Google Local NearbyWe decided to come to Hilton Head, SC for Thanksgiving.  The weather is beyond perfect, and we are staying in Water Oaks Villa in Palmetto Dunes.  We rented some bikes to explore the beach and surrounding areas.  And besides my sore lower back (I added a tandem bike for my daughter), the time with family here in Hilton Head has been awesome.

Yesterday we were on the beach riding our bikes and went about 3 miles south of our origination point.  Then we decided to get off the beach and get back up on the road.  I pulled out my Google Maps app to get directions, and of course there’s the option for “Bike Route”, so that’s what I picked.

Once I got the bike route set, I noticed the “nearby” option on the app.  So I tapped it and was presented with options such as hotels, restaurants, bars & pubs, etc…

When I tapped restaurant, it was interesting to see the #1 ranked restaurant wasn’t necessarily the closest.  Of course they were all within a mile or so of our location, but the #1 ranked restaurant wasn’t the one right next to us.

In other words, although Google Maps did show the restaurants that were nearby, the ranking of restaurants was not driven my our exact proximity or distance to the restaurants.

This made me realize, once again, the relevance of local SEO and overall structure and optimization of your Google My Business listing.  The restaurant that was #1 had reviews, lots of pictures, accurate business hours, and of course the accurate phone number.  And if I was able to view the analytics of  their GMB listing, I would probably see an exponential amount of actions such as photo views, requests for directions, calls, and more.

In small metro areas, this differentiation wouldn’t be as important since there would be far fewer competing restaurants.

But in a place like Hilton Head, even during the off season time of Thanksgiving, having an authoritative GMB listing can make the difference betwen attracting a new customer, or not being see at all.

We didn’t stop to eat anywhere on our way back, but if we did, more than likely the nearby now recommendations would have influenced where we stopped.