The Power of “Near Me” and WHY it’s important for network businesses

Local search marketing can be a daily struggle for franchise and multi-location businesses that have many locations in the same general area. How can you stand out when you’re bidding against the same keywords and the same location in Google AdWords?  

This is where the power of “near me” searches comes in. According to Google, “near me” searches have doubled in 2015 and the trend will continue to rise in the coming years (Search Engine Land, 2015). 

Let’s rewind – what is this new search trend and why is it important to me?

As mobile usage continues to rise, there is an increase in the number of consumers turning to their phone to find local businesses. As a result, consumers are using keyword identifiers like “nearby” and “near me” to find businesses that are closest to their specific area – especially if they are in an unfamiliar location. Google identified this trend and incorporated it into their product by adding a “Nearby Business” mobile add format for location-related searches. These paid search ads are quite similar to the organic local business listings currently on Google mobile searches. You can learn more about it here. 

Let’s put this into perspective by providing two separate customer scenarios:

Scenario 1:

Imagine you own a tow truck multi-location business. An unfortunate customer’s car just broke down and let’s assume they don’t have Triple A. They turn to their mobile phone to conduct the Google Search “Tow trucks located in Akron, Ohio.” When they click on the top ranked listing for one of your locations, they find out that this specific tow trucking business doesn’t service their location. Talk about a poor user experience! Not only is this potential customer not being served the most relevant listings for their location, but also now they will be less likely to use your business in the future.

Unfortunately, this dilemma may happen because Google will disregard the searcher’s specific location and instead provide search results for what Google believes is the most relevant to the city name. 

Now, let’s take a look at how the power of “near me” searches can change this experience.

Another customer’s car breaks down and they decide to conduct a Google Search using the keywords “Tow truck companies near me.” The customer clicks on the top ranked listing (which happens to be one of your locations) and they discover that your tow truck company is located just a mile from where their car broke down! This is important because it not only eliminates multiple locations in your region bidding for the same limited space, but it also increases the likelihood of potential customers converting at the moment that they need you the most.

This is possible because Google’s algorithm actually increases the importance of distance from the searcher’s location when a “near me” or “nearby” search is conducted.

So, how do I optimize for “near me” searches?

While it’s important to note that you cannot fully influence Google’s search rankings, here are a few local search marketing takeaways that may help you. Search Engine provided these in a recent blog post:

  • Make sure that the business name, address and phone number (NAP) are frequently and prominently displayed on your website in an easy-to-index format. Ideally, you should have a separate page for each location, but the addresses of all your locations should at least appear somewhere on your site.
  • Mark up your NAP information with structured data that relates to the business. Google provides instructions on how to do this here.
  • Google My Business should be properly set up and optimized. Each of your locations should have its own Google My Business listing. Ensure that the business name, address and phone number of each location match what you have on your website.
  • Get as many positive reviews as you can for each location, especially on Google. Reviews on other sites can help, too, but Google reviews are likely to have the highest impact on local map pack rankings.

Lets get started! 

As a franchise or multi-location marketer with multiple locations in a single city, it is important to optimize for keywords including “near me” and “nearby.” As Mobile users continue to rise, there will be more and more users looking to these keywords to find relevant businesses near them, so it’s important that you are discoverable at the right time, in the right place.

To learn how to drive digital marketing success for your network business, visit our website at centermark.yodle.com.

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