A recent study found that 82% of smartphone shoppers make “near me” searches (source). “Near me” suggests that the user is looking for a place or product in their area, and they usually want to act sooner than later. Getting your business in front of these searches lets you strike while the iron is hot and increases your chances of getting an appointment.
Although it may seem intuitive, optimizing for “near me” searches does not mean filling your website pages with “near me” keywords. With “near me” terminology, you could do all these things and still rank behind a rival located closer to the searcher. Or, your hearing practice might be the one closest to the searcher, but a competitor might still outrank you in the search results for “hearing practice near me.”
To understand more about what works, Google offers three metrics that outweigh all other variables for local search results.
- Relevance: Google does all it can to ensure your website’s content suits what the user is looking for.
- Proximity: The term “Near me” is somewhat relative, but If your company is situated 15 miles away from the searcher, you are not likely to turn up in the search results unless there are very few relevant results closer to hand. The farther you are from the position of the user, the less likely you will show up.
- Prominence: Prominence relies on factors such as legitimacy, consumer feedback, and the reputation of your hearing practice. Prominence is often based on the data that is found online about your practice. Backlinks, posts, folders, and a plethora of other items are considered.
Here’s how to organically rank for “near me” searches:
Create a Google My Business listing and fill it out completely
This contains your business’s name, address, phone number, hours of operation, services, a bio, link to your website, photos, and more. Put yourself in your clients’ shoes. If you were the one searching, you would want plenty of up to date, quality information to decide. So fill out as much information about your business as possible.
Make sure your website is mobile-optimized
One of the reasons why search for “near me” has become so popular recently is mobile technology. People on the go whip their smartphones out and check for all kinds of things in their vicinity, from restaurants to drug stores, to hearing practices. That’s why you need to make sure your website looks fantastic on a mobile device.
Imagine someone searches locally for your hearing practice on their smartphone and visits your website. If that individual has to scroll around horizontally to navigate your site or “pinch and squeeze” because the text on your site is too small, that’s not going to be good for business.
The user would probably click the “back” button and search for another easier site to navigate. In improving your company and local search rating, user experience is crucial. Google notes your site’s bounce rate, and your rank will suffer if it isn’t low enough.
Also, make sure your website is responsive. In other words, make sure that it responds to every viewport scale, whether it’s on a small smartphone or a massive desktop display.
Use consistent NAP info.
NAP stands for name, address, phone number. Google looks at how this information is listed in various places across the web. Any discrepancies create doubt as to your location and may cause you to drop in rank. Conversely, consistently using the same NAP information, can increase trust and boost your rank.
Collect great reviews
Customer reviews are one of the most critical factors that influence the results of searches near me. This is particularly true for Google Reviews, as Google places more weight on these reviews than on reviews from other pages, such as Yelp.
Another way to boost your local search ranking is to respond to these reviews. It demonstrates that you respect your clients and care about their experience with you.
Nick Fitzgerald is the President and Owner of AuDSEO. He also serves as the Chief Marketing Officer at Hearing Health & Technology Matters. With 13 years of digital marketing experience, Nick is a highly data-driven marketer, with expertise in search engine optimization, digital analytics and forensics, social media, digital advertising, and web development. He has been involved in the construction and optimization of nearly 1,000 web presences, including some of the largest Fortune 500 companies.