With the increasing popularity of voice-enabled devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Home and the surge in mobile searches for local services, online searches for local businesses are more prevalent than ever.
To stay ahead, you must optimize for “near me” and voice-activated local searches. In this guide, we’ll provide 20 expert tips on how to optimize and rank for “near me” searches on Google, so your local business can get the exposure it needs.
Table of Contents
Understanding ‘Near Me’ Searches
‘Near me’ search queries refer to users looking for specific products and services in a particular location. These searches typically indicate an immediate purchase intent at the time of the search.
Users expect to find relevant businesses nearby to meet their needs promptly. Optimizing for ‘near me’ searches can significantly boost visibility and attract potential customers actively seeking local solutions.
Significance of ‘Near Me’ Searches for Local Businesses
As Google recognizes the desire for physical experiences before purchase, consumers often turn to search engines for local information.
According to statistics, 46% of all Google searches seek local results, and 88% of mobile searches for local businesses lead to visits or calls within 24 hours.
With most smartphone users keeping their GPS enabled, reaching potential customers during critical decision-making moments becomes possible.
Neglecting near me optimization means missing out on valuable consumers and potential conversions, making it essential to harness this powerful tool for increased sales.
Rise of Near Me Searches on Google
In recent years, “Near me” searches have experienced remarkable growth, as evidenced by the following statistics:
- 150% surge in phrases like “near me now” (e.g., “Pizza near me now”).
- 900% increase in phrases like “near me tonight/today” (e.g., “clubs near me tonight”).
- 200% rise in phrases combining “now” with “near me” (e.g., “stores open near me now”).
The prevalence of location or GPS-enabled mobile devices contributes significantly to this trend.
Top Categories for ‘Near Me’ Queries on Google
In a survey by Uberall, 82% of smartphone users performed “near me” searches from July 23 to July 27, 2018.
- Food: 84% of users conduct “near me” searches for food businesses, indicating a high demand for local dining options.
- Entertainment: 56% of users search for local entertainment venues, events, and activities in their vicinity.
- Banking: 50% of users seek nearby banking services, including branches and ATMs.
- Apparel: 41% of users look for local clothing and fashion stores, emphasizing the significance of optimizing for this category.
- Personal Care: 38% of users search for nearby personal care services like salons, spas, and gyms.
The survey highlights the clear intent of users to find local businesses in various categories.
How Do You Optimize and Rank for “Near Me” Searches?
Optimizing your business for “Near me” searches is of utmost importance to enhance your local search presence. Here are some valuable methods to optimize near me searches:
1. Optimize Your Google My Business Listing for ‘Near Me’ Searches”
Focus on local business results pages to reach the top of “near me” searches. Take, for instance, “Sunset Bistro,” ranking highest for the query “cozy cafes near me.” Wondering how they did it?
To list your business in local search results:
- Open an account on Google My Business.
- Click “Start now” and follow the instructions.
- Enter your complete name and address.
- Provide clear directions using Google Maps.
- Edit business details as guided.
- Add hours, contact info, and website.
- Choose the right category.
- Include photos of services.
- Encourage positive reviews for ranking.
- Keep NAP consistent across profiles.
- Ensure accurate and up-to-date info.
Finally, consider adding business attributes like available amenities, such as WiFi.
2. Boost Local SEO with Geographic Backlinks
To improve rankings for “near me” searches, focus on acquiring high authority and relevant backlinks with geographically rich anchor text.
For instance, if your goal is to rank for “near me” searches for the category “coffee shop” in the location “Seattle,” consider using location-specific anchor text like “best coffee shop in Seattle,” “Seattle’s finest coffee spot,” “top-rated cafe near Seattle downtown,” and other similar variants.
3. Target and Optimize Pages for Every Business Location
If your business serves multiple locations, create separate pages for each city using the following tactics:
- Use a user-friendly URL structure, like “www.mysite.com/LA-bakery” for Los Angeles.
- Optimize titles and meta tags for the target keyword.
- Add location-specific titles and alt tags to images.
- Include comprehensive descriptions with store hours, menus, directions, and amenities.
- Enhance relevance by adding a video of each store with a transcription.
Finally, employ smart internal linking, connecting location-specific pages in the footer using “near me” as anchor text.
4. Ensure Mobile Friendly Website for ‘Near Me’ Searches
Prioritize user experience, as Google favors sites that offer the best experience. Ensure mobile-friendliness and improve site speed with these steps:
- Make your site responsive for all devices.
- Optimize site speed and create AMP pages.
- Enable Gzip compression.
- Implement a user-friendly search bar.
- Avoid Flash for a better user experience.
- Enable auto-correct for forms and search bar.
- Use large button sizes for easy clicking.
- Leverage browser caching and a CDN for faster loading.
By following these steps to ensure mobile friendliness and optimize site speed, your website will be well-positioned to rank higher in “near me” searches.
5. Drive Local Engagement with a Blog and Local Links
Regularly sharing articles on your blog keeps users updated about your business services when they subscribe to it.
You can also conduct interviews with local influencers, publish local surveys, and create blog posts that address specific user queries, which can help you earn relevant links and authority backlinks.
This, in turn, can persuade potential customers in the “I want to know” phase of their journey to consider your products or services.
6. Smart Devices and the Impact on ‘Near Me’ Searches
The demand for smart devices is soaring, with approximately 43 million smart speaker users in the U.S., as the National Public Media reported.
With the increasing popularity of these devices, it’s no wonder that people frequently use them to ask “near me” queries.
7. Enhance Your Google My Business Profiles
For an effective Google Business Profile optimization, include and keep key information up-to-date. This includes:
- Your address
- Contact details
- Hours of operation (along with relevant keywords for your business and industry)
Boost your ranking further by adding photos with strategic keyword names, enhancing your online presence and visibility.
8. Consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) for Local SEO
Ensure consistent and accurate basic business information across all pages to optimize your website. Alongside a standard “Contact” page, include this info in the footer of all pages, aiding Google in indexing and ranking.
Match this data precisely with your Google My Business (GMB) listing. This coherence enhances your online presence and boosts local search visibility.
9. Leverage Landmarks, Neighborhoods, and Cities in Your Content
Certain businesses enjoy greater offline recognition, influencing their local rankings in search results. Landmark hotels, renowned museums, celebrated restaurants, and familiar stores nearby may also appear prominently in local search results due to their offline prominence and familiarity to users.
10. Improve Mobile Page Speed and Performance for ‘Near Me’ Queries
Site speed significantly impacts user experience, with most mobile visitors leaving if a page takes more than three seconds to load.
Google considers site speed in rankings, making it crucial to optimize your pages for fast loading to avoid a negative impact on rankings and to retain potential customers, preventing them from seeking alternatives.
11. Ensure Correct Listings on Top-Ranking Review Sites for “Near Me” Searches.
While Google My Business holds significant importance, you must explore other review sites on the first page for your targeted “near me” terms.
Ensure you have listings on sites like Yelp or Clutch, as generating authority across multiple review platforms will lead to higher rankings.
12. Minimal Success with Including “Near Me” Term in Content
Excluding the “near me” phrase from your content can be challenging and may sound awkward. In our experience, directly incorporating the term hasn’t yielded significant results.
However, don’t consider it a critical keyword; follow our other tips to achieve full optimization and improve your rankings for local SEO and “near me” searches.
13. Test and Analyze Results for “Near Me” Searches
To uncover untapped opportunities:
- Conduct tests.
- If you encounter challenges with a specific keyword, consider optimizing for its synonyms.
Ensure you’ve correctly completed previous steps before revisiting them for synonym optimization.
14. Enhance the Visibility of Customer Feedback
To attract more customers and stand out from competitors, prioritize customer reviews. Encourage feedback from current customers and showcase reviews on your website.
Use schema code for star ratings in search results to boost online visibility and conversion rates. These practices are essential for any local business website targeting nearby customers amid the rise of “near me” searches.
15. Build Separate Pages for Each Business Location
Create separate web pages per city for businesses with multiple locations to rank individually in users’ “near me” searches. Optimize each page by:
- Adding the target keyword to the title and meta tags.
- Using user-friendly URLs.
