More than ever, mobile and desktop users are doing local searches using the “near me" qualifier. And even if they don’t, search engines are kind enough to auto-suggest it. The "near me" phenomenon is growing, and local businesses are scrambling to optimize their website content to accommodate these types of searches.
Although "near me" searches aren't the bulk of local searches, they are valuable because they show local intent. In other words, they represent high-quality traffic for your local business.
Many business owners think that in order to appear in “near me” search results, they have to be in close proximity to the searcher. But this is not always the case. Check out the example below. Even though Bob Evans is closer, the Brown Derby ranks higher. Why? Better Google reviews. According to a study done in 2016 by Search Engine Land, this factor, along with keyword and location laden backlinks and internal links can make a big difference in where you land in local search results.
Tips for Higher Search Rankings for “Near Me” Searches
So, based on the research available, what steps can you take today to improve your visibility for these types of searches? Here are seven actionable items to get started on today.
- Obtain Google Reviews. Encourage customers to leave reviews for you on your Google business listing (but don't bribe them). Research indicates that Google reviews can affect the placement of your business in the Google listings as seen in the example above.
- Add “near me” to the tags of your location pages. This would include your metadata, like page title and description, which appear in the <head> code of you web pages.
- Add “near me” (and other popular keyword variations like "nearest me" or "nearby") to the page text of your location page(s).
- Add “near me” to the anchor text of internal links within your pages. This is especially important on store locator pages if your business has more than one location. Embedding a Google Map can also be helpful for each location page.
- Add “near me” to the page URL(s).
- Get backlinks (incoming links to your web pages) to your location pages with anchor text that includes your city and state.
- Follow the steps above with variants like “nearby” or “nearest me.”
In addition to the steps above, be sure to include your city and state in links and URLs wherever relevant.
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