Every day, thousands of searches for retail businesses take place on the internet, with the majority of them occurring on Google. And if a retailer’s stores aren’t on the first page of search results in the paid, organic and Google Maps sections, users are far less likely to find any of those locations when searching for stores.
Among mobile device users, 82 percent have reported trying a “near me” search on their devices, a number that rises 10 points among Millennials, according to recent research from Uberall, a San Francisco-based location marketing solution provider. These findings suggest that a growing number of consumers are placing proximity as their top priority, and brand loyalty below it.
This is an especially big deal for grocers: When survey respondents were asked what they typically use “near me” searches for, 84 percent said food. Not everyone’s searching for specific banner names: Nearly one-third (30 percent) of respondents said their “near me” searches are generic, such as “groceries near me.”
Arguably even more convincing of the importance of proximity is that the 72 percent of consumers who perform a local search visit a store within five miles, Google has reported. This speaks to the importance of search engine optimization (SEO) and better rankings in Google.
“Ranking better on Google really is an integrated approach to digital marketing” for grocers, notes Jonathan Camerata, sales executive with digital marketing and advertising service LocalIQ, a division of Tysons Corner, Va.-based media company Gannett Co. “It’s about the makeup of their website plus content on their website, as well as information about them across the web.”
To better rank in Google and, in turn, drive incremental foot traffic, grocers should consider taking the following actions.
Having a website optimized for mobile devices is smart not just for ease of browsing, but also for helping Google’s bots do their job of analyzing its content.
“We know that mobile is huge, so optimizing for mobile is a must,” Camerata says.
Jonathan Obar, search and social manager with Chicago-based EnsembleIQ, a retail intelligence provider and parent of Progressive Grocer, agrees, noting that as of 2017, 57 percent of all search engine traffic comes from mobile devices.
“That’s a huge opportunity to cater to consumers on the go,” he points out, “and the first step to getting those mobile searchers through your doors is having a mobile-friendly website.”