How to Rank for “Near Me” Searches - Local SEO Tips
Anyone involved in online marketing knows that “near me” searches have taken off over recent years. In the past two years, searches have grown 150 percent for local businesses that include “near me” in the search terms. With this drastic uptick, ranking in these searches has become a significant part of local SEO.
If you want to improve your ranking among other businesses in these local search results, here are some tips for improving your search optimization and getting the website traffic you want.
The Importance of Local SEO
When you rank well in Google “near me” searches listing, you’ll see an overall improvement in website traffic and business. Some businesses have become so determined to rank well in these searches that they incorporate the words “Near Me” into their business name. However, trying keyword stuffing like this is no longer recommended to see the improvement you want.
Most people with a mobile device have their location turned on, which makes it possible for them to search for businesses close to their exact location. The rise in “near me” searches can be attributed to this addition to our daily lives. The SEO Strategy of ranking high on these search results is essential for your business because it can allow your customers to find you when they need your products or services the most, likely boosting sales.
How Google Determines Ranking in “Near Me” Searches
Three primary factors determine the ranking provided to searchers when they make “near me” inquiries on Google: relevance, distance, and prominence. Influencing these three metrics can help improve your local search rankings.
If you sell shoes and someone searches for shoes near your business, you want your business to show up in their results. Ensuring your website content accurately depicts what you offer will help your business show up in relevant location-based searches.
The further your business is from the person’s current location when they perform their search, the less likely it is to show up in their results. If your business is more than about 15 miles away from where the search is conducted, it’s unlikely that it will be a top result. The only exception to this rule is if your business has very little competition closer to the person performing the online search.
Prominence is determined through authority, customer ratings, and your brand image. This metric is most determined by the volume of information available about your business online. The more information about your business online, the more prominent it seems to search engines. Positive reviews are also a major factor if you want to rank at the top of the local search.
How to Rank Higher in Searches for Local Business
Now that you know why local SEO matters and the factors that go into your local search rankings, it’s time to learn the best steps to take to improve your business’s rankings by optimizing various elements of your online presence.
Optimize Your Google My Business Profile
The first step to better rankings in local searches is to create and complete your Google Business Profile. If your profile hasn’t been created and optimized, Google won’t have the information needed to determine whether your business is relevant to the searches made by local consumers.
The following steps will ensure the optimization of your Google Business profile:
Enter your full business name and address.
Add business hours and contact details like the business phone number and website.
Ensure your business is included in the correct category – be as specific as possible.
Add photos of your business, products, and services.
Ask existing customers to leave reviews on your business page.
Include any amenities your business offers, such as free Wi-Fi or a kid-friendly environment.
Use Proper Schema Markup
On-page SEO plays a major role in helping websites rank locally. One of the factors is known as schema. Schema markup can help your business stand out among local competition. Schema data helps search engines obtain more information about your business and present that information in rich snippets for the searcher. Add schema markup to your business's location pages, including the business address, hours, and contact information. It’s also good to include homepage schema markup to let your business show up with accurate information in local searches.
Use Local Keywords for Higher Search Rankings
Choosing keywords related to your products or services and combining them with your location’s name can help improve your rankings in search queries. Including this combination of your keywords on your website’s landing page will allow search engines to find that information and recognize that you offer a particular product or service in that specific area.
Common places to include a combination of products, services, and your location include the following:
Content on the landing page
The website’s URL
The title or heading of the landing page
Image data for photos on the landing page
Bonus Tip: Include Google Maps, which shows the location of your business on the landing page for an extra optimization boost.
Make Your Website Mobile Friendly
As mentioned earlier, many of these “near me” searches are done on mobile devices by people who are looking for immediate results for a need or want they have. Not only that, but Google prefers websites that offer a good experience for the viewer, so mobile optimization will also make your website better in the search engine’s eyes.
Here are some tips on the best way to optimize the mobile experience for mobile searches:
Make your site responsive so all content is delivered to all visitors regardless of the device they use to visit the website.
Improve your site speed by creating AMP pages.
Include a search bar on your website for people to find information quickly.
Avoid using Flash.
Turn on auto-correct for forms and the search bar for a quicker typing experience.
Reduce the number of redirects.
Make the buttons large, so they’re easy to click on.
Use a CDN to distribute load so your website can load quickly.
Leverage browser caching to improve loading time.
Standardize Your NAP Data
You’ve already included your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) in your Google My Business profile, but you must ensure it’s standardized across the web. First, make sure your NAP data is included in local business directories. It’s also essential to ensure the NAP data is the same on all pages, including your social media pages. This will provide accurate and consistent information for search engines to find.
Inconsistencies in your NAP data can be a red flag to search engines, but consistent NAP data is relevant to local consumers and is an integral part of your online search ranking. To standardize your NAP data, decide on your standard NAP data and how you want it written. Then, search the Internet for variations in your NAP information and update any inconsistencies.
Links are a crucial part of optimizing for local search rankings for your website, and they can be handled in a couple of different ways.
One option is creating a business blog on your website and including local links. Not only does a blog keep customers informed about what’s happening at your business, but it can also give you chances to link other pages on your website (like products) and may sway readers to become buyers. Including your product keywords and location in these blog posts, along with relevant backlinks to other pages on your site, will help increase your prominence and search rankings.
Another way to utilize local links is by partnering with other businesses or local influencers. Convince other websites to talk about your company and provide a link to your website in the information. The websites you work with don’t have to be super popular. They only need to be local websites that discuss the products and services you offer regularly, such as local bloggers.
Improve On-Page Optimization for All Your Locations
If your business has multiple locations, creating different pages for each is essential for ultimate “near me” optimization. For example, if your shoe store has locations in New York, Cleveland, and Charlotte, you must have three web pages, one for each location.
Here are some tips for how to make this process as simple as possible:
Make each URL user-friendly and structured similarly. For example, your landing page may be www.shoestore.com, so you can make your Charlotte page’s URL www.shoestore.com/Charlotte.
Optimize each page's title tags and meta tags with your target keyword and location.
Add proper alt tags to the images on each web page, such as location keywords in the alt text for photos of your business.
Add a description for each location, including the hours of operation, services or products offered, directions, and other location-specific information.
Use internal links and anchor text wisely. For example, provide links to location-specific pages in the footer of your website’s landing page.
Business owners who are proactive in optimizing their online presence for “near me” searches are likely to out-rank their competition when searches are conducted. Location-based searches will likely only continue to grow, so you must increase your search rankings through proper optimization.
Use the tips above to get a jump start on optimizing your business for “near me” searches, then let Illumination Marketing's Best SEO Service in Houston help you increase your search rankings and boost your sales and traffic.