Local Search: Optimizing for “Near Me” Searches

Written by Nick Stamoulis

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There’s no question that search behavior has changed drastically since the advent of mobile search. People can now search whenever and wherever they might be. On the go searches have resulted in the “near me” search phenomenon and Google launching mobile-first indexing. For local businesses, it’s more important than ever to follow local SEO best practice in order to appear in the search results for the increasingly popular “near me” searches. Here are 5 tips to follow:

Have a mobile-friendly website

From a user-experience perspective this has been a “must” for years but now that Google is shifting to mobile-first indexing it’s imperative in order to generate any traffic from the search engines. Your best bet is to invest in responsive design, so that most, if not all, of your pages can be viewed properly by the search engines and users no matter what device they are using.

Optimize for local search

Location keywords should be incorporated into title tags, meta descriptions, and on page content to make it obvious where the business is located. Contact information should be easily accessible and if the main goal of the business is to receive phone calls (like a takeout restaurant, for example), click-to-call buttons should be featured.

Claim Google My Business

If you want to appear in the Google local 3-pack (at the top of the search results page) it’s necessary to claim and verify your Google My Business page and fill out as much information as possible. The information you provide here can help Google determine what you do, who you cater to, and where you’re located. Reviews are also important for 3-pack placement, so encourage happy customers to leave one for you here.

Create additional localized website content

As a part of your content marketing strategy, focus on incorporating localized keywords into the mix. For example, write content about the neighborhood you’re located in or any nearby landmarks which can also help the search engines pinpoint exactly where you are and display your site for “near me” searches.

Add landing pages for every location

If you have multiple locations, create a page for each one. This is a user-friendly way to outline where all of your locations are. If there are more than a few, it doesn’t make sense to list them all in a footer because it can easily get messy and cluttered.

While it’s true that Google is smart and can typically figure out where you’re located with basic information, it doesn’t hurt to go the extra mile to ensure that your site is as local search friendly as possible. None of these tactics take too long and it can really make a difference in where you rank. Once you’ve implemented these tactics, keep an eye on your organic search traffic to see where it’s coming from. Ideally, you should see an uptick for your immediate geographic area.


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