Many people use the search phrase “near me” when looking for restaurants, gas stations, apparel, and more in their area. This is because smartphone users are dropping location qualifiers (e.g. ZIP codes and neighborhoods) since they expect the results will be automatically relevant to their location due to GPS.
See how to optimize for near me searches to increase your presence in local search
1. Optimize Google Business Profile
For your business to appear properly in the local search results, you’ll need to have a Google Business Profile
. After setting up your profile, it’s essential that you optimize it to ensure your business listing shows up in Google’s local search results:
- Verify your listing
- Include detailed, accurate, and up-to-date information
- Make sure the NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number) is consistent across all of your business profiles on the internet
- Use the complete address to reach your business using Google Maps
- Add your logo, hours of operation, acceptable payment methods, contact details like phone number and website, and the product or service you sell
- Add high-quality photos of your services and products
- Ask customers to leave a Google review
- Respond quickly and sincerely to customer reviews
- Create and add content to the listing’s Google Posts
- Perform a routine check on your Google Busines Profile
- Include your business in the correct category (be as specific as possible)
- Ensure your business information stays accurate and up-to-date
- Add amenities your business offers like WiFi or pet-friendly
2. Properly Use Schema Markup
With schema data, search engines can obtain more information about your business and display them as ‘rich snippets’ in the search results. We recommend having your web developer
add schema markup to every location page and include the business address, operation hours, and contact information.
You should also have schema markup on the homepage to help your business appear in the Google Knowledge Graph
and display accurate business information. Furthermore, the information in the schema markup should match what's on the page.
3. Acquire Backlinks
are a great way to improve your site’s local SEO. By acquiring high authority and relevant backlinks with geographic 'anchor text' (the clickable words of a link), it’ll be easier to increase your business rankings for near me searches.
For example, a restaurant in downtown Orlando would benefit from backlinks with anchor text like "best restaurant in Orlando," "Downtown Orlando restaurant," etc.
4. Create Local SEO Pages
For businesses with multiple locations, it’s crucial to create and optimize a page for each. For example, if your company has offices in five different cities, then you should create five location-specific pages rather than optimizing one page for all locations. Here are some optimization tips for local pages:
- Use a URL structure that is user-friendly and easy to read such as "example.com/orlando/''
- Optimize the title, content, and meta tags for your target keyword
- Add proper alt tags and title tags to the images used on the page
- Add an appropriate description to your business and include relevant information, such as operation hours, menu, store directions, etc.
5. Have a Mobile-Friendly Website
A website that's fast and easy to use across mobile devices is key for improving user experience (UX) and ranking higher for near me searches. Here are some effective ways to make your site mobile-friendly
- Use a responsive web design
- Have a quick load time
- Create a smart UX/UI design
- Employ other mobile optimizations (e.g. compressing heavy images, removing Flash animation)
6. Generate Local Content
is a great way to create and share local content that earns backlinks and drives traffic, which leads to higher organic rankings. There are many types of content you can do to get backlinks, such as conducting interviews with local influencers, and in return, they link to your site.
You can also conduct local surveys and publish the report regularly on your blog, create a FAQ to help users find answers to their questions, write specific blog posts for each question/answer, and much more.
Capture More Business with Local SEO
By implementing these six tactics, your business will achieve greater online visibility for near me search phrases. With the growth of local searches, businesses can’t afford to ignore local SEO — especially if they have multiple locations.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in October 2019 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.