Customers are looking for you, but finding your competitors!
By the end of 2016 alone, the number of “near me” searches increased by over 100 percent with the vast majority of those coming from mobile devices.
This trend in local search has seen consistent growth over the past 5 years with the popularity of searches containing "near me" multiplying by over 34 times. What we are seeing with these statistics is a massive increase in the number of shoppers adding the words “near me” to the end of their search queries. While this may seem like a pretty mundane addition to searches, including the words “near me” at the end of a search drastically changes the results that search engines return. Local businesses that realize this and create a strategy to capitalize on the trend will see a substantial increase in customers and ROI.
More than half of “Near Me” searches result in a store visit.
Businesses that aren’t using a “near me” strategy are missing out on a ton of opportunity to bring in more customers and convert more sales.
Consumers have always used local businesses to satisfy their needs, the only difference now is that rather than traditional print ads and circulars, they are turning to search engines and review sites to decide which local businesses they will seek out. 94% of all retail purchases are made in physical stores proving that despite today’s heavy e-commerce presence, consumers are still relying largely on brick and mortar merchants. In fact, 64% of Americans say they prefer to shop in person for many reasons ranging from quality inspection to near me convenience! This “click to brick” phenomenon is being strengthened by the implementation of “near me” search as more and more consumers use the internet to seek out local businesses.
Customers desire local results and advertisements
Recent studies have shown that four out of five shoppers in the US want to see search results or advertisements tailored to their local market.
In order to address this market demand, Google, Facebook and Apple’s Spotlight Search have helped to fuel the “near me” search surge by increasing the number of search queries that have a suggestion of “near me”. The search engines are auto-filling for “near me” on both desktop and mobile making it even easier for consumers to find services in their local market. Perhaps the simplest example of useful “near me” results is for food. Thanks to location services embedded in our smart phones, a simple search for “pizza” will likely return results within a half mile or less. Having “near me” attached to your key word could put you in the top 3 google pack if your consumer is close by and ahead of any competitors who aren’t utilizing “near me”. In addition, studies show that 72% of consumers who did a local search visited a store within 5 miles of their location. Whole businesses have even been started on the basis of quick, local service delivery. Now that is some serious “near me” based business--they’ve got it down, do you?
Local searches are growing 50% faster than mobile searches overall
This accelerated growth is proving the trend towards local search and online-to-offline commerce isn’t just a fad. As the use of the internet and mobile searches become more widespread among consumers it will continue to be an essential strategy for generating revenue. If you aren’t utilizing a “near me” strategy, then customers looking for your specific product and or service category will find your competitors first.
How to take advantage of “near me” searches
Since majority of the “near me” searches are coming from mobile, it is crucial for your company's website to be optimized for mobile devices. Surprisingly, more than one-third of businesses admit that they still do not have a mobile-friendly website in 2017. The first step is to optimize your website for mobile if you have not done so already. There are other ways to get started on utilizing “near me” searches.
Andrew Shotland, and industry expert has stated that the best way to optimize on “near me” searches and get a solid ROI is to implement the phrase in these locations:
- Add “near me” to the title tags of your location pages.
- Add “near me” and popular keyword variants to the text of these pages.
- Add “near me” to the anchor text of the internal links to these pages, particularly on your store locator pages if you are a multi-location brand.
- Get backlinks to your location pages with geo-specific anchor text.
Customers are using “near me” searches more often than not. Implementing a “near me” strategy into your overall Local SEO master plan is not only easy, but it is needed in order to capture those customers. Hey! You never know who’s nearby, so make sure “near me” is a top SEO priority.
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