Smartphones have driven huge change in the way we search for services like restaurants, shops, bars, plumbers, decorators and car repair workshops.
Since 2011, Google reports that searches containing “near me” have increased by 3400%, and unsurprisingly 80% of these searches have come from mobile devices.
How do consumers make ‘near me’ searches?
To feature strongly in Google’s ‘near me’ searches, you need to deliver useful, relevant content that’s optimised for geo-location searches. Here’s why:
According to digital marketing site Search Engine Land, “When a ‘near me’ search is conducted, Google’s algorithm increases the importance of distance from the searcher’s location.” There was a time not so long ago when searchers paired their ‘near me’ searches with the postcode they were currently at. But now there’s no need because Google’s location settings have become so advanced. We now expect Google to automatically give relevant location searches based our queries without us even having to tell it where we are.
Now that searchers are getting such good results from typing “near me” searches into their search engines they are becoming even more specific. So, people are now searching not just for “restaurant near me”, but for “best vegetarian restaurant near me”.
How do I make sure my workshop features in ‘near me’ searches?
Here are some tips, stating the key actions you should take.
Get your Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) right
Make sure that the name of your workshop, its address and its phone number (NAP) are frequently and prominently displayed on your website. If you have more than one business location try to provide a separate page for each location: if you can’t, make sure the addresses of all your locations appear at least once somewhere on your site.
Check your Google My Business listing
Set up your Google My Business page and make sure it is optimised. As with the addresses on your webpage, you should try to give all your locations their own own unique Google My Business listing. Make sure that the business name, address and phone number of each of your workshop locations matches the NAP information you are showing on your website. It’s easy to update your Business Profile on Google. You can adjust your business hours for the holidays, change or add a new phone number - changes are automatically updated across Google Search and Google Maps. Plus you can add photos easily, so you can show pictures of your location, your services and even add banners showing your latest offers. There’s some simple steps to follow on the Google Business ‘How it Works’ page.
Get positive reviews
Get as many positive reviews as you can, especially on Google. Reviews on other sites are good, too, but Google reviews are the most important because they will have the highest impact on local map rankings.
Source a few positive reviews from customers that you know are happy with your service. If you know them well, ask them personally for help. Podium’s research showed that 77% of customers said they would leave an online review if asked by a local business. For more advice on this, see our Customer Service blog, ‘Poor garage review? How to deal with negative comments on social media.’
Check your website speed
According to Google, ‘53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than three seconds to load... for every one second delay in site load time, conversions fall by 12%’. Try running a few tests on Google’s ‘Test My Site’ page, or with Google Page Speed Insights, to make sure you are giving potential customers a speedy service online.
With a little care and attention to your digital marketing presence you can make your workshop the answer to potential customers’ needs. For more advice on how to make your customers’ searches work for you, take a look at our Digital marketing blog ‘Why your workshop must think mobile first’.