A year ago, Google location searches exploded – “closest,” “nearby,” and “near me” searches were performed 35 more times than they did in 2011.
People demand instant, accurate, and helpful information on Google. Because of this, it likely comes as no surprise that Google has had to make many complex updates to its algorithm to keep up. Gone are the days of “cookie-cutter” search results. Google now strives to deliver the most customized, local search results possible. A Brooklyn pet owner, for example, searching for “veterinarians nearby” will get totally different results than a pet owner in the Bronx searching the same keyword phrase – all thanks to Google’s local-search result algorithms.
Amazing Local Search Stats to Consider
Here are some specific local search trends that are good to be aware of if you are trying to put together a local marketing strategy for your client or business:
- “Near Me” keyword searches doubled last year, and continue to rise.
- People perform “near me” searches across all devices – they are looking for business hours, address (directions), and info about available products and services.
- People are increasingly searching on their phones – it is projected that by 2018, use of mobile devices will supersede use of all other devices… combined.
- 90% of consumers say they base their buying decisions on online reviews – this is important for “local search engine optimization,” as review ratings show up on Google map listings and even in organic results.
How to Rank for “Near Me” Searches on Google
It’s one thing to understand the latest local search trends, but It’s another thing to know what to do about them. Here are some specific tactics that veterinary practices (and other local businesses) can use to improve their rankings for high-volume, high-value “near me” keywords:
- Keep your Google Map listing up to date. Make sure your Google map listing is claimed, and has accurate information about your clinic, including address, hours, services offered, and website URL. After you’ve set up your map listing, you’ll need to maintain it and keep it updated ongoing.
- Get those reviews! These days, pets are considered family members. Location matters, but what matters even more is quality medical care, which is something that can be gleamed easily by reading online reviews. Small businesses that have many reviews, and a high star rating to go with, will benefit from higher rankings, and thus more exposure on Google.
- Include information on your website about the locations you serve. Instead of targeting broad locations, focus on less competitive areas and neighborhoods.
- Focus on your mobile site. If your website is not mobile-friendly, it needs to be! People are increasingly searching on their mobile devices, so your website must be (a) mobile-friendly and (b) deliver a great user experience. This will play a big role in your SEO efforts.
“Near me” searches are not slowing down, but the real takeaway is that we live in a mobile age, wherein we demand instant answers to all our questions.