“Near Me” Searches and Why They Matter for Local SEO

Two friends performing a "near me" search on their cell phone at night in a city.

People Google almost everything, especially local places by using “near me” searches. That’s why it’s important to optimize your website to rank well in local SEO. This article will explain how to rank higher with local SEO near me searches.

Why Does Local SEO Matter?

Local SEO, including “near me” searches, matter because 46% of all Google searches have local intent. The high volume of local searches indicates that people are more likely to make purchases and visit in-store, which means that local SEO can increase your conversion rate. 

If you have a brick-and-mortar store, it’s particularly important to rank in Google because 72% of people who Google locally will visit a store within 5 miles around them. Local searches have skyrocketed in the last few years and “near me” searches have doubled within the last year.

In just two years, dress-related “near me” searches have increased 600%, mobile searches with “near me now” have increased 150%, and mobile searches with “near me today/tonight” have increased a whopping 900%.

6 Tips to Optimize for Local SEO and "Near Me" Searches

These tips will help you optimize your website and business for local SEO, especially “near me” searches.

1. Choose Relevant Keywords

You may not think so, but keywords are important even when targeting local SEO. Your website isn’t usually the primary way people will find you when searching locally, but it’s still fundamental for your Google ranking.

For example, when you look up a place near you, and Google shows the map listings, it will often also say “their website mentions [keyword].” 

If you want to rank higher in Google listings, it’s important to write high-quality content that’s at least 500 words on each page of your website. Each page and article should include all relevant keywords you want to rank in. 

Some ways you can choose the best keywords for your website are: 

  • Think about how people will search for you (e.g., “landscaping near me” or “gardening services near me”). 
  • Use the format “service in location” (e.g., “landscaping in [city]”) by considering every detail that someone might look up.
  • List out plurals and other possible versions for your keywords (e.g., landscaper, landscapers, landscaping).
  • On local listing places (e.g., Craigslist), find out what others are searching for and how they word it and use those searches to create more keywords.
  • Add onto your existing keywords (e.g., “good landscaper near me” or “best gardener in [city]”).
  • Use Google autocomplete to get even more ideas — look up your keywords and see what pops up in the suggested searches. 

Don’t forget to be creative — Make a list of at least a hundred keywords and think about how to naturally integrate them into your content.

2. Create Your Google Business Profile

Google Business Profile is arguably the most important platform, with several local SEO features. Creating and verifying your free and easy-to-create Google Business Profile is critical. It’ll automatically take you one step ahead of the 56% of other local retailers who haven’t claimed their Google Business Profile and allow you to take control and provide the necessary information, such as: 

  • Services that you offer
  • Your contact information
  • Your business description
  • Categories your business fits into
  • Your operation hours
  • Create a Q&A and gain access to Google reviews — both of which are optional

It’s important to go through the verification process so that you’ll be able to make edits to your page in the future. You should also take advantage of the Google Business Profile features by categorizing your business, creating a compelling description, writing about your products and services, adding photos, and more.

3. Register on Bing Places and Apple Maps

Google isn’t the only search engine you should consider though. Bing Places and Apple Maps are other platforms that you’ll want to claim your business and list your information on. They’re both simple to use and similar to Google Business Profile. 

If your business already shows up on Bing Places, you can even import your Google Business Profile data which makes things more accurate and simple.

4. Make Your NAP Accurate and Consistent

NAP — which stands for Name, Address, and Phone — is incredibly important because it’s your business’s contact information that you’re providing to the world. A correct, complete NAP applies nearly everywhere. 

You’ll want to be 100% consistent across all the web pages with your NAP. This means that what you have on your website matches what your Google Business Profile says and that any citations you have or any mentions of your NAP on another website match everything too. 

This is essential for your Google rankings because having consistent information makes Google more likely to rank your Google Business Profile. 

5. Optimize for Mobile

You need to be mobile-friendly — mainly because 61% of people searching on their mobile devices are more likely to contact a business if they have a mobile-friendly website. Unfortunately, only 64% of businesses have an online presence.

Think of it this way — have you ever been searching for a business on your phone? Maybe, you were looking for more information about a business that ranked high on Google, but when you visited their website it was slow and not formatted for your mobile device. Maybe, they didn’t even have a website, and you had no way to get more information. All of this may have left to frustrated. 

About 60% of Americans use smartphones and tablets to search for local products and services. With over half the market using these devices, every website should be viewable and usable on them. Even if you don’t use your phone as your primary device for local searches, most people do. 

If you don’t have a mobile-friendly site or if the user has a poor experience on your website, they’re 62% less likely to purchase from you in the future.

There are several things you should focus on when creating a mobile-friendly site that ranks well for local SEO:

  • Site Speed: Make sure your website is fast. No one likes to wait more than a few seconds for a page to load. A long loading time may divert your potential customers to another business with faster loading websites. 
  • Task-Based Design: When designing your mobile website, keep your customer in mind — design it in a way that would make you want to use it. If it’s too difficult to navigate, people will switch to something else.
  • Simple Fonts and Sizes: Don’t go too crazy with text fonts and sizes. While they may look great on a desktop, they can get confusing and jumbled on mobile.
  • Clear Directions: It’s can be frustrating when a mobile website doesn’t have a clear search bar or menu. These should be noticeable. 
  • Relax on Ads: Few things are more annoying than visiting a website on a mobile device and being bombarded with so many ads that you can’t view the website. While you may want to monetize, don’t go so overboard that visitors want to leave.

These are just a few ways to improve the mobile user experience. Visit your website’s mobile version regularly and see how you feel about it, would you change anything? If so, change and optimize it.

6. Keep Up With Ongoing Activities

As with all SEO, including local SEO, you can’t just do it once and then wait for it to work. It requires ongoing maintenance and nurture. Once you’ve laid the groundwork, there are a few things you can do to continue optimizing for near me searches.

Get Reviews

About 67% of people are influenced by online reviews when making a purchasing decision. It’s important to provide great products and services and maintain a good online reputation. If you’re struggling to get reviews on Google or other websites, make it a business practice to request reviews from your clients. 

Stay Active on Google Business Profile

It’s important to remain active on your Google Business Profile. Here are a few ways you can do that.

  • Make posts on Google Business Profile
  • Respond to reviews
  • Look out for incorrect edits and fix them

Staying active is great for your rankings, and posting regularly helps you communicate better with your potential customers. 

Create Content

One of the best ongoing activities you can do is to regularly post high-quality content on your website. This doesn’t mean you have to post multiple times a week — once post every month or so should be just fine.

Just make sure that the content you write and post is relevant and high-quality. Posting regularly can help you with Google rankings because it shows that your website is active.

Local SEO Matters

If you’re wanting to rank higher in local SEO “near me” searches, it’s important to realize that SEO is an ongoing effort. As such, continuing to research the best ways to rank higher as technology continues to evolve is important. Contact Redstitch today to see how you can start getting more conversions from your website today.

Picture of Written By: Alexa Elpers

Written By: Alexa Elpers

Alexa holds a degree in Graphic Design and has honed her design skills with over 4 years of experience. As an expert content writer and senior editor, Alexa brings her creativity and attention to detail to every project she undertakes. She has extensive experience in SEO, with a particular focus on local SEO, and has helped numerous clients optimize their online presence. When she's not writing or designing, you can find Alexa on the tennis court or in her studio creating art. She also loves spending time with her family.

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