Ranking for ‘Near Me’ Phrases

In this era of smart phones and handheld voice searches, more and more people searching for local businesses and services on their phones. In a post from Linda Buquet, a prominent Google local search specialist, said, “Google stated that seaches including ‘near me’ have increased 34X since 2011.” With that large of an increase you may be asking yourself “how do I get my information in front of these customers?” Colleen Harris and Natalie Kach did an experiment by adding ‘near me’ phrases to 82 dealership websites, to see if they could get an answer to this question. The results were interesting.

Here is a list of the four things they found. The dealership sites the had the ‘near me’ phrases had:

1.  Increased impressions

2. Double the click-throughs

3. Urban/metro searched more than rural

4. Less franchise, more general searches

In their blog post they go into more detail about these four points. I am not going to go into these in this post, but feel free to check it out yourself. To give you an idea though, basically they found the locations did get more impressions(showed up more in searches), Had a much better click-through rate, more searches done in urban areas, when compared to rural, and more general (oil changes, car repair) searches rather than searching for the actual dealership. These things all seem great, but before you go through your site adding ‘near me’ and ‘nearby’ all over, consider the following things.

1. Does this affect the usability of my content?

When writing content on your site you want to make it engaging and useful to your audience. If you add ‘near me’ phrases throughout and it doesn’t sound natural it could lead to lost business. Imagine being one of your potential customers and you search for a service and click on a site that showed up first in searches, but when you get there the content is awkward and oddly worded. So you leave and try a different link. You may get more clicks from doing this, but clicks do not necessarily turn into conversions.

2.  Google is constantly upgrading their algorithm

A common saying among SEO’s is “The only thing constant in Google is change.” Google is always finding ways to ensure the best, most relevant content is showing up for searches. Don’t use this to try to trick the system, because later it could come back to bite you.

3.  Is your time better spent on other things?

While doing tricks like these may boost your numbers, it may not be the best use of your time, or if you are paying someone to do it, your money. The best thing to do is focus on the basics. Make sure you are doing the things that are tried and true that you know will bring results.

Eric Rohrback said it very well in his forum post, “Do the basics, optimize for the target terms, and if there are a few “near me” searches you really want make sure you have a good local landing page:

  • contact info (with schema markup – it helps)
  • hours of operation
  • embedded Google maps (because people can sign in and get driving/walking directions from their phone)
  • Phone number at top of page/in good location
  • links to relevant review sites (since that could sway people to visit)

Basically… make the page relevant and usable. If it has all the right info, you’ll be able to drive business.”

Stick to the basics, and get results.