Google is Getting Even More Local…with Nearby!
Google has created a new search feature that will help you figure out that age old question, “Honey, where should we go out to eat tonight?” At this rate I wonder how long it will take them to figure out which came first, the chicken or the egg?!
This new addition to your search filtering options puts a huge spot light on local search, once again, by giving you location specific search suggestions in a feature they’ve smartly named, Nearby.
This option adds a twist to your regular Google search for a restaurant, a clothing store, outdoor adventures or whatever else that’s location specific by returning a self explanatory list of places related to your query within the same area.
Google stated that the suggestions don’t necessarily share any specific characteristics, so that you end up getting broader and more interesting results. So far it seems to be true except that in a test we did, a pizza place ended up giving 6 out of 10 pizza place suggestions. Of course perhaps there were just a lot of pizza places in that area and not much else in terms of restaurants.
One thing we quickly noticed is that it seems Google’s idea of what’s Nearby is questionable. In a larger town you might get restaurant suggestions that are 15+ miles away, and in a smaller town, like Lincoln, NE (250,000 people) 5 miles from your search query is all the way across town and may not be as convenient a result. I’m sure it wont take long for them to put in a distance from current location filter.
You can quickly access Nearby within every Places Profile in Google Maps or within the Search Options Panel on the left side of Google’s homepage in English.
With smart phones flooding the market and people fighting over power outlets at the coffee shop with free wireless, it’s no surprise that Google is in full development of local search features. People are on the move these days with the Internet in the their pocket or slung over their shoulder and people need to eat!
The important thing to know is – if you’re a brick and mortar business owner or an SEO looking to target local businesses in your marketing – here’s yet another great reason to be sure your local listing is claimed. Put your local search optimization onto the top of the list before you’re so late into the game that knocking your competitors out will be next to impossible.
If you haven’t yet read our recent local search editorial that highlights the importance of local search in today’s markets, then take the time to check it out!