How Your Business Can Leverage “Near Me” Searches to Gain More Local Business
“Near me” searches have grown by 150% and “shopping near me” alone has increased by 200%. It’s projected to continue rising since nearly 60% of website traffic comes from mobile phones and 82% of America’s population owns a smartphone1.
This article will show you what you need to do to leverage the benefits of local SEO “near me” searches. Learn how to optimize your website in 7 different ways so your business shows up in front of people looking for your products and services at that moment!
What’s Covered in this Article:
- What is a Local SEO “Near Me” Search Query?
- 7 Ways to Optimize Your Website for Higher Local SEO “Near Me” Rankings
What is a Local SEO “Near Me” Search Query?
Local SEO “near me” search queries are bottom-of-funnel (BoF) keywords with high conversion intent and search volume. People are using “near me” in their searches to find businesses close to them that will fulfill their needs.
After its latest algorithm updates, Google no longer treats “near me” searches as a direct keyword. So, no, your business will not have an advantage by featuring “near me” within its business name or website domain.
Google is instead treating local SEO “near me” searches as a signal for a business’s proximity to the person searching online. The current local SEO ranking factors are Relevance, Prominence, and Distance.
- Relevance: How relevant your business products and services are compared to the user’s search.Target high-intent keywords to improve the relevancy of your keyword rankings. It’s essential to show up for the keywords your target customer is searching for.
- Prominence: How well-known and trusted your business is online. Local citation and online review building are key to increasing your business’s prominence online.
- Distance: How close in proximity your business is to the location of the person conducting the search. Optimizing your content for local SEO “near me” keywords is the solution.
People are using alternative terms that are similar to “near me” searches that have also increased in the number of searches, such as:
- “close by”
- “close to me”
- “around here”
- “open now”
Searches for “open now near me” have grown globally by over 400% YOY. All of this is to say that you should optimize your website for more than just “near me” searches!
Each of the seven strategies below will also help boost your online rankings for the alternative keywords listed above.
Local SEO “Near Me” Searches: 7 Ways to Optimize Your Website for Higher Rankings
Since Google no longer treats local SEO “near me” searches as keyword-matching phrases, we’re going to explain seven ways you can optimize your website to show up for that search.
1. Google Business Profile
To rank on Google’s Local Map Pack, you must create a Google Business Profile. Previously called Google My Business, the free business listing underwent a name change in 2021 while maintaining the core functionality.
Take advantage of a Google My Business Optimization Service to give your profile a leg up on Local Map Pack rankings!
It’s not just a service for businesses that have a physical location customers can visit. Service-based businesses can also use Google Business Profile without displaying an address.
Not only does your Google Business Profile hit the three main local ranking factors mentioned above (Prominence, Distance, and Relevance), it also plays a vital role in enhancing user experience.
People want answers to their questions immediately. So give it to them by optimizing your profile with the necessary information, such as:
- Business name
- Business category (industry)
- Website URL
- Address or service area
- Hours of operation (including holidays and weekends)
- Contact information (phone number or email address)
- Available amenities (e.g. Wheelchair accessible, accepted payment options, etc.)
- Products and services offered (along with prices and links to each web page)
- High-quality Images (products, services, business interior and exterior, and team photos)
- A detailed business description with keywords
2. Updated Local Citations
Local citations are the information that’s featured within a local business listing for a company. As mentioned earlier, Google Business Profile is a free online directory where businesses can create a local citation to display their company information.
It’s made of key business information including:
- NAP (name, address, and phone number)
- Business hours
- Website URL
- Business description
- Products and services
Local citations are displayed within a local business directory. Depending on the business directory, the type of information you can feature will vary.
The key is to feature the same information in each local citation and local directory. Maintain consistency and accuracy.
If your local citations show different results in each local directory, that diminishes your website’s trust to search engines like Google. Your website is at risk of not being crawled and indexed.
Therefore, your website will not show up for local searches.
