Nov. 7 2019

What is local SEO?

Leverage “near me” searches to reach the right audience

Searches containing the phrase “near me” are more prevalent than ever. Over the last two years, consumers have come to expect to easily find what they want or need in their area by conducting a simple search engine query. Mobile searches for local services, in particular, will only continue to rise. By 2021, mobile devices are expected to influence $1.4 trillion in local sales.

Take a look at just how much “near me” searches have grown in the last two years:

  • “Near me now” – 150%.
    • pizza near me now 
  • “Now” + “near me” – 200%. Audiences are increasingly searching what is open, available or happening near them, and now.
    •  hardware store open near me now. 
  • “buy” + “near me” – 500%. The significant rise of searches displaying an intent to purchase “near me” makes it all the more reason to take a closer look at your local SEO.
    • Where can I buy guitar parts near me 
  • “Near me tonight/today” – 900%. There has been almost unimaginable growth in the number of people who lean on SEO to inform them of what they should do this weekend.
    • live music near me tonight.

Local SEO

How do I get local search results?

Optimizing your website for “near me” searches is crucial to increasing local search presence. A website gives your business the opportunity to target virtually anywhere in the world. But if your target audience is physically located in or near the city where your business resides, you’ll need to practice at least some local SEO. You may be asking yourself, “How do I get in on this?” Glad you asked! Here are some ways to get started:

1. Get listed on Google My Business

As we’ve mentioned in previous SEO articles, Google My Business is an essential tool in your SEO kit (and it’s free!). In order to get your business to the top of “near me” searches, you need to rank your business on local business results pages. Simply open an account on Google My Business, click “Start now,” and follow the instructions to add your business on Google local.

2. Use proper schema markup.

While it may sound like a medical condition, Schema markup is actually a great way to make your business stand out from competitors in local search results. Simply put, schema data helps search engines acquire more information related to your business. It then presents the information in the form of rich snippets, which are immensely helpful to users.

SEO Local Schema

How does schema markup do this? It tells the search engines what the content means. For example, let’s say the term “Web Design” appears within an article. The search engine sees this, and produces an entry for “Web Design.” However, if you put the right schema markup around the term “Web Design,” the search engine will know this is in reference to a business. The search engine then provides results that display more relevant information to the user who searched for “Web Design.”

Schema markup helps your website rank better for many types of content. There is data markup for:

  • Articles
  • Local businesses
  • Restaurants
  • TV episodes and ratings
  • