Not too long ago, the Internet was all about connecting customers with businesses anywhere – around the region, the state, or the country. But things have changed. While companies like Google & Yahoo do their best to allow small and large companies to compete on a leveled playing field, the fact remains that every successful business that is dominating in local search results is typically investing significant time and effort into getting to the top & staying there! Once you have an understanding that any business can benefit from showing up in local searches, i.e. “near me” searches, you need to make sure that you are taking Google’s 3 ranking factors into serious consideration!
Getting Local With Google Rankings
There are three primary metrics that outweigh anything else when it comes to “near me” local searches, according to Google. These metrics are:
So, what does each of these metrics mean & how do they influence your ability to show up when your future clients or patients are searching?
Relevance is the easiest one to figure out. If a customer is looking for a dental practice and you are a plastic surgeon, then you shouldn’t be showing up in search results. The search query is irrelevant to your business. In local search, you want to make sure that your website content resembles what a user is searching for.
Pro Tip: Google recommends adding complete and detailed business information to optimize your Google My Business listing in order to help Google better understand your business and match your listing to relevant searches.
Distance is another important one. The KeyWord “Near” is subjective, but if your business is located 10 miles away from the searcher, then you probably won’t show up, unless there are no other relevant businesses in your category in the “near” vicinity. The farther away you are from the user’s location (and the distance metrics from their device), the lower in the results you’ll show up.
The final attribute that really matters is prominence. This one is a little harder to quantify, as it touches on things like authority, brand image, customer ratings, length of being in business, as well as other factors like business listing consistency across other local directories. This attribute is affected by the information that’s available online about your business. The more information there is, the more prominent your business appears to Google. This includes the number of customer reviews, the number of backlinks to your site, and a lot of other neat SEO stuff.
Don’t Try Anything Funny with Google
It can be tempting to add “near me” KeyWords to your website in an attempt to trick Google bots to boost visibility. Unfortunately, that won’t work. In fact, your website could get blacklisted by Google! Instead, you should focus on the three attributes outlined above if you want to dominate in local search results.
Did You Know?
2017 was the first year in which mobile search volume outperformed desktop-based searches. This trend is only accelerating. So start focusing more on mobile features, like Click-to-Call & Click-to-Chat as well as optimizing your website for mobile experiences. Your end goal is always to make your business more accessible to future clients or patients.
Your site is one of the more important tools when it comes to ranking your business for the “near me” local searches, however, it’s not the only one. You should also focus on local business listings & directory websites, respond to reviews, post regularly, upload photos, and monitor your business listings for inconsistencies across all of your listings.