“Near me” searches are one of the most used keywords to find a local business or service.
For mobile and desktop users the “near me” searches continues to increase year-by-year. My goal of this article is to give small business owners a better understanding how Local SEO works and ways to improve their online presents based on location.
How to Optimize Your Business for Local Search
Start by optimising your Google My Business which is the best tool for local SEO. If you don’t have a Google My Business profile your missing out on almost 50% of search queries.
If you optimize your Google My Business profile you’ll be driving more customer engagement on Google.
Google My Business (GMB) allows you to list your business information. Your address with Google map, business website, contact information, hours, photos, logo and description. A GMB listing is the most powerful and FREE online tool to help connect you with customers.
When your Google Business Profile is optimized your business will start to show up in SERP (Search Engine Results Page) – the most important results given by Google.
Google: Local 3-pack results for local SEO
Most importantly if you can build up your website and listing you’ll start showing up in what is called Google’s local 3-pack which is part of SERP.
Google list three businesses that you will see first in the search results when searching for terms using keywords like “near me” or “near [Location].
For Instance see this result when I searched for “Hardware store near me”. See picture.
Frattallone’s Ace Hardware, S & S Hardware and Nokomis Hardware have been featured (for free) at the top of my local search. Consequently, their free GMB listing drives a lot more online business to them instead of their competitors.
Moreover these local Minneapolis business have a lot of good Google reviews. Frattallone’s Ace Hardware has a rating of 4.4 (our of 5 stars) with 253 reviews.
These positive Google Reviews help improve local search rankings. Online customer reviews build your brand, shows expertise, authority, and trust which means more customer click.
So what is SERP? Search Engine Results Page.
The goal is to have your business to be listed near the top of page results based on the users search query. Showing up for “near me” searches in the SERP is crucial to the ability of customers to find information about your business.
These results can include: pay-per-click (PPC) ads, organic search results and Google My Business listings with reviews.
How to rank near the top of SERP
1) Domain Authority – Improve your domain authority using what Google calls E-A-T.
E – Expertise
A – Authority
T – Trust
Follow these suggestions below to improve your search engine optimization (SEO) and watch your website rise in the ranks. Learn More
2) Backlinks – A backlink is created when one website links to another. Backlinks can be an important part of your SEO strategy. Basically if you have a repeatable sites (high-authority) linking to your sites content it helps your rankings move up.
If a lot of sites link to your page or website the more likely a search engine gives your business more search visibility.
Steps for creating Backlinking
- Build relationships with to other relevant websites and blogs in your industry.
- Become an expert in your industry by sharing your knowledge by posting blogs.
- Ask to guest post blogs on important sites in your industry.
- If you show you’re an expert in a certain topic other people in your industry will help spread the word and show others.
4) Keyword strategy and research – using an effective keyword strategy is a key to ranking well for Google’s SERP.
The objective is to be found for the right keywords. It doesn’t help your business if your ranking for the wrong keywords or search queries.
Ultimately you want web traffic to turn into conversion. So choosing the proper keywords will help attract your target audience.
When your target customer lands on your homepage you now have seconds to tell them “what you do” and “how you can help” them solve their problem or answer questions. Learn more by reading my post: How to Write the Perfect Call to Action
Local Keyword Strategy
Potential customers use search engines to help them find businesses in their area that offer the products or services they need.
Hence, to appear in their search results, you need to add local keywords into your site and web pages. This is another important step to showing up on page one of Google search results.
Start with specifying your location. The most important step in finding local SEO keywords is specifying your location. Then focus on industry related keywords or topics. Include keyword modifiers.
For local searches, you’ll want add keyword phrases with the location.
For Example: Try this for a Minneapolis business.
- Minneapolis [business type/product/service]
- [business type/product/service] in Minneapolis
- Best [business type/product/service] in Minneapolis
Beyond adding these location keywords you need to create great content related to your business or topic. I cover more of this in an article called: Tips and Suggestions for Website Content
Lastly, you can build your business with Google AdWords or what is called PPC (Pay-Per-Click).
Ultimately, if you want to show up at the very top of SERP you could buy ads from Google. Google has been improving their sales and customer support to DYI your own online ad campaigns. I recommend starting buy visiting the Google Ads homepage. Use their Chat function or call an ad specialist at 1-855-738-7717.
Google helps make it easier for you to connect customers searching for your products or services. They work within your budget and goals to tailor a campaign that makes sense for your business.
Google Ads Tutorial “Step-by-step” Video.
In conclusion to rank for Local “Near Me” search results these are the steps to take.
- Start a Google My Business Listing.
- If you have one already make sure it’s optimized.
- Work on keywords and add location.
- Ask for Google Reviews.
- Write content related to your business.