Lalit Sharma

How to Optimize For ‘Near Me’ Searches (Tips That Really Work)

Last updated: 7 Comments

This brief guide talks about SEO for near me searches. The techniques and tips discussed in this article are based on my experience. 

Many local search engine optimization experts make a big mistake while optimizing businesses for local search.

An important thing is this mistake costs often big.  Are you are committing the same mistake?

What is it?

Not optimizing local businesses for ‘near me’ searches.

Yes, my friend, you read it right. As a local search optimization expert, you should not ignore ‘near me’ searches.

If you do, you will leave a good chunk of traffic to your competitors. This is something you would never like to happen.

In today’s post, I’m going to discuss SEO for near me searches.

After reading this post, I’m sure, you will successfully be able to reach people who are searching for “near me’.

But before we dive in, let’s shed some light on the context.

What Are ‘Near Me’ Searches

‘Near Me’ searches are location-based search queries. They are often conducted with a view to get quick results nearby.

Suppose, you are hungry and want to search for a restaurant that is near to your present location. You might search for ‘restaurant near me.’

restaurant near me google search snapsot

The results of your search queries are based on your present location.

These are desktop-based Google Maps results.

Google Maps Images for restaurants near me

When I searched on my mobile phone with the same query (location data on), I got the following results.

Screenshot_2018-02-28-12-29-38-338_com.android.chrome-min

So you can see that mobile search results show distance as well. And you must have noticed that mobile search results on Google Maps are not ranked according to the distance. Bikkgane Biryani is featured at the bottom of the Google Maps results, but it is only 350 meters away from my location.

The point here is,

Even if you are very close to a searcher’s location, it is not necessary that you will come on the top on Google Maps.

You need to optimize your business for ‘near me’ searches.

Why You Need to Optimize For ‘Near Me’

Today, businesses cannot ignore ‘near me’ searches as more and more people are searching for ‘keyword + near me.’

According to the data from Google,

“Search interest in “near me” has increased 34X since 2011 and nearly doubled since last year. The vast majority come from mobile—80% in Q4 2014.”

Google Trends also suggests a steep growth for search term ‘near me’.

google trend near me_screenshot

Here is the data about related topics and related queries for ‘near me’ searches.

Google Trends Related topics_screenshots

You see that restaurant topics and beauty parlor queries are on the top. Google Trends will show you the data of 16 topics and queries.

Why is there a tremendous growth in ‘near me’ searches? What is the reason?

Over the years, people have become more exact, precise in how they search on Google. Now, they want results that serve their purposes of search aptly.

By searching with KW+near me, they become sure that the results will be relevant to their locations. It is kind of magical.

What’s more,

As the number of mobile searches is greater than desktop searches these days and mobile search for ‘KW+near me’ shows distances as well, search queries with near me is growing rapidly.

near me growth_screenshot

However, people have started to add location qualifiers with near me.

“We’re now seeing a shift toward dropping location qualifiers (like zip codes, neighborhoods, and “near me” phrasing) in local searches, because people know that the results will automatically be relevant to their location—thanks to their phone,” says Google.

Steps to Optimizing for Near Me (SEO for Near Me Searches)

Leaving a few tweaks, near me optimization is the same as local search optimization.
So the best local SEO techniques with a few add-ons work great for ‘near me’ optimization.

According to Google, local search results are based on relevance, prominence, and distance. These factors are combined to deliver the best search results to match searchers’ queries.

Here are some best practices that will help you rank on the top for ‘near me’ search queries.

1- Get Your Business Mobile

As I mentioned earlier mobile searches are now more than desktop searches, you cannot leverage ‘near me’ optimization if you don’t optimize your business for mobile.

In fact, 50.03% of all web traffic in 2017 were from mobile.

Here is the percentage of the web page served to mobile phones:

Image for mobile traffic data

This data from Statista confirms that trend of people using mobile phones will continue to grow.

How will mobile optimization help you get the top ranking for ‘near me’ keywords?

My friend, Google is going to be Mobile-first indexing. Additionally, the trend of voice search is catching up fast. And people often use their mobile phones to conudct voice search. This all implies that getting mobile will help you when you are optimizing for near me searches.

Here are a few best practice for mobile optimization:

  • Keep word count between 700-1000 words
  • Use structured data
  • Improve site speed
  • Don’t use flash media unless it is very necessary
  • Adopt AMP
  • Have smooth UX

For more details about mobile optimization, refer to my definitive guide to mobile SEO.

2- Update Google My Business Listing

If you want to dominate search results for ‘near me’ search queries, you should make sure that your business information on Google is accurate and up-to-date. This is a must.

Google My Business_screenshot

Following are the things you should provide to Google accurately:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Website and phone
  • Business hours
  • Categories
  • Menu (if Applicable)

Updating Google My Business (GMB) information is critical for the ranking. So you should take it seriously.

