How to Rank for ‘Near Me’ Searches
November 7th 2021 | By Emma Grant
Any local business will know how important a local SEO strategy is, especially those who rely on rankings in local search for generating enquiries and store visits.
Knowing how to rank for ‘near me’ searches is vital to ensure your local business appears when people are searching for local results. If yours doesn’t, a competitor’s certainly will.
Want to know how to capture all those ‘near me’ searchers? Here are the tips you need to help you rank above the competition.
What is a near me search?
‘Near me’ searches are those that involve people looking for specific products and services in a particular location. The search intent tends to be related to wanting to make an instant purchase.
Near me searches are important because people are ready to buy. Ecommerce may be growing considerably, but people still want to buy from shops or experience a local service. Google recognises this, which is why it provides the bear me search option, so that consumers can quickly identify local search results that are relevant to what they are looking for.
Harnessing the power of local search is particularly important for those businesses that rely for the most part on their bricks and mortar presence, such as restaurants, shops, healthcare and banking.
Why optimise for near me searches?
46 per cent of all Google searches involve seeking out local information. And 88 per cent of searches for local businesses on a mobile device either call or visit the location within 24 hours. This is why optimising for near me searches will pretty much guarantee more organic traffic, leading to higher footfall and a greater conversion rate.
Most near me searches are carried out on mobile devices. Most smartphone users tend to leave their GPS location services switched on for convenience, which means Google can detect their exact location and deliver the most relevant local search results.
Optimising for near me searches allows you to reach your target audience at the precise time they are ready to make a purchase.
How to optimise for near me searches?
There are various strategies you’ll need to adopt if you want to optimise your website and online presence for near me searches.
Optimise for voice search
Many local searches are carried out via voice assistants, especially useful when people are on the go and perhaps relying on GPS-based applications such as Google Maps.
It’s important to think about the type of questions people will ask their devices that could lead them to your business. It could be things like:
- What’s the nearest Italian restaurant near me?
- Is there a pharmacy open near me?
- Where can I get a new watch battery near me?
Identifying voice search queries like these that are relevant to your business, and weaving them into your website content, will help you rank better for searches of this nature.
Set up and optimise your Google My Business listing
One of the most important elements of a local SEO campaign, and something that you will need to prioritise when looking to rank for near me searches, is registering your business on Google My Business and optimising the listing.
Google My Business, soon to be renamed Google Business Profile, is the Map Pack that appears at the top of the search results for local searches. If you’re in the top three, you’ll be lapping up local visibility. Even if you rank a bit lower down the list, you’ll still have a good presence. But if you’re not there at all, you’ll be losing out to the competition, in a big way.
Your Google Business Profile can be claimed for free. Just search for your business name in Google Search or Maps and you’ll see an option to claim and verify the associate profile. Once verified, you will be able to edit the information in the listing, such as your address and opening hours, and add other content and information, such as photos and links to your blogs.
Make sure that each location for your business has the correct contact details. Adding high quality photos will help visitors engage, and ensuring your business is listed in the correct category will ensure you reach the correct target audience.
Responding to both positive and negative reviews will also aid engagement, as will answering questions and adding information about the likes of parking and COVID-secure measures will all be considered helpful.
Implement Schema Markup
Schema Markup is a type of structured data which can considerably influence the results of any SEO campaign. It’s a coding language that enables the appearance of rich results. These are the snippets and cards that show up in search results along with images, lists, reviews and ratings from a website, making the results much more engaging for the user.
Using Schema helps search engines to better understand your content, making it more likely for them to reward you with enhanced results in the search engine results pages. As these results are more visually appealing, they have the potential to improve click-through rates to your site up to 30 per cent, as well as drive more traffic.
For local SEO, implementing Schema Markup on every location page of your website, ensuring it includes your business address, contact details and hours of operation, will significantly help you rank well for near me searches.
Make sure your website is mobile friendly
Because most near me searches are made by people on the go, actively looking for a place to buy or visit, it stands to reason that the majority of local searches are made on a mobile device. For this reason, Google will reward websites that offer the best mobile-friendly experience.
61 per cent of mobile searchers are more likely to contact a local business if they have a mobile-friendly website. The consequences of a website that’s not mobile-friendly are well-documented.
You can discover how mobile-friendly your site is by using Google’s free Mobile-Friendly Test. There are various tactics you can use to improve your site for mobile users, just remember when you are publishing content to check how it looks on mobile as well as desktop. A mobile-friendly website is critical if you are going to rank well for near me searches.
Use location landing pages
Whether you cover one location, or many, a local SEO campaign will always benefit from a local landing page strategy.
Building separate web pages for each location of your business will help your site rank separately for individual near me searches.
Each page should include local keyword optimised content and meta tags, with user-friendly URLs and page title links. You’ll also need to location-optimise your alt-tags for your images, which should be relevant to the locality of your business.
Work on a geographic back linking strategy
Backlinks form an essential part of any SEO campaign. They will also help you rank for near me searches by improving your local search rankings.
Providing you obtain high quality, non-spammy links that are associated with relevant geographically rich anchor text, you should enjoy success.
For example, a shoe shop that wanted to rank for near me searches in Kingston Upon Thames would need to use location-rich anchor text, such as ‘shoe shop in Kingston Upon Thames’, ‘best shoe shop in Kingston Upon Thames’ and ‘buy shoes in Kingston Upon Thames’.
A local backlink strategy that uses anchor text in this way will help boost visibility in near me searches. You can also obtain local backlinks by publishing blogs on your website, or by guest posting on relevant local sites.
Looking to optimise your online presence for near me searches? Figment can help.
Optimising for near me searches on Google will boost your online visibility in the local search results. It’s one of the strategies we use here at Figment, and have been doing with great success for several years. All our strategies follow Google best practice and are designed for fast, long-lasting results.
To find out how we could help your business achieve the local online visibility it needs to increase footfall and sales, you are welcome to get in touch.