Franchises live and thrive on local customers. That’s why it’s so important for franchise locations to be easy to find by people in their local areas. This is where “near me” searches come into play.
What’s a ‘Near Me’ Search?
A “near me” search is an online search in which the user types in a keyword plus the words “near me.” Google responds to this type of search by providing results closest to that person’s physical location. For example, someone looking for the closest dry cleaning business might search “dry cleaners near me.” Other similar terms such as “nearby” and “closest” work as well.
The beauty of near me searches is that they find the closest business, rather than just a dry cleaning business located in the city searched (“Valencia dry cleaners”), which may be farther away. In fact, Google will typically pull results for the closest locations as a default even if the searcher does not include the words “near me” in the search—such as if the user just types “dry cleaners.”
“Near Me” Searches Have Nearly Doubled
“Near me” searches are especially popular on mobile devices, considering their GPS capabilities and the fact that location-sensitive information is especially helpful for online searchers who are out and about.
As more and more people rely on the smartphones to search the Internet, the number of “near me” searches has skyrocketed. The Google data reflects this growth, as well as other interesting facts that shed light on the nature of “near me” searches.
- “Near me” searches nearly doubled in 2015 over the previous year.
- “Near me” searches increased by 34x from 2011 to 2015.
- 80% of “near me” came from mobile devices in Q4 of 2014.
- 50% of consumers who use a smartphone to perform a local search visit a store within a day.
We now live in a world where people don’t want to wait until they’re at a desktop to find information—they want it right now, on their smartphones. And why wouldn’t they when today’s technology and search engine capabilities allow them to find the closest, most convenient location in a matter of seconds, even when they’re on the go? Google refers to these moments as “micro-moments” and “I-want-to-go moments.”
How to Get Your Franchise Found in “Near Me” Searches
If you want your franchise locations to appear in these hyperlocal searches, you’re going to need to work on your local search engine optimization, or local SEO. This involves a variety of practices, which include:
- Optimizing your website and web content for localized search terms (or terms that include specific geographic areas where your business is located)
- Properly setting up and managing your Google My Business page
- Keeping your online directory listings across the web accurate and consistent (think YP.com)
- Generating positive online reviews (Google My Business, Yelp, Angie’s List, etc.)
- Improving your general organic rankings through SEO best practices (valuable content, high-quality links, well-executed keyword optimization, etc.)
Managing the local SEO for an entire franchise network is a major undertaking… and if you want to do it right, you need to have an in-depth understanding of Google’s SEO best practices, which are constantly changing. Fortunately, Scorpion has franchise SEO experts who can do the job for you. Contact us to find out how we can improve your franchise’s visibility in local searches!
To learn how to improve your online reviews, check out this free e-book.