the Google study said that the quality, timing and relevance of a business’ content affected their perception of the brand.
Mastery of hyper local SEO is now an essential component of any business’ marketing efforts. Companies need to be savvy about the instantaneity of their clients’ behaviour – brands need to engage their target audience in a matter of seconds, by providing fast content that is relevant and serves their needs. Mastery of local and hyper local SEO is essential if you want to reach your customers instantly, and stand out against your market competition. Customers often look for reviews of businesses, seeking to compare them to find the most trusted company in their area for the services or product they need.
Differences between local and hyper local SEO
Hyper local SEO is similar to the less specific local SEO, but there are some further considerations to take into account when optimising your web content.
Local and hyper local 'near me' searches
What’s the difference between local and hyper local SEO? In short, local SEO searches specify a particular geographic location, e.g. ‘marketing specialists near Brentwood’. Hyper local SEO is essentially a more precise local SEO search, which specifies a smaller, more precise location like a neighbourhood or street, and may include dates or times.
From a business’ perspective, hyper-local SEO involves targeting your client base in a very precise geographical location, such as ‘King Street Manchester’. This allows you to present your business to people searching ‘hairdresser/takeaway/bar near me‘ on their mobile devices at any given moment. Google calls these “I want to” moments.
Between 2015 and 2017, there was a 900% increase in smartphone searches including ‘near me today/tonight’, as well as a 200% increase in searches including the combination ‘open + now + near me‘. Technological advancement in the form of the smartphone is allowing us to make more spontaneous decisions, rather than being obliged to plan ahead – simply because we can. The Google algorithm has shaped people’s behaviour, by suggesting ‘near me‘ terms, calls to action (directions, company phone numbers), and placing local businesses in the top three search results. Web pages including hyper local terms are prioritised by the algorithm over those using less specific terms. The moral of the story is that Google prioritises businesses who utilise hyper local SEO.
As a result, the sage advice is to make your local business listing optimised for hyper local SEO, so that you don’t miss out on those customers who are in you
It’s the rise of the smartphone that has led to the increase in hyper local ‘near me‘ searches. These are usually conducted on mobile phones, and prospective clients will want to find all the relevant details they need on that screen. Ensure that your business name, address and phone number are clearly visible on landing pages specific to particular areas. Include ‘call us’ buttons on these pages.
Respond to 'near me'
Ensure that your site has pages targeted at ‘near me‘ searches. Create pages for local landmarks and popular areas or locations, as this will assist in catching the ‘micro-moment’ clientele nearby. Don’t duplicate your content, however – ensure that landing pages are tailored to each different area or landmark.
A schema mark-up enables you to provide information in your webpage that Google can include in the search results, including contact details, business category, opening hours and precise location.
Optimising your website for hyper local SEO, those ‘near me, right now’ searches, gives you a definite advantage over your competitors. You are able to target a larger number of people, in a wider range of areas; ultimately, you are increasing the visibility of your business.
Include essential information
When writing your Google My Business listing, make sure you cover the key details that “I want to” searches are seeking to find. This includes opening times, prices, and customer reviews – information which your target audience factors into their decision whether to purchase from your business or not. Google awards optimised listings with a higher score, so it’s worth your while to keep your listing up-to-date and produce engaging content.
Be specific about your business
Some platforms have advanced features such as descriptions and extended attributes, which allow you to emphasise services which fall outside of other categories, e.g. whether a venue is dog friendly or has wheelchair access.
While there has been a surge in ‘near me‘ and ‘now’ searches, simply using these words without regard for effective keyword research isn’t going to help with your Google ranking. Selecting the right keyword involves multiple factors, such as search volume for the key term versus volume of traffic (that is, the number of people searching for that term). Keyword research is best done by an SEO specialist, as it isn’t simply a case of using the phrase with the highest search volume.