Benefit from Local SEO – It’s no secret that “near me” searches have been increasingly popular over the past several years and have established themselves as a fundamental component of local SEO (search engine optimization).
According to Think with Google, over the past two years, searches for local businesses have risen by 150% more when they contain the qualifier “near me” than when they do not, while worldwide searches for “open now near me” have increased by over 400%.
This increase in search traffic is accompanied by an equal surge in keyword targeting. Local companies started optimizing for “near me” queries all across the world. In order to appear better in local search results, some even go so far as to change the name of their businesses to include the modification.
However, it’s conceivable that these explicit targeting techniques are no longer used as Google continues to make algorithm modifications to better account for genuine search intent. It’s essential to make use of fresh tactics to rank in the local pack for these more popular location-based inquiries.
For additional information or to contact a local SEO professional, continue reading!
Increased use of overt “near me” optimization
For many years, it seemed obvious to explicitly optimize for these localized searches. In addition to the use of “near me” and “near you” in page headers and headings, numerous companies even went so far as to modify their company listing names with “near me.”
Businesses that implemented these name alterations and keyword-stuffed improvements got benefits almost immediately because of the emphasis on literal keyword matching.
Since local SEO was still essentially in its infant stages, these strategies all worked well — until recent times. If you were one of the early adopters of this strategy in your area, there was almost no doubt that your search visibility would keep rising, allowing you to crush competitors who were unaware of the optimization.
Google has long been aware of the problems with how the algorithm reads certain queries and has been working to resolve them. Google has now confirmed the formal change in how these searches are handled after years of suspicions.
most recent? The term “near me” is no longer considered a keyword-matching phrase by Google, but rather a proximity indicator.
The result? For Google Maps and Google search optimization, optimising for “near me” phrases as keywords is no longer a 100% successful technique.
With this knowledge, it’s crucial to remember that optimizing for these proximity phrases won’t harm your listings. Instead, the challenge is how to effectively take advantage of this ever-expanding search trend. The Proximity Update from Google provides the answer to this.
The effects of Google’s local search upgrade in 2021
SEOs can better grasp what genuinely ranks for local searches as Google releases its November 2021 Local Search Update, which is the largest update since Possum in 2016.
- Relevance: How closely your company relates to the user’s search query
Distance between the user and the location of your company or service
Prominence: How well-known your company is, business trust
More than ever, you must precisely describe the address and operating hours of your company on your website and in local directories.
There are various easy wins you can take to accomplish this. The greatest method to reach relevant users is to demonstrate to Google that you provide the needed product or service in the place the user is searching for.
It’s essential to consistently update your hours of operation in order to convey to Google that they are authentic and up-to-date, in addition to making them obvious on-page and throughout your listings.
Since Google now uses AI to change listing hours that it deems wrong, manually verifying listings every month is essential. For instance, despite the fact that Google may estimate Saturday as your biggest day based on user traffic, your business may be labeled as “Closed” on the weekends. Since you haven’t changed them in six months, they could take priority over the hours you listed and convert your status to “Open.”
Code termed schema markup enables you to enhance the description of your company that will show up in search results.
There are several advantages of adding schema to your website. This is a must-have fast win since it improves rich snippets, enables your company to appear in the knowledge graph, signals your specific location to Google using precise coordinates, boosts your brand’s overall visibility, and more.
The schema may be quickly created with the aid of a creation tool and then implemented on your website via a plugin or directly in the HTML code for the backend.
Interactive maps called embedded maps may be added to your website using an HTML script. Thanks to the Google Maps Embed API, these maps not only provide a superior user experience by giving customers quick access to your company’s address, phone number, reviews, and directions, but they also create a plethora of new possibilities.
Most recently, Google released the Reserve with Google feature that allows consumers to immediately reserve or book appointments on your integrated map.
The best place for your business hours, schema markup, and integrated maps to existing on your website is on a dedicated location page.
These pages serve as the topmost landing page for customers who find your company through local citation services and allow you to add SEO-rich content, geographically-optimized title tags, meta descriptions (featuring your services and the city you’re serving), optimized alt text, internal links, and more.
Utilizing trust indicators
Reviews and trust signals are additional essential factors to take into account besides location. A significant amount of good reviews inspire users while also acting as an E-A-T indication for Google’s algorithm.
A strong foundation may be built by including “Leave a Review” buttons on your website, nurturing leads with email requests for reviews, and conducting general outreach to your customer interaction.
While encouraging reviews might seem difficult given the possibility of receiving bad feedback, Google has explicitly indicated that it values all evaluations, favorable or negative. In fact, Google says that having a variety of evaluations really makes your listing more credible and makes it more trustworthy.
Citations are another method of establishing authority. While Google Business Profile, Bing, Yelp, and Facebook are the four main online directories for local companies, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of other places you may put your company.
Consistency in Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) across listings and on your site is essential for citation building. Consistency and transparency let Google know that your data is current, and correct data improves the user experience.
Overview: You have the highest probability of being ranked near you
Despite recent changes, it’s still quite likely that your business or location will rank for relevant “near me” searches. Even though they might not be used as keywords anymore, they are nonetheless generating significant bottom-funnel intent and drawing in high search volumes.
So, how can you rank these terms the best without focusing on them specifically? Let Google handle the rest by accurately reflecting your company’s information on your website and across the internet.
Want to know more about local search optimization? Visit our local SEO services page and get in touch with us to talk about your unique strategy!