“Near Me” Searches: What You Need to Know

Dhiraj Nallapaneni

5 min read Last Updated Jan 3, 2020

More and more potential customers are using ‘near me’ searches to find relevant local businesses. In this article, we’ll let you know what you need to know about ‘near me’ searches and how you can take steps to start ranking higher in search engine result pages. 

Here’s what you’ll find in this article:

What are Google ‘Near Me’ searches? 

If a customer is looking for a local dentist, chances are that they’ll get on their phone or laptop and type in “dentists near me”. Here’s what they’ll see. 

The practices that rank towards the top have a better chance of getting discovered by potential patients. Studies show that 92% of customers choose businesses on the first page of search results. 

According to Google, there are three factors that matter when it comes to ‘near me’ searches: distance, prominence, and relevance. 

  • Distance

It wouldn’t make sense to show up on a ‘near me’ search if your business is a hundred miles away from the customer. The closer you are to the customer, the better chance you have of ranking. 

  • Relevance 

If a customer searches for “Italian restaurants near me”, Google will show them Italian restaurants. The more relevant your business is to the customer’s search query, the higher you’ll rank. 

  • Prominence 

Prominence is a little bit different than the other two factors. While things like distance and relevance are a bit easier to quantify, remember, no matter what you’re searching, Google aims to give you the best results. Businesses with great reviews and brand authority will typically show up higher in search results. 

‘Near Me’ Searches in 2020 

According to Think With Google, Google’s official company blog, ‘near me’ searches have exploded in the past few years. It’s easier than ever for customers to find local businesses. After all, mobile search has become more and more popular in the past few years. It’s now estimated that 52% of global Internet traffic comes from mobile. 

So what does that mean for your business? It means that you need to do what you can in order to rank for these ‘near me’ searches. 

The emergence of voice search means that ranking higher is only going to take on more importance. It’s estimated that 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020. Voice searches typically only give you one result. That means that the highest-ranking business has significantly more visibility than competitors. So Alexa, how can we start ranking higher on search? 

How to Rank for Near Me Searches 

While there’s not much you can do about factors like distance and relevance, there are ways that you can improve your business’s prominence. Here are some easy steps you can take to start ranking for ‘near me’ searches. 

  1. Update Your Google My Business Listing 

    First things first: make sure that you’ve claimed your Google My Business listing. Here’s a quick step-by-step guide. 

    Once you have your profile claimed, make sure that you update your Google My Business profile with information that will help customers discover your business. Make sure that you have high-definition photos, contact information like email and phone number, and your business hours. The more detailed your profile, the better the signals you send to Google’s algorithm. 

  2. Make Sure Your NAP is Consistent

    Of course, Google My Business isn’t the only listing site on the Internet. There are dozens of sites, from Facebook to Yellowpages. The more consistent your listings, the better chance you have of ranking on ‘near me’ searches. 

    Remember, when Google finds your name, address, and phone number (NAP) across the Internet, it takes it as proof that your business has prominence. These citation factors are the 5th most important factor determining your local search ranking. 

    Want to see how accurate your business’s listings are? Click here for a free listings scan. 

  3. Collect Authentic Customer Reviews 

    Remember, reviews are a great way to highlight the quality of your business’s services. Here are three tips to help you collect more reviews.

    Send Review Requests via Text and Email 
    While there’s no harm for asking for reviews in-person, the fact is that very few customers are going to take the initiative to actually find your business’s profile on review sites. So make the process straightforward for your customers. Send your review requests via email and text. 

    Get a Google Short Review Link 
    While reviews all over the Internet matter, Google especially values reviews posted on its own site. Make sure that you’ve claimed your Google short review link so you can add it to review requests. Here’s a guide to claiming your short review link.  

    Send Review Requests to All Your Customers 
    Remember to send review requests to all of your customers. There’s no reason to cherry-pick and only send requests to certain customers who you’re sure will leave a positive review. Chances are that if you’re doing this, you’re just missing out on the possibility of getting more 5-star reviews. 

  4. Respond to Customer Reviews

    When you get a review, it’s easy to celebrate the win and move on. But hold your horses. Google has confirmed that responding to customer reviews helps with SEO. Plus, responding to customer reviews can help you both build customer loyalty and solve customer issues before they escalate into bigger problems. 

    Want some templates for positive, negative, and neutral reviews to help you get started? Download our free eBook “Review Response Templates”. 

How BirdEye Can Help 

BirdEye has been named the #1 review software by G2 Crowd based on the data from thousands of customer reviews. More than 60,000 businesses use BirdEye to collect authentic reviews, improve customer experience, and drive revenue. 

Find out how you can start growing your business with BirdEye today.