How to Optimize for ‘Near Me’ Searches (Part 1)

Rock Local Search with These 4 Tactics Your Competitors Overlook

Thousands of blog posts exist about how to optimize for local search. What’s becoming even more important is finding ways to double down; specifically how to win at ‘near me’ queries. Before you get the wrong idea, we won’t be advocating that you optimize for the phrase ‘near me + service name’ as that may not be the best way to gain ground. What we will do is look hard and read between the lines on a variety of techniques your competitors are missing. You can sweep up these tactics and drop them into your campaigns to strengthen your local SERP success!

Mobile Drives ‘Near Me’ Searches

It stands to reason that marketers want to be found for ‘near me’ searches – the ubiquity of mobile phones has helped this type of query explode in popularity over the last few years; especially with the growing use of voice search.

>>Pay close attention if you are one of the industries greatly impacted by the ‘near me’ query trend: car dealerships, doctors, lawyers, hospitality, restaurants, grocery stores – these are just some of the entities who can benefit from ‘near me’ optimization. Let’s examine what you need to do to rank for these queries:

1) Align your NAP – The two places you want to do that first, are on your website and on your Google My Business (GMB) listing. Make sure that both of these NAP (name, address, phone number) entries correlate exactly. For example, don’t write Suite 103 on one, and Ste #103 on another. The alignment has to be very specific and exact. Once you have both your website and Google My Business matching with Name, Address, Phone number (this is the most basic form of alignment, but vital), then move on to other steps (although we will be revisiting GMB in a moment).

2) Drill Down To Specific Neighborhoods Within A Location

Here’s an example:

Query: steak restaurants near me

What you’ll find are a mix of ads, aggregator/directory sites and local organic listings. Few, if any, of the highest ranking sites will actually insert ‘near me’ into their copy or HTML code. Most won’t know enough to experiment with that, and others won’t likely want to dilute their copy or sacrifice the opportunity to include more specific, keyword-rich content, such as using keywords that drill down to specific neighborhoods within a location; such as Black Rock, a section within Bridgeport, CT.

When you optimize for ‘near me’ queries, you have the opportunity to help Google drill down to an exact sub category within a location, such as a neighborhood. In our example, it would be much more beneficial (potentially drive more traffic to your website) to optimize for ‘Black Rock Bridgeport, CT steak restaurants’, than ‘Brideport, CT steak restaurants near me’. That’s because Google can take a user’s location and show people what’s near them – there’s no need to add ‘near me.’ Another big benefit is for capturing users’ trip planning traffic – you want to get all the variations you can of ‘Black Rock Bridgeport, CT steak restaurants’ into your copy and code (in a natural way that provides a good user experience), versus watering down your content with ‘near me’ references. This is especially true because you can’t control where your searcher is located (and those located near you doing a search have a better chance of triggering a search result with your listing included [provided you also have followed the steps above plus these additional points listed below]:

3) Check for NAP alignment: Provide Google with a consistent Name, Address, Phone Number (NAP) on your website and everywhere you create a local listing for your business. Google is easily confused, and when that happens, you run the risk of not showing up in local results.

Let’s carry this Black Rock example further and see how to make alignment & local SEO work for you. So when we talk about alignment, we start with your website and Google My Business and we branch out to other key areas, building our visibility and keeping our NAP consistent and our local focus squarely on the locations where we want to rank. See this search result for Joseph’s Steakhouse:

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Joseph’s not only wants to rank well in Bridgeport, CT; it also wants to drill down and get people to come in who want a classic steakhouse in the Black Rock area. They then build out their presence via their terrific food and service, first of all, and:

>> They get reviews in a top local restaurant magazine, plus in Yelp and TripAdvisor.

>> They also have created a Facebook account that offers another imprint to Google about the restaurant’s location and it incorporates recent reviews of the eatery’s food and service. These are additional signals to Google that influence how the Joseph’s site will rank for relevant queries.

4) Now extrapolate this example to cities around the country(depending on where your clients’ locations are), and dig into associated neighborhoods to drive the local traffic you want. 

More examples:

>> Los Angeles is a huge market, so sub-category sections and neighborhood optimization is vital.

>> Ditto for other large cities and metro areas like NYC, Chicago, D.C., Dallas, etc.

Awesome takeaway for today: Such hyperlocal SEO should be the holy grail of local marketers who want to nail local down to the most specific (and awesome traffic driving) potential.

Next time: We’ll dive even deeper into hyperlocal SEO with tips to make your campaigns drive the results you’re looking for! Join us again soon!

Let the Experts at Engine-ius Marketing Rock Your Local SEO Campaigns

And…If you want to get a head start vs. your competition in the local and hyperlocal SEO space, contact Engine-ius Marketing. Our deep experience in this field yields top local SEO results for our clients. Plus, if you are an agency that wishes to sell local SEO marketing packages, Engine-ius Marketing provides turn-key local SEO services you can provide to your clients – we do the fulfillment. See why offering results-oriented local SEO to your clients is definitely a way to set your agency apart! Contact us today!

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