Instead of your toll-free number, you should feature your local number.

Introduction of Google My Business is very important for a high ranking, so you should optimize it properly for ‘KW+near me.’

You should avoid stuffing the introduction of GMB with keywords – use keywords and key phrases in a natural way.

After updating Google My Business information, you should get your GMB listing verified.

If you haven’t listed your business on Google, you can start now by clicking here.

3- Keep Reviews and Ratings Visible to Google

SEO for near me searches

My friend, review, and ratings are important for optimizing for ‘near me’ searches. More positive reviews and higher ratings you have, the better it will be. Why?

Reviews and ratings build your relevance and prominence on Google, so they help you rank higher.

Google itself said,

“Google review count and score are factored into local search ranking: more reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business’s local ranking.”

So you should encourage your customers to write reviews and give ratings.

Needless to say, you will get a few negative reviews as well. Should you ignore them?

You should never ignore negative reviews, but you should reply to negative reviews according to Google’s Guidelines.

If you use Schema Markup for reviews, Google may show them in SERPs. Search results with reviews have a better click-through-rate, improving local ranking eventually.

4- Keep NPA+W Consistent

To get a higher local ranking, you should make sure that your NPA+W is consistent all over the web.

What is NPA+W?

It is Name Phone Address + Website.

By keeping your NPA+W consistent across the web, you help Google show accurate information to searchers.

Here is an example of complete NPA+W

Ranking By SEO, {+91 (995) 353-2683)}, A-45, Sector 63, Noida, India https://www.rankingbyseo.com/

If your NPA+W is not consistent, Google might get confused to show the most relevant information, reducing the chance of getting the top ranking for ‘near me’ search queries.

Checking NPA across the web is not an easy task. In fact, you will have to spend a great deal of time if you do it manually.

The best way is to use a tool for this task.

5- Build Citations on Authority Sites

To optimize your business for ‘near me’ searches, you should build local citation on high authority websites.

Local citation is nothing but the online mention of NPA+W. How local citations can help you get the top ranking?

Local citations help your business build relevance on Google.

Top citations sites that you should target to build citations are yahoo.com, here.com, opentable.com, bbb.org, yellowpages.com, Angie’s List, etc.

Local citations spread awareness through websites that most people consider reputable and increase CTR, helping your business rank higher eventually.

6- Earn Backlinks With Geographic Anchor

Do backlinks help?

Yes, they do. Google considers backlinks as trust vote. Therefore, high-quality backlinks build your prominence on Google, improving your chance to rank higher.

However, you should make sure that you build and earn backlinks with geographical anchors to optimize for ‘near me’ searches.

Also, you should create locally focused content with geographic elements.

Here are a few ways to create local contents to earn backlinks:

  • Incorporate local influencers
  • Write guest posts for locally-focused blogs
  • Pitch to local media to get featured

7- Get On-Page SEO Right

To optimize your business for ‘near me’ searches, you should make sure to let Google know what you offer and where you offer it.

On-page SEO will help you do it.

Ensure that Title tags, Meta tags, Header tags, Page content, images are optimized for ‘near me’ searches.

Also, don’t forget to add name, address, and phone to every page.

Conclusion:

‘Near me’ searches are something that you cannot ignore if you want to target local people.

I have found that optimizing business for mobile, updating Google My Business, keeping reviews and rating visible to Google, having consistent NPA, building citations on high-authority websites, and earning backlinks with geographic anchor ‘near me’, and on-page SEO improve ranking for near me based queries.

What about you? Do you have any other tip on SEO for near me searches? Do share it in the comment section. I’d love to know about it.

Lalit Sharma

7 comments on this post

  1. Really great efforts and I really got very constructive knowledge about Local SEO. This article is absolutely great and very effective or someone like me who is doing online trade but some principles are fairly new till date, this article was great, very informative, and accurate.

  2. Great read . I’ve always felt that the Near Me Titles were a little spammy. Quick question about adding the near me terms to content and with Adwords? Do you think using ‘near you” is seen the same as “near me”.

  3. Thanks for sharing this amazing tips with us. I also believe that 2018 will be very competitive for the digital marketer and the voice search is very important to promote your local search, therefore, you should focus on these tips to improve your voice search:- 1. Aim for Featured Snippets. 2. 39% of voice search users are looking for business information; so it’s never been a more important time to optimize your local SEO. 3. Google has mentioned that it’s looking at including voice search data in Search Console, with the idea being that these searches will be separated from keyboard queries, much like desktop and mobile search data is currently separated so try to get inside the mind of searchers. Hope these will promote your voice search in SEO. 4. Voice search is almost exclusively used on mobile, and it goes without saying that your website should be mobile-optimized.

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