Online searches are becoming increasingly localized. Researches suggest that 46% of all searches have local intent, and the number of monthly local searches is 97 billion.
One particular local search that has been dominating mobile devices is the SEO near me keyword. In this blog, we'll discuss how you can leverage the power of local searches to boost your online presence.
What are the current developments in local SEO?
Local SEO is an optimization strategy that helps businesses be more visible in local searches through their geographic data. Such a strategy is significantly impactful for local businesses, as it allows new customers to easily locate their physical stores through a simple Google search. To know more about the basics of local SEO, including the difference between local pack and local finder, read our article on Google Maps Pack.
While local searches have been essential for quite some time, the emergence of voice searches, like Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa, and Hey Google has heightened their significance. Voice searches automatically retrieve smart snippets from web results. For online business listings, these smart snippets typically include locations, implying that a business's location is among the data retrieved by voice searches.
Moreover, according to research on voice searches, 58% of consumers utilize voice assistants to search for local businesses. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that your site is optimized for local SEO as well.
Why are Near Me searches and other local SEO keywords important?
The "Near Me" phrase may be considered one of the most powerful keywords for businesses these days. Various researchers suggest that "Near Me" searches have increased by a whopping 500% in recent years, and 28% of these searches automatically lead to online purchases.
But why is the "Near Me" keyword this powerful? Here's why it continues to be relevant among business owners:
Local searches are often highly specific, and users want results that are relevant to their current location. In fact, 30% of Google mobile searches are related to location. Local SEO ensures that your business appears when users search for products or services in your vicinity.
There's no denying that SEO strategies still impact search. With the growing popularity of "Near Me" searches, businesses that optimize for local SEO have higher chances of appearing in local search results, increasing their visibility among potential customers.
Aside from voice searches, the automatic GPS tracking of smartphones heavily influences local searches. Users often rely on quick Google searches not just before purchasing a product but even before entering businesses within their location. Google found out that 83% of U.S. shoppers who visited a store used online searches before going in. With this in mind, businesses across industries must ensure their location is easily discoverable on mobile devices through local SEO.
How to rank in "Near Me" searches?
Google implements numerous guidelines in ensuring their search results, including for the "Near Me" keyword, remain relevant for their users. Here's how Google ranks listings:
Relevance refers to how well a business aligns with the user's search intent. When a user enters a "Near Me" query, Google aims to deliver results that directly match what the user is looking for. This involves analyzing the content on your website, business listings, and other online platforms to ensure they contain information that is contextually relevant to the user's search.
Distance is a critical factor in local search rankings, determining how far your business is from the user searching. Google uses the location data from the user's device to provide results that are geographically close to them. This factor is particularly important for businesses where proximity plays a significant role, such as restaurants, retail stores, and service providers.
Prominence assesses the trustworthiness and popularity of your business, often reflected in online reviews, ratings, and the overall online presence of your brand. Google aims to recommend businesses that have a positive reputation and are well-regarded by users. A business with a strong online presence is more likely to be considered prominent and, consequently, rank higher in local search results.
Understanding and optimizing for these factors is crucial for ranking in "Near Me" searches.
How do I optimize SEO for Near Me?
After learning Google's requirement to rank for "Near Me" searches, here are some of the strategies you can use to top local searches:
1. Optimize Google Business Listing with NAP data.
Claiming and optimizing your Google My Business (GMB) listing is fundamental for local SEO success. Ensure your GMB profile is complete and accurate, including relevant information such as business hours, address, and contact details. Aside from this, it's also imperative to use consistent Name, Address, and Phone Number or NAP data across all online listings.
For instance, this Google Business listing, while not a big restaurant brand, ranks first for a search "best pizza near me" as it contains complete business information.
2. Collect local citations.
Local citations are mentions of our business, including your NAP data, from other business listings or online platforms. They play a crucial role in local SEO as they contribute to validating the credibility and influence of your business. Furthermore, search engines rely on local citations to authenticate the precision of your NAP data, and businesses possessing a substantial number of precise citations are perceived as more relevant for users.
This restaurant listing is considered the top result for a "Near Me" search, as its optimized website content and active Wikipedia page boosted the authority of the listing.
3. Use Near Me keywords on listing content.
Incorporate "Near Me" keywords naturally into your GMB listing content. This includes your listing overview, Google Business posts, Q&A answers, and list of offers. Above all these sections, it's essential to use "Near Me" and other local SEO keywords in your Reviews section. These strategies Google understand the local relevance of your business.
