One look at this 6 year chart from Google Trends shows the explosive growth of local ‘near me’ searches. The growth in near me local searches has been fueled mostly by mobile searches, which according to Google now account for more than half of all searches made.
Also interesting is to look at the categories where the majority of mobile searches are coming from. According to report from Hitwise, here’s a quick breakdown of business categories driving mobile search:
- food and beverage: 72%
- health: 68%
- sports: 68%
- news & media: 64%
- lifestyle: 62%
- automotive: 62%
- Retail: 56%
- travel: 52%
- real estate / property: 48%
- entertainment: 42%
- banking: 39%
So to tie in the near me search revolution with the data from mobile searches, here’s some example of near me searches that are happening:
- restaurants near me
- bars near me
- dentists near me
- soccer near me
- 2017 ford mustang for sale near me
I saw an interesting SEO strategy from Trip Advisor where they are (obviously) attempting to influence their relevance in the near me space.
Below is a screenshot of anchor text links within Trip Advisor’s restaurant category:
By clicking one of those anchor text links, you are then taken to a list of places near your location. This is a great example of Trip Advisor using their location aware technology within their website that delivers search results according to the user location.
Near Me SEO: 5 Local SEO Tips for Near Me Searches
According to Search Engine Land’s research, here’s the most popular near me searches:
- lawyers near me
- dentist near me
- grocery store near me
- gas station near me
- hair salons near me
- movie theater near me
- restaurants near me
The term “lawyers near me” was not part of the original research mentioned above, but from our own local SEO experience here at Bipper Media, I know this phrase carries a lot of search volume. Especially when you look at the many variations within the legal category such as:
- criminal defense lawyer near me
- personal injury lawyer near me
- dui lawyer near me
- car accident lawyer near me
- employment lawyer near me
So the obvious question is, if you are a lawyer, dentist, grocery store, gas station, or one of the many other locally relevant business categories, how do you optimize your presence in search to capture more of these near me searches?
Here’s 5 tips on Near Me SEO that you can leverage in your overall local SEO strategy.
Tip 1: Add “Near Me” to the meta data of your location page
When creating your location page, include the term “near me” within core meta data components. This gets back to basic SEO strategies with meta data optimization, but you can expand this to include ‘near me’ within image alt tags as well.
An example of meta data optimized for ‘near me’ searches might look like this:
Title: Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyers Near Me
Description: Find the best Atlanta personal injury lawyers near me. Call Now: 404-555-1212
Image alt tag: img alt=atlanta personal injury lawyer near me
Since we are talking about meta data, you certainly don’t want to overdo your inclusion of ‘near me’ references. In the examples above, I only included the term once in each meta data component.
Tip 2: Include “near me” keyword phrases throughout your content
The next tip to optimize your location page for near me searches is to include the term ‘near me’ throughout the content of your page. Using the example above with meta data, you can include phrases throughout your page such as “Atlanta personal injury lawyer near me”.
This will require some creativity with your content, but it can certainly be done. Perhaps include a paragraph that speaks directly to people who might have landed on your location page that used a ‘near me’ search.
Again, you don’t want to overdo the ‘near me’ references throughout your content, so keep it natural.
Tip 3: Create “near me” anchor text site maps
Linking internally within your website helps to create relevance and authority for key pages. When you are optimizing a location page, or city pages, you can create an internal site map that uses near me anchor text.
The best example I know is TripAdvisor.com where they leverage “near me” in their anchor text within their restaurants category.
I shared the image of Trip Adivsor’s near me anchor texts above, but here’s a few of the links you try out for yourself. You should be able to click on one of these links to be shown restaurants near you within the Trip Advisor site:
Near me anchor text links like this can be placed in global sections with your website, making the links site wide and helping to drive more relevance and authority to the location pages they are linking to. For example, you can place the links in the footer or sidebar of your website or blog, making them global elements throughout your website.
Tip 4: Get backlinks to your location page with “near me” related anchor text
This tip is more tricky because you need to find external websites that are willing, or allow, you to place customized links that are do follow back to your website. There are both paid and non-paid options for building these links, and you can take a more direct route by simply asking a site owner if they would be willing to place a link on their site pointing back to your location page.
You can also look to relevant local business directories to see if there’s opportunities for these links.
Start by going to Google and typing the following into the search bar:
For example, I’m located here in Athens, Georgia, so I typed in: athens georgia + business directory
This gave me the following search results:
Look past the first two search results, which are ads, and you find business directories relevant to Athens, Georgia such as:
What’s interesting here is that backlinks from two out of the three results above can actually be achieved, on a much larger, through distributed partners such as Yext and Moz Local.
I know that Yext distributes to ChamberMaster.com, along with about 65 other end point partners.
And OnlineAthens.com uses Acxiom, which is a major data aggregator.
So there’s several ways you can achieve locally relevant links back to your website, and with a little bit of extra effort, you can find ways to get ‘near me’ related anchor texts from these sources.
Tip 5: Include outbound links to authoritative landmarks (location signals) within your location page
Finally, include authoritative local signals that point out from your city pages.
For example, looks at these links we integrated into one of our law firm client’s location authority:
At the bottom of this city page, we included outbound links to relevant locations in the city of St. Louis.
These outbound links help create location signals within the city page, making the page itself more relevant and authoritative to the target metro area.
Now, when people search something like “car accident lawyers near me”, and are located in St. Louis, this page can compete in the search results and potentially capture traffic.
I hope this article was helpful as you work to build more location authority for your local business.
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.