Are you the owner of a local business who’d like to reach more people in your immediate area? (I mean, honestly, who doesn’t?) Then it’s high time to give some intentional focus towards creating a stronger presence through effective local SEO strategies!
Nowadays, more people shop online with their phones than they do with their computers – and this trend is only expected to increase. And a tactic that practically every smartphone user in the world employs is to conduct a location-specific search for local businesses right from their phone. In addition, nearly all of these location-specific searches include two little words that we’ve all come to know well: NEAR ME.
You’ve probably done it yourself, so you’re probably already well-aware of the search phrase “near me.” Adding “near me” to your search query helps you to zoom in on the businesses near you who actually offer what you’re looking for.
For example, let’s say a person is hungry and wants to locate a particular type of restaurant nearby. What will that person do? They’ll simply type the word “restaurants near me” into Google and see what comes up!
Within a split second, Google will display a list of nearby restaurants that meet your search criteria. For example, here are the results for a recent search conducted from a specific location in downtown Mount Airy, NC:
How’d you like to get the attention of NEAR ME searches in your area? Here are some helpful suggestions for getting your business ranked for local NEAR ME searches:
Already have a GMB listing? If not, it’s time to create one. And whether or not you’re creating a new account or simply updating the listing you have, make sure it includes all the correct information for your business! Many businesses miss the mark by failing to verify the correct address, phone number, business hours, etc. You also want to make sure to include an engaging logo & profile image, and also include details about your products, services, service area, link for booking an appointment, etc. Google has also updated to include a new “short name” feature, and this is something you’ll want to take advantage of, as well.
You can also update your Google My Business profile on a more regular basis by making posts or sharing news & updates with your phone number.
Why is it important to make sure your business details are complete and correct on your GMB profile? This will help confirm for Google that you are in fact a real business that serves real customers. And if you want to be found in any “near me” searches, then it’s absolutely essential that your business name and address be correct and kept up-to-date. Otherwise, you’ll simply be missing out when folks search for a business like yours “near me.”
NAP is an acronym representing Name, Address, and Phone Number. Your Google My Business profile isn’t the only place that matters when it comes to maintaining your complete business information. You need to be sure to keep your information current on your website and in other digital locations, as well. Doing so will help to improve your “near me” ranking.
And don’t forget about the positive impact of having positive reviews, either. Searchers and shoppers value positive reviews, and so does Google. In fact, Google is always looking for positive feedback left by users, because Google uses this information to place highly-rated businesses above low-rated businesses in its search results.
Google provides a simple way to users to leave their own reviews, too; any user can leave a review for a particular business by simply opening a Google map. All this being true, it’s important for you to always be working towards earning positive reviews for your local business. Doing so can dramatically improve your “near me” ranking.
Geocoding is another important factor when it comes to getting your business ranked for local keywords. So, what is geocoding, and how does it work?
There are several photo-sharing websites you can use to geocode your images, including business name, location, and specific products or services. Flickr is a good one, for example. Creating an account on Flickr is simple, and then you can start uploading your business-related images with location names.
Below are some examples of geocoded Flickr photos.
Once you upload your image, you can then add your website in the image description and also use the map to show where this image was taken.
Flickr will read all metadata associated with the image, including the location. This type of information will increase your local authority and help your business to rank for those all-important NEAR ME searches.
If you’re familiar with the finer points of digital marketing, you already know the importance of building a unique backlink profile for SEO purposes. It’s also important to create a backlink profile for your localized SEO, and in order to that, you need to include some geographic anchor text.
The geographic anchor text should include your business type, city, and state. For example: “Digital Marketing Agency in Mount Airy, NC.”
See how that works? Your location should appear in the geographic anchor text. This sends a geographic signal to Google, and helps Google to identify where your business is located.
There are many ways to include geographic anchor text for your local business. You can create location-based blogs on your website, and you can also reach out to some other guest blog sites and include that anchor text in a link back to your business site.
And here’s another way to “tell” Google about your business location. You can include the names of nearby landmarks and neighborhoods on your site.
For example, you can add text like “We’re located at 737 S Main St in Mount Airy, NC.” You want to take advantage of verbiage that identifies your business location, and include more ways for your customers to be able to find you.
Also, let Google know where your customers typically come from. For example: “We serve people all over the United States.” By stating it in this manner, even a business based in little old Mount Airy, NC, can reach out to a wider pool of folks who may be interested in what your business has to offer them.
This point really can’t be overstated. We mentioned at the top of this article that people tend to conduct searches on other devices instead of on computers these days. This includes smartphones of course, but it also includes a range of other types of smart devices, as well. There are all sorts of ways to conduct a search with nothing more than the sound of your voice, and people love to use devices like smart speakers which make things more convenient for them. In 2021, people are now accustomed to being able to pose a question to their smart devices and get instant results. Not surprisingly, many of these voice searches include the phrase “near me.” For instance:
“Okay Google, find an SEO Company near me.”
“Okay Google, find a Chinese Restaurant near me.”
To prepare for voice search, you need to optimize your website – along with your Google My Business profile – by finalizing a list of keywords that people might use with their smart device searches.
Business owners who are intentional about optimizing their website for “near me” searches, as well as for voice-based searches in particular, will be in the best position to rank above their competitors.
If you don’t choose to optimize based upon the guidelines we’ve mentioned, then in essence you and your business are being left behind. Got some questions? Not sure where to go from here? That’s OK – the experts at Cibirix are here to help! Connect with us at (336) 415-3534, and we can help you increase your local reputation and start to get found in more “near me” searches!
Anoop Namdev serves as one of the lead SEO Analysts for Cibirix. He is passionate about his pursuit of SEO, local SEO, eBay advertising, and Craigslist marketing excellence for business clients. Digital media is one of Anoop’s native tongues, and he specializes in helping local businesses to expand their business online through strategic local SEO efforts. When he’s not busy strategizing, Anoop can be found in attendance at some of his favorite public events. He also likes to paint in his free time.