Search engines are getting smarter, and this manifests itself in many ways. The evolution of Near Me search is one of these manifestations. Damon Gochneaur explores this topic in detail at the Rocks Digital 2017 Local Search Day Celebration.
Damon’s immediate family consists of his wife and 3 children, ages 4, 6, and 8. When Damon’s oldest son was much younger, one day he came to Damon and said, “Dad, the TV is broken!” Damon was pretty concerned and quickly went to the TV to test the remote. After showing that the remote control worked just fine, his son said again, “No, no – the TV is broken.” And with that, the boy went to the TV, touched the screen, and swiped his finger to the side. “See? It won’t move!”
On another occasion, Damon’s youngest child came to him saying “Dad! The TV is broken!” This time around, Damon had an idea that the TV was probably working just fine. Damon picked up the remote control and showed that the TV was still OK.
“No Dad! The TV isn’t working!” came the retort. The child then turned to the TV and said, “Alexa, put on…”
The moral of the story? It is much easier to talk to our device than to type on it.
In the past 3 years, they have steadily increased and keep on climbing. In the last 2 years, the rate has increased even faster. We are going more and more mobile. For most of us, our mobile device usage has greatly increased.
We think of restaurants and banks for this kind of technology, but people are also thinking about things to do in the local area. If you are a blogger, you are going to want to check out different things in the area. And if you are in town for a conference, you want to go to something close to you.
Question: So why is this happening?
A few years ago we had very few voice-activated assistants, and now it has GREATLY increased. Voice queries are increasing, and natural voice is increasing. Example: Typing in “pizza place new york” versus speaking “What are the best pizza places in New York?”
80% of the population is using smartphones.
So now that we realize more and more people are using smartphones for search, what do we do now?
There are more and more people using Google My Business, and Google results give more than just the location of the business. Now you can see what hours the place is open, what type of payment options they take, and so on. We must have a good online business presence, and a good, optimized location page.
Example: Publix does not have a store in Texas, but when Damon did a search for grocery stores in the area, Publix came up – even though he was standing close by a Sprouts and a Whole Foods Market.
Why? Because if you get local reviews, it will help to increase chances of your location appearing in local search results.
Utilize Schema Markup. This will greatly help you to better appear in the results and helps to validate the information about your location.
The Near Me Evolution
We are getting more and more people that are wanting to find locations near them. Even if you don’t have anything online, people are still searching for your business.
Question: What are ways to connect with people after they stop by?
Answer: For different customers who stop by your business, send them an email thanking them for coming to the location.
Question: What are your thoughts on how to get authentic reviews as opposed to paid reviews?
Answer: The reason so many companies do not get more reviews is because they never ask. The biggest way to get them is to ask for reviews. Also, you should have a SPECIFIC process in place to get the reviews. You have a specific process for people to pay for their products and services, and you should also establish a specific process on how you get real reviews.
Here are Damon’s slides from the presentation: