Home Care Local SEO: How Proximity Affects Search Results

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The location in which a user is searching for your home care company at any given time can impact the results they receive. In fact, according to Moz.com, proximity to searcher is now the new #1 local search ranking factor. You may have noticed, though, that some of the top findings may not have reviews or even a website. You may wonder why those first few results come up first. It’s called proximity, and it’s one way Google ranks search results. That’s why the top results that pop up from a local SEO search are almost always those companies that are in closest proximity to the person doing the searching.

The Effects of Possum

Moz goes on to say that for most local searches these days, proximity is weighted in terms of results even more so than links, website content, citations, and reviews. Google determines this in any number of ways, from IP address to wi-fi to mobile data. But you don’t even have to be located within strict city limits to be found by your clientele. Thanks to Google’s Possum update back in September 2016, the algorithm now uses a proximity test to determine if a business qualifies to rank, says Inc.com. In a nutshell, if a business is located close to a city, it can rank by using that city name. Also as part of the Possum update, Google filters by address as well as name. So, if you have several practitioners within your home care business, for instance, only one will show up at the top in local search. The rest will still be there; they’ll just be pushed down lower. That’s because Google discourages duplicate entries based on phone number or domain name, and now, physical address of the listing.

Possum’s biggest advantage is that it makes local 3-pack search results dependent on the searcher’s location. If local SEO is important to your business, which it should be, you’ll want to take notice. This means you’ll be coming up in search terms for users looking for home care near them. This could be near their school, home, work or wherever they happen to be at the moment, provided they allow Google to access location data on their phones. It’s a good idea to test out the system by posing as a user within the region of your business rather than simply Googling your own business location. Keep in mind, the further you move away from a location, the more Google Maps will zoom out, dropping any extraneous businesses as it goes.

Importance of Local Search

There’s one reason why local search matters so much and it’s called “mobile capability.” With more and more users on their smart phones throughout the day, it’s crucial to capture those micro-moments that really matter. According to Search Engine Watch, 91% of smartphone users look for ideas and insight when in the middle of a task, 90% aren’t sure which company they want (they just know they need home care for their loved one), and 65% look for the most relevant information to their search, despite which company pops up. While today’s users are less brand loyal, no one can ignore how important it is for a local company to come up in a search.

Forbes says search trends dictate SEO strategy. So, the more specific you can get with phrases and locations, the better off you’ll be. Consider the fact that Google Trends data illustrates that searches with location-specific phrasing are rising big time, by 34 times more popular than in 2011. The growth of mobile technology and Google’s advanced search sophistication are at the helm of this rising tide. Google is making a push to enhance mobile search, for obvious reasons.

Of course, beyond location, there are other ways to boost your ranking in search results, such as through strategic keyword usage, and optimization of profiles on review sites like Yelp as well as watchdog sites like the Better Business Bureau.

According to Entrepreneur, Google has been showing slight favoritism toward newer, smaller, more agile companies. Do you fall under that category? You could, with the right help. Remember, local searches are being based on hyper-specific locations these days, rather than simply on a regional or neighborhood-specific basis.

Contact A Servant’s Heart Web Design and Marketing

You don’t have to go it alone. Here at A Servant’s Heart Web Design and Marketing, we offer website design, SEO and online marketing for those who serve the elderly. Let our experts optimize your site for local search and SEO capabilities so you can rank higher with those who are looking for you in the community. Contact us at (760) 227-2720 for a free SEO consultation or to find out more information about our services.


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