Updated: Apr 26, 2019
We live in a time when people need answers, NOW. With a rise in people needing information on the fly, local SEO becomes even more important. Websites need to be optimized to answer questions quickly and efficiently. Consumers are starting to search in different ways in order to get the information quickly while on-the-go. This brings up the ‘near me’ local search trend. Per Google ‘near me’ searches have doubled since 2016, which means the time to optimize is now. With a rise in this type of searching, ‘micro-moments’ have also risen year-over-year, as much as 146%. Micro-moments are defined as ‘I need, I want-to-know, I want-to-go moments where people use mobile devices to find something they need in that moment. These moments are major factors for both brands and consumers which makes optimizing for them extremely important, especially in the local SEO space. Understanding this search trend and optimizing your website to answer these types of search queries is key to capturing more clicks.
How Should You Optimize Your Site to Capture ‘Near Me’ Searches?
Firstly, make sure your website is optimized for local ‘near me’ searches. Does every appropriate page have your NAP (name, address, and phone number)? This is key for local businesses. In addition, make sure there is a location page (or pages, if there are multiple locations) so consumers and Google can easily find your place of business. The more pages Google crawls with your contact information and directions, the better chance you have of Google serving your page to someone doing a search for ‘shoe repair near me’ or ‘dry cleaners near me.’
Mobile, Mobile, Mobile
It’s 2017 if your website is not optimized for mobile you are missing out on way more than just ‘near me’ search queries. Mobile searches make up 88% of ‘near me’ searches so it’s very likely people are searching for businesses near them while walking down the street or in the car. There is only a small window of time to answer a ‘near me’ question if a website is not optimized for mobile and the consumer can’t find information quickly, there is a good chance they are going to leave and go to a competitor’s site. To ensure your pages are loading quickly on mobile devices, consider turning them into AMP pages. AMP (accelerated mobile pages) trend started in 2016 and has only gained popularity since as they can help reduce load time by as much as 85%.
Listings & Reviews
Be sure to claim all your businesses listings such as Google My Business, Yelp, Yellow Pages, Bing Places for Business, etc. By ensuring all claims are correct with consistent information across all listings creates more opportunity for people to find your business when searching local businesses and/or doing a ‘near me’ search. Adding citations on local business directories can never hurt either. Basically, the more places Google can verify your business information and location, the better. Google Reviews are also a very important factor in Google placing trust in your business. Always encourage customers to add reviews on your site, business listings, directories and social media.
Backlinks & Anchor Text
The more backlinks to your site with anchor text that includes your city, state and phone number in them increases your chances of being at the top of a ‘near me’ search results. Google puts a lot of weight in geo-focused backlinks pointing to your location pages. Yet another reason why having your business citations claimed and correct is so important.
Optimizing title tags to include geo-data on location pages can also help Google identify that your location is near the searcher, bringing your business to their attention. Adding geo-specific data to your title tags will allow your website to capture more ‘near me’ searches.
‘Near me’ searches create huge opportunities for local businesses to gain more ROI and overall brand authority. It only takes a short amount of time to make sure your website is optimized to answer local and ‘near me’ queries, don’t miss out, start optimizing today!