A common question among my customers is how I can target “[insert business niche here] near me” (i.e., “painters near me”, “hvac repair near me”, etc.). The short answer is that a business should not target “near me” searches in their content.
In your webpage content, Google (and other search engines) are good at understanding and ranking “home exterior painter in Ohio” but do not have the ability to parse “home exterior painter near me” and automatically compare it to your local area. Most of the time, your website is being served from somewhere other than the town of your business so if Google were able to make that comparison by gathering server location, it would not match where your business is located. More on this below.
Note: The Google webpage keyword ranking method does not use the same location statistics as they do for a Google user who’s searching for a business (SERPs).
Some Important Statistics:
- Last year, “near me” searches doubled in volume.
- The number of people searching for a business on Google Maps before visiting was 86%.
- Visitors that search locally then visit a business within 5 miles of their location was 56%.
- User search intent for local business searches was 46%.
Google has recognized this increase in local searches and created what they call the “map pack” to get a user’s location through geolocation in the browser or from a phone’s GPS coordinates. The map pack shows a listing of businesses who are local to the user’s location. Below is an example of this listing:
Tips on Ranking for Local SEO
- Claim and optimize your Google My Business listing
Google My Business (GMB) is the top factor when ranking for “near me searches”. Your GMB listing is one of the main things Google looks at when comparing a user’s location to your business location. GMB includes your business contact information, hours of operation, address, photos, Q&A, reviews, and blog-style posts.
When building a local seo strategy, it is important to ensure all business information is accurate and up-to-date. It is also a good idea to regularly upload photos and posts to GMB, which will signal to Google to rank you higher in the map pack results. While Google wants businesses to buy ads, if a business can get their GMB profile into the top 3 results for wanted keywords, then this strategy works almost as well as ads for the simple reason that the results will always show near the top of page one of Google SERPs.
- Proper Website Schema
A website’s schema is code placed within the site’s HTML that instructs Google what kind of content the site contains so Google can accurately return informative results to users who are performing a search. If we have the incorrect schema of type “Book” and not “LocalBusiness”, then we are not optimizing our seo potential for the website of the painter who’s located in Cleveland.
- Optimize on-page SEO
If your business is based in Cleveland, Ohio (and even if it’s not) and you’re targeting and ranking well for “painting services in Cleveland”, then you have the potential to rank for the phrase “painting services near me” when a user’s location is in the vicinity of Cleveland.
Optimizing your on-page SEO to have this information in your URL, Title Tags, Headers, and Meta Description (without keyword stuffing) will send signals to Google that your page is a good fit for the “near me” search.
- Whole-site technical SEO
Related to on-page SEO, placing your business address or area served in your footer is a great way to signal to Google that your business site should be returned in “near me” searches. This information will be shown on every page, so in a way, it’s creating a higher chance that any page will rank higher when Cleveland users are searching for painters near them.
- Responsive website
Having a responsive website is a must nowadays. Google’s ranking factors’ algorithm will heavily penalize any site not responsive for mobile devices, as well as sites that load slowly on mobile. You can have all the right cues mentioned in the last four items but if your site isn’t optimized for mobile, you will never rank highly in results.
Parting tips for increasing local SEO for websites
SEO is a living, breathing thing. No one can optimize their site once and never update it again. Google’s algorithms are constantly evolving and this forces businesses that want to stay relevant to have an ongoing SEO strategy. This can happen through regularly updating content, consistently writing articles, acquiring backlinks, etc.
As a business owner myself, I understand how many hats business owners have to wear on a daily basis. We are here to take the burden of your online strategy off your shoulders and let you concentrate on doing what you do best- running your business. Contact us today for a free consultation and find out what we can do for you.