It’s 5 o’clock. A day of innovation has left you famished and the leftovers in your fridge aren’t going to be enough. You pull out your phone and ask for the “best restaurants for dinner.” In a matter of seconds, a list pops up and you pick the closest burger joint and go.
Local searches continue to be on the rise, (“near me” searches have grown by more than 130 percent year-over-year with users expecting results based on where they are. As these queries become an increasingly important part of people’s lives, it is imperative that local businesses optimize themselves so they are there to win these “near me” moments. By following these five tips, you can help make sure that your business is at the top of the list for the next “near me” moment.
1. Optimize Listings: If you can’t be found, it doesn’t matter how great your business is. Unclaimed and inaccurate listings can keep potential customers away while detrimentally affecting your search ranking. Starting with your Google My Business, claiming listings and submitting accurate information to citation services like Acxiom and Factual can help make sure that someone can find you.
2. Manage Your Reputation: Whether on Google, Yelp or any other platform, reviews are an important factor that most customers use when making purchase decisions. While you can’t control what people say online, you can control how your business replies. By actively responding to reviews both good and bad, you show that you care about what your customers are saying while also potentially dampening the effects of not-so-great reviews.
3. Check Your Tags: To provide users with the best experience possible, search engines use bots to crawl web pages to bring back the most relevant results. In order to make sure that you appear for relevant queries, it is important to make sure your title and heading tags are optimized. Using "home" as your title doesn’t tell search engines much, but a title that explains who you are, what you do and where you’re at tells engines like Google that you are a relevant page for the search. Reiterating who you are in your H1 bolsters what you said in your title. These tags may not have the importance in ranking that they used to, but proper titles and headings still play an important role.
4. Use Schema Markup: Similar to the tags above, Schema tags can be used to provide search engines with more detailed information about your business. The markup can also add rich snippets to your search result, potentially improving your click-through rate since you stand out. Google encourages its use and even provides a tool to make it easier to implement. With only a third of sites using the markup, Schema can help you stand out!
5. Create a Mobile-Friendly Site: The vast majority of “near me” searches are conducted on mobile devices, meaning your site needs to be optimized for mobile users. Having a website that isn’t ready for users on phones or other devices can lead to losing business and rankings. Check out Google’s free tool to see if you are providing a great experience for mobile users.
By optimizing your business for local SEO success, you put yourself in a better position to convert on more “near me” moments.