People search for products and services online all the time, and you want to be the business they come to when they are looking for products and services you may sell. Local businesses should want people in the surrounding areas to come to them after doing such a search and this is where “near me” keywords come in. This type of keywords is part of the larger local SEO conversion, but we will only be discussing how to optimize your website and online presence to be found when people do these searches.
Every business that wants to rank on the first page of local search results should have a complete and optimized Google My Business profile. Google My Business is only one part of the Google Map pack that also includes Google Maps where the pins of local businesses matching specific searches are displayed.
The results on Google Maps are tied to the Google My Business profiles of different businesses so you can see how the two work together to enhance your position when someone performs a local business search.
The first thing you do to appear on the Google Map pack is claim your business profile and then add the required details. You should:
- Include the complete and accurate profile of your business including its name and address
- Add your business hours and contact details
- Choose business categories relevant to your business
- List your products and services and add relevant images
- Allow customers to leave feedback so they can act as social proof when others search for related businesses
You should revisit your profile often to ensure all your business information is correct. Do not forget to respond to customer feedback.
The business name, address, and phone number (NAP) you use on your Google My Business profile should be consistent across all your online properties. You therefore need to ensure they are also added to your website.
Any inconsistencies in any of these details confuse Google because it will not know which of the different sets of information belongs to your business and which is correct. Remember, Google is very careful about ensuring its visitors receive the correct information so it would rather not list your business rather than risk misleading visitors.
You should have different pages for different locations if your business has more than one. Next, you should create a Google My Business profile for each. Once you do both, you can start optimizing the web page for “near me” searches.
The page should have a user-friendly URL that indicates the location it is optimized for — for example, http://example.com/california-plumber. You should also optimize your meta tags using the right location-based keywords. Do not forget to include the proper image titles and alt tags as well as web page content that includes the services or products you sell, that location’s hours, and its address.
Backlinks are an important part of SEO, and they apply to local SEO, too. With local SEO, you want to concentrate on high-authority and highly relevant backlinks that link to your website using the right geographical anchor text for each page.
Whereas you might want to use keywords that include the words “near me” on your website, you should swap it out for a format that follows the format “product/service in location”. A plumber located in California, for example, could ask for backlinks like “plumber in California” or “best plumber in California”.
You should use the right schema markup for each location page on your website. Schema is code your developer embeds onto your website that gives search engines like Google all the information they need to know about the page.
Google and other search engines then read this information and use it to populate their search engine result pages by using this information to create rich snippets. Local SEO schema is slightly different from the typical schema you add to other pages. You can learn more about local SEO schema here.
Some information you can include in your schema markup include business address, hours of operation, and contact information. Also, consider adding schema markup to your website’s homepage so this information can be included in Google’s knowledge graph.
Optimizing your page for local SEO should go hand in hand with optimizing it for overall SEO. On-site and technical SEO are an integral part of getting your website to rank high on local search result pages.
Start by ensuring your website is mobile-friendly. Remember that most “near me” searches happen on mobile, so this is important. Ensure your website is as fast as possible and provides a great user experience.
Providing a great user experience means it is easy to navigate and mobile responsive, so it is usable despite the screen size of the visitors’ devices. Providing a great user experience is also a great way to reduce bounce rates.
The bounce rate is the percentage of people who leave the website after visiting a single page. A high bounce rate will decimate your search engine rankings so keep an eye on it.
As mentioned above, positive customer feedback is an excellent way to get potential customers to choose your business over a similar one. You should find different ways to encourage visitors to leave feedback. Ask them to leave some on your Google My Business and your website. They can leave feedback for the business as a whole or for specific products they have bought from you.
If you have a star rating system on the website, do add the correct schema code for it so it can show below your business listing in the search results.
Near me searches will continue to increase as more people look for local businesses for the products and services they need. Businesses should take advantage of this by optimizing their website for “near me” searches.