People searching online for local businesses ‘near me’ is now more popular than ever.  This has been helped along by the advances in technology, (with over 79% of UK adults owning a smartphone) and high-speed internet access at people’s fingertips (more than 70% of mobile connections are now 4G).

Most smartphone users have location or GPS enabled on their mobile devices.  This allows Google to automatically detect their current location and present the most relevant and localised search results to the user.

What industries are most commonly searched for in “near me” searches?

survey conducted by Uberall tracked the responses of 1,000 smartphone owners and found around 82% of smartphone users had conducted a “near me” search between July 23 and July 27, 2018.

Top ‘Near Me’ search categories:

  • Food: 84%
  • Entertainment: 56%
  • Banking: 50%
  • Clothing & Apparel: 41%
  • Personal care: 38%

From the survey, it’s clear that the most searched category for “near me” searches are conducted for food businesses, followed closely by entertainment.  However, clothing and banking businesses aren’t too far behind.  If you sell from a physical location and you are trying to generate customer foot traffic, then optimising for “near me” searches is an absolute must for the success of your business.

So how can you, as a high street business get to the top of “near me” searches?

When it comes to ‘near me’ search intent, consumers are looking for local businesses they can trust to give them exactly what product or service they want, exactly when they want it.

Therefore, when listing your business on all platforms you must be accurate and consistent when you describe the who, what, when, where and why of your business. 

NAP SEO:

The most essential data that you need to get right to rank in local searches is often referred to as NAP SEO (Name, address and phone number), this is the information about your business that is crucial to get right in order to rank well in local search results. Although NAP only mentions three pieces of business information, there are 6 pieces that you should have consistently right in order to rank at the top of the results, and they are:

  1. Name
  2. Address
  3. Phone number
  4. Opening hours
  5. Website
  6. Email address

When you think of ranking factors, think of trust factors and whether or not these can be verified, for example, addresses and phone numbers can be verified and therefore can be trusted.

The most important domains to list your business on:

Below are the top domains to list your business on to optimise ‘near me’ searches, the more domains that you consistently register your information on the more trusted and seen you will be.  Not all will be relevant, choose the ones that are relevant to your sector/industry:

  1. Google
  2. Apple Maps
  3. Facebook
  4. Trip Advisor
  5. Bing
  6. Yelp

 

The stronger the domains that your business is linked to the better your own google ranking will be, also your business locations will show up on the most important map apps and review sites.  Domain linking with strong domains helps the backlinks to your business page which helps your online ranking.  Find out more about Backlinks in our Backlinks blog.

Registering for a Google My Business (GMB) account

You need a separate Google My Business (GMB) account to manage your business profile which allows you to amend contact information, photographs and other official information.  Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organisations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps.  A Google My Business account is the only means by which you can claim ownership of your Business Profile, attain management rights to it, and unlock additional free features to increase your visibility on Google.

To register for a GMB simply head over to ‘google my business’, you will be asked to sign up with your business email domain since this account will be for your business, you may be asked to place a location marker on the map, If your business doesn’t have a physical location you can list the area instead. You will be asked a few more questions and then you will have to verify the account.  Once this is complete you can start helping customers to find your business, and tell them your story.

Add photographs

Photos are not just important, they are essential to your GMB (Google My Business) success.  Google reported that businesses with photos receive 42% more requests for directions and 35% more click-throughs to their websites, which turns into more profit for your business. These are huge numbers for simply adding a few photos of your store/products/services.

If you’re serious about being at the top of the search results and remaining top, you have to make sure you’re adding the right photos, optimising them, and keeping everything updated often.  See our top tips below:

  1. Create High Quality, Engaging Images to Make Yourself stand out from your competition. (make sure all your images represent your business in the best possible way and are of a high photo quality)
  2. Add and change Images Regularly (for example, customers love product images and food images if you are an eatery – these can be updated seasonally etc..)
  3. Optimise Your Image Information (name each image with keywords before uploading it)
  4. Review Images Added by the Public (yes customers can add images to your business, check regularly to ensure they are related to your business)

Once you have all of the above in place it’s time to start getting more reviews and more interaction with your Google business profile, this will organically push you up the list enabling you to be found more easily on google ‘near me’ searches.

And remember, the more interaction and reviews you get, the further you will go!