Google recently released the information that “near me” mobile searches have exploded and are up 200 percent. While that is definitely notable, it’s even more amazing that since 2013, these searches have risen by 1500 percent! I, for one, take advantage of this search option just about every chance I get. Why look for an address when you can easily find the brand or general type of retail service with just one click. And then I, like, apparently, the rest of the population, look to the top three responses. At one time, Google’s local pack came in at seven choices but, with that number down to just three, making it to one of these top positions is extremely valuable.
This past July, Uberall—a digital location marketing platform—conducted a survey on over 1,000 people, finding out just what their typical “near me” search led to and how often it was conducted. Good news for those in the restaurant industry—84 percent of those using this service are searching for restaurants in their area. Bad news for those in the restaurant industry—like myself, I look at the top three and dismiss the rest. According to this survey, 93 percent said they were likely to “click on the first set of results.”
Another interesting result was this: nearly 30 percent of the “near me” searches were generic, such as a search for “hamburgers” instead of “McDonald’s.” What does this mean to restaurants? In order to succeed in obtaining your share of consumers using this search option, you will need to use a search strategy that utilizes a specific product. According to Josha Benner, CRO and Co-founder of Uberall, Inc., it’s apparent that businesses need to optimize their local presence online.
So, just where does Uberall fit into this paradigm? Uberall helps businesses manage their online presence and connect with consumers via mobile, voice, and desktop platforms. This connection includes websites, search engines, maps, GPS and social platforms.
Of course, if you have some IT know-how, you can do it yourself. Here are a few of the recommended practices if you want to get a piece of the “near me” pie. It’s good to keep in mind: people looking for these services are usually searching in a 5 to 10-mile radius and they are almost always using a smart phone or other mobile device—about 80 percent, to be exact.
- Update your Google Map listing regularly. This includes hours, address, and type of food. A Google local business listing is mandatory. A few tips: use a local number instead of an 800 number; make sure your display name matches your listed name; and do not capitalize the characters in your restaurant’s name.
- Make sure that your website is mobile friendly, and that it contains your business name, address, and phone number on the bottom of every page.
- Getting massive customer reviews is one of the best ways to increase search engine optimization. Don’t be shy. Ask for reviews from any of your loyal or pleasantly surprised new patrons. One of the best, and often overlooked, sites to obtain these is Google+. In fact, you’ll want to make sure that you have at least five Google reviews. Of course, the usual review sites such as Yelp, Facebook, and TripAdvisor are also very significant when ranking in Google’s organic algorithm.
- Link to local groups. Do you do business with a local vendor or Farmer’s Market—link. Do you offer catering services to specific organizations—link. Do you sponsor a local sport’s team—link. And, more importantly, have them link to your sight.
- Include great content on your website and sprinkle “near me” in some of this content. A study conducted by CDK Global found that businesses that added “near me” content increased clickthroughs by 81 percent. A clickthrough, for those that are not marketing buffs, represents the number of times someone saw your ad or website listing and actually “clicked through” to your website. Mind you, with Google, a little goes along way and too much can be detrimental. Use keywords only about three times throughout each blog and make sure that they appear natural and not forced. It’s recommended to write at least 6 blogs per months and focus on local content.