This content, while it may be simple, has effectively helped the listing rank for the search "best steak near me" with the geolocation of Manhattan.
How do I find local keywords?
Research local keywords using tools like Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends, and other SEO tools. Focus on phrases that users commonly use when searching for local businesses. By understanding these search terms, you can tailor your content to better match the preferences and intents of your local audience.
4. Actively gather local reviews.
Local reviews refer to reviews containing keywords and information about your business location. These reviews play a pivotal role in connecting your listing to local searches.
To effectively gather local reviews, businesses should encourage satisfied customers to use location-based keywords on their reviews. This proactive approach not only enhances the business's online credibility but also boosts its visibility in local search results. Managers can specifically give this instruction through follow-up emails, SMS, in-app messages, or even during checkout processes.
5. Respond to local reviews with "Near Me" keywords.
When responding to customer reviews, it's essential to incorporate location-based keywords to further enhance your local SEO strategy. This not only showcases your attentiveness to customer feedback but also reinforces the geographical relevance of your services. Furthermore, it can instantly shift reviews that didn't use Near Me keywords as local SEO content.
For instance, if your business is in the vicinity of the Empire State Building, include phrases like "near Empire State Building" or similar location-specific terms in your responses. This not only resonates with the reviewer but also contributes to the optimization of your business for local searches, making it easier for potential customers in the area to discover your services.
While it may sound easy at first, this task can be laborious, especially if you're responding to multiple reviews in a day. Not only should you write responses that are professional and engaging, but you should also craft ones that are optimized for numerous ranking algorithms.
This is where AI Review Reply Generators come in handy, as they streamline the process of responding to customer reviews. MARA AI instantly writes personalized reviews that directly address the content of each customer review. Aside from this, business owners and managers alike can easily edit the replies and incorporate "Near Me" keywords without starting from scratch, making the response process up to 3x faster.
6. Mobile-friendly business listings and booking websites.
Given the prevalence of mobile searches, having mobile-friendly listings and websites is non-negotiable. For online listings like Google Business, it's imperative to incorporate Google Messages so customers can easily relay questions after their local search. Moreover, it's also highly recommended to incorporate Reserve with Google or Google Hotels to streamline booking processes.
On the other hand, for websites, ensure your site is responsive and provides an excellent user experience on mobile devices. It should also lead back to your Google Business listing so that your website views and your SEO data can be redirected to your listings.
7. Explore Structured Data for your Google Business listing.
Structured data plays a crucial role in enhancing the visibility and ranking of Google Business listings, particularly in "Near Me" searches. The implementation of Local Business structured data provides valuable information to Google about your business, including details such as business hours, different departments, reviews, and more. When users search for businesses on Google Search or Maps, the search results may display a prominent Google knowledge panel with information sourced from structured data. This not only aids users in making informed decisions but also contributes to the legitimacy and authority of your business.
To add structured data, you need to follow specific guidelines. Structured data is a standardized format for providing information about a page, and it helps classify page content. You can utilize tools like Google's structured data codelab for a step-by-step guide. By including required properties such as address, name, geo-coordinates, opening hours, and recommended properties like reviews and cuisine type, you enhance your eligibility for rich results and "Near Me" searches.
With the continuous rise of digital marketing, mastering local SEO is a game-changer for businesses seeking to thrive in their immediate communities. With the prevalence of "Near Me" searches and the influence of mobile devices, investing in local SEO is not just a strategy; it's a necessity. By optimizing Google Business listings, incorporating local keywords, managing reviews, and staying mobile-friendly, businesses can navigate the intricacies of local search algorithms and ensure their presence in the ever-evolving digital landscape.
This article is part of our hero content series on “Mastering Google Reviews - A Complete Guide".
Frequently Asked Questions:
Achieving 100% SEO perfection is an ambitious goal, but continuous improvement is possible. Regularly update your content, monitor analytics, adapt to algorithm changes, and stay informed about the latest SEO trends such as "Near Me" searches. SEO is an ongoing process that requires dedication and adaptability.
"Near Me" searches have surged by 500%, proving highly specific and influential. This keyword's power lies in its specificity, boosted visibility through local SEO, and its impact on mobile-dominant searches.
Structured data, like Local Business schema, significantly boosts Google Business listings in "Near Me" searches. Providing detailed information enhances eligibility for rich results and improves rankings in location-based searches.
Efficiently respond to customer reviews by incorporating location-based keywords, like "near [specific location]," to reinforce geographical relevance. AI Review Reply Generators, such as MARA, streamline the process, generating personalized, optimized responses for various ranking algorithms.