3. Optimize Your Website to be Mobile-Friendly
Since 82% of shoppers are doing “near me” searches on their mobile devices, we cannot stress enough how important it is to make your website mobile-friendly. Gone are the days when you can get away with having a poor mobile experience because most of your traffic comes from desktop users.
Google has shifted towards Mobile-First Indexing regardless of your main device source. Every website is being crawled and indexed from a mobile user experience first.
You will not rank well for local SEO “near me” searches if your website does not deliver a quality mobile user experience.
How do you know if your website is mobile-friendly?
- Inspect it yourself on various mobile devices. Run quality assurance on your website to see if there are any broken or overlapping elements. Check if the text is too small to read. Look for images with very poor quality. Inspect every detail!
- Inspect individual pages using the Mobile-Friendly Test. Google’s free tool is a great option because it gives you a visual score of how well your website performs on mobile devices. It also provides you with a list of what can be improved.
- Run a site speed test for your mobile user experience. You have your pick of the litter when it comes to site speed tools, but our favorites are:
4. Add an Embedded Map to Your Website
Adding an embedded Google Map to your website is a major user experience booster because people can instantly see where you’re located. This is achieved by adding an HTML script to your site through Google Maps Embed API.
What you get in return is an interactive map on your web page that allows potential customers to see how far your business is from them, online reviews, hours of operation, and more. Get step-by-step instructions from Google on how to implement this!
5. Optimized Content for Local SEO Keywords
One of the foundational elements of SEO is to identify high search volume, high intent, and low competition keywords. The same applies to local SEO.
Incorporate location-specific keywords throughout your content, along with geographical elements and local landmarks. This helps search engines better understand where your business is located or what regions your business can offer services to.
As a result, search engines have a better understanding of what local SEO “near me” searches to display your website for.
If your company has several storefronts within a region, duplicate content can become an issue. We recommend differentiating your location pages by speaking to what’s near your storefront. Highlight neighboring businesses, local landmarks, and detailed instructions on how to find your storefront.
This should vary enough between each location helping reduce the risk of duplicate content while making your business stand out for location-specific searches.
6. Positive Online Reviews & Trust Signals
As mentioned earlier, Prominence is a local SEO ranking factor that measures how well-known your website is online. And one of the biggest factors for improving your Prominence score is to get as many positive, honest online reviews as possible.
The quantity and quality of online reviews matter for local search rankings. Your business must get as many authentic 4-5 start online reviews as possible to rank for local SEO “near me” searches.
Do not pigeonhole your business to only generating online reviews for your Google Business Profile. Put effort into asking for customer reviews on other relevant online directories. The more diversity there is, the higher your website’s trust signals are.
7. LocalBusiness Schema Markup
Schema markup (aka structured data) is a script of code that serves to help search engines better understand the type of business you have. Just as it sounds, LocalBusiness schema markup tells search engines that your company is a local business.
As a result, it can help your website rank higher for local SEO “near me” searches.
Don’t stress if you don’t know how to write this markup code by yourself. There are free tools that function specifically to create LocalBusiness schema markup. Use these free tools our own SEO experts trust:
- Merkle LocalBusiness Schema Generator
- Microdata LocalBusiness Schema Generator (it will create JSON-LD code)
Remember to create JSON-LD code and not microdata (Google prefers JSON-LD). The second source we linked above sounds contradicting since “microdata” is in the business name, but rest assured that the generated schema markup code is JSON-LD.
Once your structured data is written, test it out to ensure that Google can understand it and identify any possible issues before publishing it to your website.
Need Help Ranking for Local SEO “Near Me” Searches?
We understand that business owners rarely have the time to focus on anything other than running their actual business. SEO evolves quickly and requires a large amount of time and resources to succeed in local search results.
Let us do the heavy lifting for you! Contact our SEO experts to get a firsthand look at how we’ve helped businesses like yours increase their online presence. Schedule a free consultation today – no strings attached!
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