How to Best Utilize “Near Me” Searches

A woman uses a "near me" search on her tablet.

How to Best Utilize “Near Me” Searches

Think about how you get people to your business. Are they mostly local customers found through social media or directories? Or is it by search engine?

The “near me search” has become a key part of the customer purchase journey. In fact, 60% of people use it to research products and services on their mobile devices. Of that, 78% of those searches become in-store purchases. Even more importantly, voice-enabled searches, such as those made with Google Home, are already boosting the impact local search has on small businesses. People can just ask their smart speakers and get an answer of what is recommended based on. SEO rankings and user reviews.

So how can you take advantage of this powerful influence? Local SEO can help you boost your SERP rankings among local searches. With just a few strategic changes, you can optimize your SEO for the near me search.

 

Utilize Local Links and Geographical Anchor Text

To show up in a near me search, you need two things: local links and geographical anchor text. Of course, setting up high quality backlinks is a high priority task for an SEO campaign to establish trust with Google and build authority. Local links take things one step further by specifically appealing to a local audience. This puts your business in front of searchers who are more likely to become customers.

Geographical anchor text accomplishes the same goal in a different way. Instead of link building, geographical anchor text uses location-specific terms to boost rankings. Essentially, it combines both keyword research and link building into one task beyond what an SEO campaign would already do. These two approaches work in tandem, so it’s vital you pursue both.

Blog

Wanting to earn local links is all well and good, but how do you do it? Reputable sites are most likely to link back to your pages if you provide valuable content. One way to increase your content output is to create a blog.

Blogs are the perfect place to combine useful information and masterful SEO. This medium gives you flexibility in your topics and establishes you as the expert. To build local links specifically, the content should also have a local element. You can achieve this by starting with a general topic and referencing local areas as examples throughout.

Webpages

To show up in a near me search, you also have to include geographical anchor text in your webpages. This means pairing your SEO terms with location references. There are many phrases you can use:

  • “Near me”
  • Your city
  • Your community
  • Your neighborhood area
  • Your county
  • Your street

Which phrase you choose depends on your area of service. For example, if you’re a business that serves a particular county, you shouldn’t use just the state name in your anchor text. Doing so puts you in a broader search with uninterested users, rather than focusing your efforts on potential customers.

 

Mobile-Friendliness

Making sure your website is optimized for mobile is nothing new. But it continues to be a problem for many businesses. Mobile accounts for more than half of all searches, especially local searches. For mobile-friendliness, you need to:

  • Make sure pages fit in phone and tablet screen dimensions
  • Ensure mobile software can support all the software your site uses
  • Format content for easy scrolling and quick skimming

You should also take steps to make your site easy to navigate:

  • Put the search bar in a prominent place
  • Make buttons large to accommodate touch screen users
  • Have auto-correct turned on for the search bar

 

Aim for Featured Snippets

Landing a featured snippet at the top of a SERP can dramatically increase organic site traffic. So how can you take that coveted spot? The good news is that any site has a shot—you just have to offer the best answer to users’ queries.

To boost your chance at achieving a featured snippet, you need to directly answer common questions on your site. Do that by researching the most common One way to boost your chance at being a featured snippet is directly answering common questions in your content. First, research the most common questions related to your business. Next, create blog posts addressing them or include answers in your webpages. For best results, use exact query phrases in your content.

 

Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

Despite the many benefits, 56% of local businesses haven’t set up a Google My Business listing. Skipping this step leaves you with no control over how your company appears on local SERPs, which is never a good thing. You should control as much of your information as possible so you can turn it to your advantage.

Signing up with Google My Business is fairly simple. In fact, the system is easy to navigate and provides helpful tips and resources. Once you’ve created a listing, include as much relevant information as possible. This can improve your rankings since the algorithm has access to more data on your company.

Name, Address and Phone Number

Consistency is one of the most important things when trying to boost your local search rankings. Listing your business with multiple search engines is a great start, but you need to manage your listings carefully. There are three pieces of information you must format identically across platforms:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number

If these key pieces of information vary in spelling or punctuation, it can confuse users. Even worse, it could affect how the algorithm scores your various webpages. Make sure your information is uniform across listings, social media platforms, and site pages.

Reviews

Reviews have a big impact on both the algorithm and user interest. In the age of the internet, reviews are how potential customers gauge your company’s worth. In fact, 73% of consumers who read positive reviews report increased trust in a business.

Fortunately, the near me search supports reviews. Consumers can easily rate businesses and leave comments via Google. These are then available to view on your listing. You can also use schema markup to showcase reviews published on your site.

 

Create Location Pages

Does your business have multiple locations? Then you should make a page for each one.

Location pages create more opportunities for your business to show up in a near me search. You also get the chance to appeal to local customers. There are several simple ways to optimize these pages for first-page rankings:

  • Include the location’s contact information and operating hours
  • Include geographic SEO in your meta descriptions and title tags
  • Provide properly tagged photos and videos

Are you ready to promote your company via the near me search? Boostability helps small businesses improve their rankings with SEO and other online marketing techniques. Boostability’s team of experts can help you optimize your website design, pursue link building and implement data-driven SEO strategies. For more information or to start your new marketing campaign, call (800) 261-1537 or reach out online.

Mike Marsh
[email protected]

Mike is the former SEO Manager at Boostability. He has been in the online marketing industry since 2012. He has extensive experience with SEO, email marketing and linkbuilding campaigns for in-house and agency teams around the country. You can connect with him right here: Linkedin