If you own or manage a local business, you want to reach people in the surrounding area. If you aren’t optimising for local search, you could be missing out on a significant portion of your potential audience. Google near me searches are increasing in popularity and also searchers are potential customers who would benefit from your businesses services. You just need to be showing up.
The Rise of Google “Near Me” Searches
Even with the surge of eCommerce sales over the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a significant number of consumers continue to shop offline. Supporting local businesses is a priority for many people, and online companies like Google, Yelp, Waze, and Facebook have created programs to help small businesses (SMBs) get more visibility.
According to Google, “near me” searches have grown about 100% globally over the past year. Even with the pandemic, many consumers use these searches to confirm that an item is in stock at a local store before leaving home to buy it.
If a person looks for “pizza near me” or “plywood in Spokane,” how can you make sure your business gets the most visibility? The answer is by understanding consumer behaviour and focusing on certain local SEO strategies.
Top “Near Me” Search Categories
While some “near me” searches are completed on desktop or laptop computers, most are done via mobile devices. People on the go are not only looking for something “near me” but also something “near me now,” meaning there is immediate availability.
Best Practices to Rank for “Near Me” Searches
Optimising your business for “near me” searches should be a priority for any business with a local address and serves consumers in its community. If yours fits this bill, here are some of the ways you can increase the odds of ranking for these searches:
1. List and Optimise Your Business on Google My Business
If you want your business to rank on the first page of Google for local searches, you need to show up in the Google Maps Pack. These are the map-based listings that help people find relevant businesses in their search area.
Maps results are tied to your Google My Business (GMB) profile. Your first step will be to set up or “claim” your profile and then optimise it. Here are some steps you’ll want to take:
- Include your complete and accurate business name and address
- Add your contact details and business hours
- Choose some relevant business categories
- List your products or services and add some photos
- Ask current customers to leave online feedback (reviews) about your business
You’ll want to revisit your GMB profile often to ensure that the information is accurate and current. It’s vital that your NAP (name, address, phone number) is 100% consistent across all web properties. Your business should also be responding quickly and appropriately to its online reviews.
2. Create and Optimise Pages for Each Business Location
Does your business have more than one location? If so, you need to create different web pages and Google My Business profiles for each location. Likewise, your business will want to optimise each of those properties for “near me” searches. Specifically, your webpage should have:
- A user-friendly URL that indicates the location, such as www.mysite.com/seattle-roofer/;
- Title and meta tags optimised for your target keywords and location;
- Proper title and alt tags for images used on the page;
- A description of the location that includes the address, hours, and services offered.
3. Use Proper Schema Markup
Schema markup is an excellent way for your business to reach customers through local search. Schema data helps search engines like Google gather the right information about your business and present it in a useful way through rich snippets. You can use schema markup for your hours of operation, business address, and contact information.
4. Get Backlinks With Geographics Anchor Text
Backlinks will always be a part of an effective SEO strategy. But, when it comes to local SEO, you want to focus on relevant/high-authority backlinks with the right geographical anchor text. If you want to rank for “near me” searches in Tacoma for the category “CPA,” you wouldn’t target the keywords “near me,” but rather “CPA in Tacoma” or “Old Town CPA.”
5. Make Sure Your Site is Mobile-Friendly
Google has placed significant emphasis on the user experience, meaning you should too. Since most “near me” searches take place on mobile devices, make sure your website is mobile-friendly. This means it should be fast and made from a responsive design that works seamlessly on any mobile device.
6. Create a Blog and Secure Local Links
Most small businesses have a blog attached to their websites. When you create fresh content for your blog, make some of it locally focused. You can also secure local links by getting involved in your community. Join the Chamber of Commerce, interview local influencers, and help out those in need.
7. Make Your Customer Feedback Visible
One of the best ways to get customers to choose your local business over competitors is through customer reviews. Your business should find as many ways as possible to encourage current customers to leave online feedback so that you can build up your review profile. Beyond this, showcase your reviews on your website and use schema code for your reviews so that your star rating will appear below your listing in the search engine results.
As near me searches continue to grow, these best practices should become fundamental to any business website that targets local customers. They can only help in terms of both online visibility and conversation rates.
But local search is just one component of a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. At Angry Apple, we thoroughly assess your online footprint and offer results-based solutions to optimise your results. Contact us today to learn more about our services.