Local SEO, especially in Google Search Engine, is an effortless and cost-effective way of organically bringing in more leads and consumers.
Optimizing your business for “Near Me” searches helps you perfect your local SEO strategy.
The “Near Me” search volumes have been rising for the last five years. Google Trends shows that consumers in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, South Africa, and more frequently use this key phrase.
Read until the end and get expert knowledge on creating local SEO and “Near Me” search optimization strategies.
What Is Local SEO?
The search engine optimization practice for local search results is known as local SEO. Google’s local SEO means making your business or brand appear more often in the Google Map Pack or Google Search Local Pack.
Google SERP always tries to provide the best search result to help the user. For example, a user searches for “bookstores “Near Me” on Google Search. Utilizing the Wi-Fi, cellular data, GPS, and other localization technologies, Google SERP will show three top Google Business profiles as Local Pack or Map Pack.
Google SERP analyzes all the data in Google My Business profiles of relevant businesses and ranks the top three brands in the Local Pack or Map Pack. Hence, it will be helpful if your business listing has a complete profile like business name, phone number, open time, close time, website link, videos, photos, ratings, reviews, and more.
Why Do You Need Local SEO?
Local Keywords Rank Higher in Google
To save time and effort, consumers prefer to opt for services and products available in their vicinity or nearby locality. Therefore, ranking in local keywords is more beneficial for a business than ranking nationally or internationally. For this reason, more companies are focusing on ranking on local keywords.
Easily Convert Online Queries into Offline Purchases
Nowadays, most people search online for a product before they visit an offline store to buy it. With local SEO, your company can appear among the top results, and if the consumers like it, they will end up purchasing your product or service instead of visiting a shop.
Increased Website Traffic From Local Users
Local SEO means gaining more visibility among local customers. In most cases, people visit the websites of the ranking results. Your website will have more visibility, traffic, and brand publicity. It also results in boosting sales.
Free Local Advertising
Local SEO also works as free online advertising for your business. It allows you to connect with your consumers at no cost. You can display all crucial information, such as an address, contact number, email address, product menu, opening hours, holidays, etc., to potential customers.
What Is a “Near Me” Search?
“Near Me” search is a technique for obtaining hyperlocal search results from compatible search engines. Here is how it works:
- The user opens a search engine like Google, Yahoo, or Bing.
- They type in the product or service they need and add the phrase “Near Me.”
- For example, bookstores “Near Me”, restaurants “Near Me”, gas stations “Near Me”, and so on.
- The phrase “Near Me” indicates that the user is looking for only local results.
- Accordingly, the search engine offers the best options according to data and reviews on top of all search results.
Google Search Engine is highly compatible with “Near Me” searches. It offers dedicated cards on the search result page so the user can quickly identify top businesses. For example, when you search on Google for “Near Me” results, you get a Local Pack card on top of all results. If you repeat this on Google Maps, you will also get top marks in Map Pack.
Google Trend data analysis shows that the “Near Me” search has been popular for the last few years. According to Google Trend, the “Near Me” search has an average of 90 Interest over time scores in 2022. It means the search phrase is in peak popularity.
Find below a list of country-wise popularity of “Near Me” search:
- The United States 100
- Australia 47
- The United Kingdom 46
- Canada 44
- Malaysia 35
Local businesses can profit significantly from the “Near Me” search optimization. If they follow the correct SEO and content approach for Google Maps and Google Business, they can enjoy the following benefits:
- Frequent display of their businesses on Local Pack and Map Pack cards.
- More users will get your business’s information, like phone numbers, website addresses, email addresses, etc.
- Users may call up your helpdesks for product or service inquiries.
- Your marketing team can gather various prospective customer details from phone calls, emails, and website click funnels.
- The sales or marketing team can design tailored product or service offerings for the incoming customers and quickly win orders and contracts.
Impact of Latest Google Local Search Update
In November 2021, Google rolled out an algorithm update named Vicinity update regarding local search results. This update rebalanced the ranking factors responsible for generating local search results.
Google asked businesses to continue following the best local SEO practices to rank in “Near Me” searches. It also included the prime ranking factors for generating local search results. The factors are:
#1. Relevance: It means how relevant your business profile is compared to the search query. If your business profile focuses on chocolate pastry, it will have a higher chance of ranking on the same query compared to a profile that focuses on strawberry pastry.
#2. Distance: Google will also consider the distance of your business location from the location mentioned in the search. The closest businesses will get more priority in local search results.
#3. Prominence: How popular or well-known your business is will also be considered while ranking it in the search results. The more popular your company is (based on ratings and reviews), the higher chance it has to type in the local search.