- Optimizing alt and title tags for images, including location details.
- Providing accurate business descriptions with opening hours, price lists, and amenities.
By implementing these optimization techniques, your business can increase its online visibility and attract more local customers in each specific location.
16. Effective Platforms for Near Me Keywords Placement
After optimizing your website and Google My Business, identify suitable platforms to list your business details. Utilize strategic placements to leverage “near me” keywords and engage the local audience effectively.
17. Display Essential Business Information
To enhance your site for local search, follow these steps:
- Display your accurate business name, address, and phone number(s) frequently, preferably at the bottom of every page.
- Use schema markup to provide this information, including address, region, postal code, and country.
Updating schema markup enables Google to present this data to potential customers effectively.
18. Utilize Schema to Highlight Events in SERPs
Boost your visibility in local search results by organizing events and utilizing Schema markup to showcase this information.
Updating your schema markup enhances your credibility and enables Google to recommend your business for location-based queries such as “events near me,” expanding your market reach.
19. Optimize Photos for Location-Based Searches
Pictures significantly impact location-based searches. Optimize images carefully, using the location as a target keyword in website text, file names, and tags for each photograph to boost rankings for specific places.
20. Create Individual Web Pages for Each Business Location
Multi-location businesses can benefit significantly from ranking in “near-me” searches, increasing overall ranking and traffic.
Consistently list each address in the same place on your site. Checklist factors for separate location pages include having the city in the title and H1 tag, fast loading times, and geographic keyword relevance in content.
Best Practices for Applying ‘Near Me’ Keywords
Small businesses can strengthen local visibility and attract more local audiences to their physical store or online business by optimizing ‘near me’ keywords, and here are some niches for positive SEO efforts.
Solopreneurs such as plumbers, electricians, and carpenters can boost local visibility by optimizing website content, GMB accounts, and social media profiles for quality leads through ‘near me’ searches.
Travel and Hotel Guides
For travel and hotel guides, establishing a strong local presence is vital. Utilize ‘near me’ keywords effectively, such as “tourist guides in Washington,” to target local audiences and reap the benefits on relevant platforms.
Use ‘near me’ keywords for e-commerce to boost revenue and attract customers to your physical store. For instance, a furniture company can optimize content with keywords like “furniture showrooms in Los Angeles” to target local audiences effectively and improve search engine visibility.
Boutique Stores Optimization
Online boutiques can maximize keyword optimization for local engagement. By enhancing website content with ‘near me’ phrases like “saree shops near me,” you establish a strong SERP and GMB presence, attracting the local audience effectively.
Factors Impacting “Near Me” Searches in Local SEO
Several key factors influence “near me” searches in local SEO. These include:
The proximity of a business to the searcher’s location plays a significant role in ranking.
Business Information Consistency
Ensuring accurate and consistent business names, addresses, and phone numbers (NAP) across platforms is crucial.
Reviews and Ratings
Positive reviews and high ratings enhance local search visibility.
Mobile-optimized websites are favored for “near me” queries, considering the prevalence of mobile searches.
Business listings on reputable directories and review sites improve local search rankings.
Google My Business
Optimizing GMB listing with complete and up-to-date information is essential for local visibility.
Content relevance, including location-specific keywords, improves local rankings.
Understanding and optimizing these factors can significantly improve a business’s visibility in “near me” searches, attracting local customers effectively.
Leveraging Voice Search For ‘Near Me’ Searches
With the rise of voice search, local businesses have a unique opportunity to optimize for ‘near me’ searches. Users frequently rely on voice search while on the move, making it essential to creatively address the questions users may ask their devices to find your business.
You can get an edge over competitors not yet optimized for voice search by identifying relevant voice search queries.
Harness the Power of “Near Me” Optimization Today
Local businesses can reap the benefits of optimizing “near me” searches by utilizing creative keyword strategies and leveraging the power of digital platforms.
Having an SEO expert on board can help you identify the best practices in ‘near me’ optimization to boost your local presence and attract more customers.
Investing in high-quality SEO services can result in higher local rankings, increased website traffic, and more successful business. Start exploring the power of “near me” optimization today.