Why Google’s ‘Near Me’ Results are Important for Rental Businesses

As mobile device usage and, therefore, Google searches have increased over the past decade, the way search results are shown has changed. They have adapted to reflect the search habits of users...

As mobile device usage and, therefore, Google searches have increased over the past decade, the way search results are shown has changed. They have adapted to reflect the search habits of users and how they look up information. In 2013, Google adopted ‘near me’ searches that give users a curated list of geographically local results.

This is probably nothing new to you, and when searching for something, you will often use this to find local businesses. Think of searches like “coffee shops near me” or “barbers near me.” These searches have grown tremendously since their inception, but many small businesses don’t do enough to take advantage of this user behavior.

Looking back a few years, Google saw:

  • 500%+ growth in mobile searches for “___ near me”
  • 150%+ growth in mobile searches for  “___ near me now”
  • 900%+ growth in mobile searches for  “___ near me today/tonight”
  • 200%+ growth in mobile searches for “Open” + “now” + “near me.”

Since that data was released, the trends for ‘near me’ searches have continued to increase on roughly the same trajectory. This means that people are using these keywords more than ever to find what they want in a specific area and when they want it. This has dramatically affected commerce and eCommerce alike and continues to be an essential factor in user decisions.

Why do ‘near me’ searches matter for rental businesses?

‘Near me’ searches can significantly impact the traffic rental business’ websites, and physical locations generate. Not only do people use these search terms for finding bikes, kayaks, or ski rentals on vacation, they also use them for finding equipment they need to complete a specific task, like tools, cameras, and storage containers.

Let’s look at how these searches have grown for bikes, cameras, parties, and equipment.

How searches for “bike rental near me” have grown

bike-rental-near-me

For bike rentals, we can see that searches for “bike rental near me” have increased 700% between the summer of 2015 and the summer of 2021. On average, searches have increased by 200% year to year. You will notice dips in the winter, as bike rental is generally considered a seasonal business that peaks in the summer.

How searches for “camera rental near me” have grown

camera-rental-near-me

For camera rentals, we can see that searches for “camera rental near me” have increased 1,000% between the summer of 2015 and the summer of 2021. On average, searches have increased by 250% year to year. As expected, there was a dip in summer 2020 as COVID-19 restrictions meant projects was generally put on hold.

How searches for “party rental near me” have grown

party-rental-near-me

For party rentals, we can see that searches for “party rental near me” have increased 900% between the summer of 2015 and the summer of 2021. On average, searches have increased by 200% year to year. Again, with social contact decreasing in summer 2020, we can see a dip in interest with an 800% increase in summer 2021.

How searches for “equipment rental near me” have grown

equipment-rental-near-me

For equipment rentals, we can see that searches for “equipment rental near me” have increased 1,400% between the spring of 2015 and the spring of 2021. On average, searches have increased by 200% year to year. This can be attributed to more and more people working in their own homes rather than hiring a professional.

So, if your rental business isn’t showing up for ‘near me’ searches related to your industry, there are a lot of potential customers you’re missing out on. It’s, therefore, vital that you tailor your web presence towards local intent search terms, which isn’t as challenging as you may think.

How to rank rental businesses in local Google searches

Unlike a lot of search engine marketing, local Google searches don’t require extensive expertise or colossal time investment to see results. There are three little areas that you should be focussing on to improve your website’s ranking for ‘near me’ searches and generate traffic. Let’s see what you can do today to take advantage of this rising trend.

Optimize your Google My Business listing

The easiest way to help your rental business rank higher in Google searches is by completing your Google My Business listing. This is the home to essential information about your rental business like location, operating hours, and anything else that’s relevant to potential customers. Google sees these listings as powerful tools for their users, especially in Google Maps and local searches.

This means that Google shows a heavy bias towards businesses that share as much information as possible in their listing. It is vital that you ensure your listing is complete, up-to-date, and accurate as Google uses it to determine its relevance for a user’s search intents, especially when showing relevant results for ‘near me’ searches.

google-my-business-rental-profile

Your first step is to create and claim your listing, or if you already have one, you will need to update it. Be sure to enter all required information and upload attractive photos of your shop and products. The more information and unique images you provide for your business, the better the listing becomes for ranking your rental business.

Some tips to consider include adding a local number (Google prioritizes businesses whose number matches their location), ensuring all web listings of your business share the same information (Google cross-references your data across the web to verify authenticity), and creating separate listings if you have multiple locations.

Encourage your customers to leave reviews on Google

If you’ve done any search engine optimization in the past, you will know that Google doesn’t share specific details on ranking factors. However, search experts have found that they can rely on case studies and experiments to determine some ranking factors. So, we have some idea of what can contribute to better ranking in search results.

Local SEO Guide studied the most important local search ranking factor, and they found that Google Reviews had the most significant positive effect. They saw that local businesses that had more reviews, with a large percentage of five-star ratings, were more likely to rank higher for ‘near me’ search terms than those with fewer or no reviews.

So, how can you boost your Google Reviews? You can start by asking customers to review your rental business. When customers are happy, they are very likely to leave a review for your business. In addition, you can include reminders in your store, on invoices, or in email communication. It won’t be long before you have plenty of reviews.

Include local keywords in your website structure

Finally, as with traditional search engine optimization, Google takes signals from the keywords used throughout your website’s content, URLs, and metadata. You can improve your chances of ranking higher for localized searches by sprinkling location names throughout your website. This will help Google to confirm your location and specialization.

It can be a great idea to have location-based pages for the towns and cities around your area. This will help your website act as a hub and pass some authority from your homepage to localized pages. Targetting individual cities or neighborhoods can pay off as they increase your website’s reputation and improve rankings for local searches.

Google’s ‘near me’ results are important

With the rise of smartphone usage and ‘near me’ searches, the growth of local intent searches will continue to increase. If you can get your website to rank for these terms, you can introduce your rental business to a new and broader audience of potential customers. By taking the three steps above, you can increase your chances of getting the best ranking position.

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