Since the weight of each factor has been rebalanced and Google never discloses the exact weight of each ranking factor, rebalancing your efforts is the best way to respond to this update.
How to Optimize Your Business for “Near Me” Search
If you want to serve your local community with your business, customizing your business for “Near Me” searches should be your priority. Here are some tips you should try for Google local search success:
Create Google My Business Profile
The first step to excel in the “Near Me” search is to have a Google Business Profile page for your company. This profile is a free tool from Google that SMB entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations can leverage to promote their businesses on Google Maps and Google Search.
All the data you enter in your Google Business Profile listing should be up-to-date and accurate. Else, Google will not show your company name when someone asks for a “Near Me” service that your company provides. Moreover, it offers additional information to the customers that help them decide whether they want to opt for your company or not.
Adding your necessary information is not enough for “Near Me” searches; you also need to add relevant pictures. Often, potential customers go through the images to get a clear idea about your products, services, or company as a whole.
For this reason, never use stock photos and showcase your business using original pictures of your store, staff, products, and menu (if you own a restaurant.) Also, do not forget to add accurate and optimized alt tags and title tags to the photos. Using your target keywords as alt and title tags increase your chance of ranking in the local search.
NAP and Positive Reviews
NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone number. Your Google business profile should have these three pieces of information in an index format that anyone can read easily. Add opening hours, website URL, and correct business category.
In all listings, there is a review section that customers check before going for a company or business. The more positive reviews you can gather, the more people will be interested in your business. Besides requesting your loyal customers to put good ratings and reviews, reply to all reviews to show that you are active.
Landmarks and Neighborhood Names
Many businesses enjoy popularity in the offline world with some other name. If that is the case for your company, you need to include it in the local search results. This will definitely have a positive impact on the local ranking. If your shop is officially known as Pizza World, but local people call it Henry’s Pizza, you also need to add the second name to your business profile.
Moreover, do not forget to include landmarks for your shop or business. If someone local wants to visit you in person, the landmark will help them reach you easily.
If you want to see your business among the top rankings for “Near Me” searches, it is imperative to get relevant and authoritative backlinks for geographically-rich anchor text. This helps you improve your business rankings on Google local search.
For instance, if you want to rank for “Near Me” searches for the “best restaurants near Eiffel Tower” you must get backlinks from other websites on anchor text such as “best restaurants in Paris”, “restaurants near Eiffel Tower”, “best restaurants near Eiffel Tower”, and similar ones.
Local Links from Content
Adding a blog section to your website and posting relevant articles regularly increases your chance of higher ranking in “Near Me” searches. This way, you can quickly get internal links to your landing pages on your preferred keywords.
You can use these blogs to promote your products or company while updating the readers about your latest products simultaneously. Here, you can also publish interviews with some influencers promoting your business or informative pieces that answer common queries of users about your services.
In mid-2019, Google rolled out its mobile-first indexing strategy. It means that Google will prioritize websites that are responsive or mobile-friendly. The reason behind this policy is simple — most Google searches are done from mobile devices.
To make the most of this, you need to have responsive websites that offer customized experiences to people accessing from any device. Also, do not use separate URLs for a desktop site and a mobile site. In that case, the mobile URL will get indexed first.
One useful way to make your business stand out from competitors is Schema markup. It allows search engines like Google to acquire information about your business and display it as rich snippets. A snippet with all the necessary data (address, contact info, operating hours) is all you need to attract potential customers.
To ensure accuracy and getting displayed in the Knowledge Panel, add the homepage schema markup. However, include only the data you want to display on the webpage in the schema markup.
Create Pages for All Locations Where Your Company Operates
If you operate your business in multiple locations, you may want to list all addresses on one page to save time and effort. Well, this might affect your local listing. Therefore, you should have individual landing pages that contain information on each location, such as an address, staff, and opening hours.
Even if you have branches in multiple countries or different places in the same city, you should abide by this tip.
Optimize for ‘”Near Me”‘ Voice Searches
The surge in voice search means businesses have to optimize their local search strategy accordingly. The reason is, that how you search verbally and by typing differs a lot. People tend to use informal language and put forth their queries in the form of full questions when they ask smart home assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Google Home.
For example, while asking verbally, you might say, where can I get the best manicure services “Near Me”, while you might have written “best manicure “Near Me” in types format. Hence, voice search SEO for local search is essential as it will get you more leads.
This article discussed all the basics of “Near Me” searches. Now, as you know the importance of local SEO and how you can optimize your company profile to rank higher in “Near Me” searches, implement them to see your business thrive.
You can also try out these industry-best SEO APIs to make the most of SEO.