“Near me” searches are searches that consumers do when they are looking for something right here, right now. For a lot of searches, Google tells you what business is closest to your location. Often, searchers have questions that need to be answered right at the moment, so they need something right now. So these “near me” searches not only have a local aspect, but also a time-based one. People are in need of something and they want it now! You’ve probably done a Google search like this on your phone, looking for a gas station in an unknown town because you are almost out of gas. In the suggestions that Google gives you, keywords like these appear:
• Near me
All of these things are immediately related to your location or dire needs at that time. Searchers can also combine these terms: [gas station near me open now] or [movies playing near me tonight].
Over the past years, traffic on these search terms has kept going up. And yes, you can help your local SEO strategy by optimizing for these “near me” search terms. What’s more, you can help out people when they need your help the most — they will be glad they found you!
Near me searches and voice search
Every day, people speak to their phones or smart devices asking for tips on local destinations or help with shopping. In that first example we shared, you might be driving along the highway and want to ask your phone to help you find a gas station near you. ‘OK Google, find a gas station near me that’s open right now.’ You can do that while leaving your hands safely on the steering wheel. You can even ask Google to navigate you to the location.
If you want to increase the chance that Google shows your business the next time someone asks that question, you need to find ways of answering those questions. This is where understanding search intent is key. Think about what questions users might ask before they get to your business. Then, you need to provide highly readable content that’s easy to understand for machines.
How to optimize for near me for local SEO
Optimizing for “near me” searches resembles your local SEO process. As said before, for “near me” searches, search intent is key. People have a goal — they need something and they need it now. You have to offer that to them and you have to appear the most trustworthy of options. There are a few steps you really need to take:
Make your site mobile-friendly
“Near me” searches mostly happen on mobile, at a time when the consumer needs it the most. Your site has to offer a great mobile experience if you want Google to consider you for mobile search results. You don’t want people to wait for a minute to load just one page on your site, right? Focus on user experience and site speed.
Add your NAP details and opening hours to your site
We’re talking Name, Address, Phone number, in an easy-to-read and index format. Preferably, we’d say to add one page per location, if you have more than one. Also, add your opening hours! On your site, don’t forget to optimize the landing pages for the various locations — if you have multiple locations or if you are targeting those.
Add NAP to Google Business Profile (formally known as Google My Business)
Add those exact details, like the address, phone number, opening hours, and website URL to your Google Business Profile page. Then, add your business to the correct category and make sure to add nice photos. If you have multiple locations but only need to promote one as the main headquarters, add multiple locations to one listing. If your business consists of a number of smaller businesses, feel free to add multiple Business Profile pages/accounts. Don’t forget to update your listing whenever you change something!
Get positive reviews
We can’t deny the fact that positive reviews on Google, Yelp, or similar websites help your local ranking. It’s like the market. If locals recommend a business, we’ll be more tempted to go there. Of course, search engines will pick up on this. Don’t forget Facebook in this! People also use that a lot to search for local businesses.
Write great content and get localized links
Another way to get your local business noticed in the search results is by writing high-quality content about you, your product, or your location. Good content has a great chance to be linked to by relevant (news) outlets, maybe even getting your links with proper anchor text with your name and location.
We’ve discussed before just how important localized keywords are for your overall SEO, but these “near me” keywords are another important part of that local SEO strategy. If you need help with your own SEO, don’t hesitate to reach out for a free consultation.