With constant mobile connectivity, increased enabling of GPS tracking on smartphones, dynamic map apps, the rise of voice search, and other factors, “near me” searches are booming.
Over the last two years, there’s been a 150% increase in searches using the phrase “near me” (e.g., Chinese food near me), a 200% increase in searches using “near me now,” and a 900% increase in searches with “near me today/tonight.” This is why optimizing a business for “near me” searches is crucial.
Keep in mind, this isn’t just important for attracting generic eyeballs to your site or business listing. People performing these types of searches are looking to buy, and to buy now. These users are about as highly qualified as search leads can get. These are people with immediate purchase intent.
Optimizing a business for “near me” searches means focusing on local search engine optimization (SEO), and also catering to voice search.
How to Rank for More “Near Me” Search Queries
- Make sure your entire website is mobile responsive, fast-loading, and up-to-date on all mobile-friendly best practices, as this is essential for Google and other search engines to give you priority listings
- Create a Google My Business account and profile, and be sure to fill out all the information requested; add a high-quality photo or two, and don’t overlook the section for amenities and other attributes
- Also, list your business in all these online directories, and again, take the time to complete your business profile thoroughly
- Audit your online listings and confirm that all your business information is current and identical from site to site (and include social media sites too)
- Use schema markup on your website to allow search engines to access more detailed, useful information about your business and to present it to users
- Make it a goal to have your location used in the anchor text of backlinks; for example, our own backlink strategy includes getting inbound links that say things like “Orlando web design company” and “digital marketing agency in Orlando”
- Use your location naturally in URLs, page titles and meta descriptions, headlines, and copy
- Create separate pages on your website for each major location you serve; for each page, use a URL, page title, headline, and image alt and title tags that include the location and a primary keyword phrase
- If it makes sense, add internal links and/or navigation menu options to your site with important keywords and “near me;” for example, use a link with anchor text like “Chinese food near me” that directs to your contact page
- Regularly publish content with a local focus—and that names your location—on your brand’s blog; this builds your local SEO and local brand awareness by adding keyworded content, increasing backlinks from other sites relevant to your area, and attracting a regional audience
- Encourage positive reviews from your customers or clients, and especially focus on getting reviews on Google
- Optimize your website for voice search by using more long-tail keywords phrased the way people search out loud, rather than typing; for example, think of incorporating text like “Where’s the best Chinese food near me?” and “Find Chinese food near me,” and “What restaurants are open near me?”