Have you ever done a search in Google for a business in your local area and seen ‘near me’ come up as a suggestion?

You may have heard the term ‘keyword research’, and ‘near me’ searches have become one of the most popular local SEO keywords.

Did you know that 46% of all Google searches are looking for local information?

So if you don’t think local SEO is important, think again.

In this article, we will discuss how to optimise for ‘near me’ searches so that you can get more traffic.

Why Optimise For ‘Near Me’ Searches?

From 2013 to 2017, ‘near me’ searches increased by 900%. Most people have location enabled on their phones, allowing Google to determine exactly where they are.

Surveys have found that over 80% of Australia’s smartphones search for a ‘near me’ keyword at least once per month.

The intent of the person is clear – they want to find a business that’s nearby at a specific time.

More importantly, they intend to visit a place and purchase immediately. Without optimising your business for local SEO, you could be missing out on a lot of potential customers.

How To Optimise For ‘Near Me’ Searches

It’s critical that your business is optimised for ‘near me’ searches so that it appears when users are searching for local results.

Google does its best to match its search results with the user intent. The more Google trusts a website, the higher it will rank because it wants to provide the consumer with the required product or service that they’re looking for.

Having your business address on your website is a great start, but you also need to have a Google My Business (GMB) page that is set up for local SEO searches.

You should also ensure that your information is consistent across all major directories, as Google wants to be sure where your business is.

This includes:

  • Google
  • Bing
  • Yelp
  • Apple Maps
  • Facebook
  • Trip Advisor

Furthermore, Google uses standard ranking factors to determine where you should sit in search results.

Below, we’ve explained in more detail how to optimise your business for local SEO.

Ensure your website is mobile-friendly

About 60% of Google searches are made using a mobile phone.

If your website is only optimised for desktop computers, then users will not have a good experience on a mobile device. If it takes a long time to load, or they can’t find the menu bar, a visitor will simply go to the next website in their search results.

To prevent this from happening, we recommend testing your website on several devices to ensure that it runs smoothly.

A few tips for optimising websites for mobile devices:

  • Use large fonts
  • Create buttons that are big enough for people’s fingers
  • Reduce website load time
  • Avoid using Flash Player
  • Keep design simple

Keep Your GMB Up-to-date

Google My Business (GMB) listings often appear at the top when conducting ‘near me’ searches. So it goes without saying that if you want to appear in these listings that you need to have a GMB page, so that people can find you.

Make sure you keep all your information up-to-date:

  • Opening hours (including public holidays)
  • Address
  • Business updates
  • Directions

Even if you don’t have a physical location, you should set up a GMB page. While this won’t be very helpful for ‘near me’ searches, you’d be surprised how much online visibility you can gain from having a GMB page. And if someone is searching a large area (eg., Melbourne), you will still appear in these searches.

Encourage your customers to write a review on your GMB listing, as this is a great way to optimise your website for ‘near me’ searches.

Optimise Your Website and Create Geo-Specific Location Pages

For any type of SEO, your website should be optimised with the usual best on-page SEO practices.

Some of these include:

  • Including keywords in headings and titles
  • Including keywords in the alt text on website images
  • Internally linking to relevant pages on your website
  • Optimising your meta title and descriptions

However, to rank for specific locations you must have geo-specific pages.

For each area or city that you’d like to rank for, a separate service page is required.

If your business operates in Sydney and Newcastle, you should have a service page for each location otherwise, Google may only think that you operate in one location, preventing you from showing up results for the other location.

Encourage Reviews

Reviews are very important for ‘near me’ searches. Google wants to show users the best possible results.

And the best possible results include reviews with high ratings. Places with bad reviews will put people off, so encourage your regular clients or customers to leave a review.

Encourage them to write a detailed review of what they like about your business. You’ll notice in GMB reviews that things that people mention the most get emphasised in bold.

The more five-star reviews you get, the better your business will rank in GMB listings.

If you find that people aren’t leaving you reviews, set up an automated email system that reminds them after they have purchased something to rate the product or service.

Write Blogs and Build Geo-specific Backlinks

Have you noticed that many websites you visit seem to have a blog page?

Well, it’s probably not because these companies really like blogging (although many do like to share company insights), it’s most likely because of SEO.

Blogs are an excellent way of getting local links and you can share articles with your email subscribers.

While writing a blog may seem like a huge commitment, you don’t have to post every day. Aim to write one article a month and – who knows – you might even end up enjoying it.

Write about locally relevant articles where you can gain local backlinks, and give potential customers more information about products and services.

Should You Include The Term ‘near me’?

Should You Include the term ‘near me’?

No, you shouldn’t. Including the ‘near me’ term in your content or on your GMB listing is unnecessary.

It will only hinder the user’s experience because you can’t naturally include it.

Google knows the location of your business and the user, so it’s unnecessary to include it.

Optimising For Near Me Searches: Final Thoughts

SEO is a long-term process, so don’t expect results overnight. However, by implementing the above changes to your website, you should be able to see gradual improvement to your local SEO.

Keep in mind that people spend years learning about SEO, so if you are finding it overwhelming it’s worth getting someone else to help you with it.

If you would like more information about how we can help you with your business’ local SEO, contact us today.

If you would like to read more about SEO and web design, make sure to check out some of our recent articles below:

How To Speed Up Your Website (And Why It’s Important)

What Keywords Should You Be Targeting? 

Why You Need To Update Your Website Frequently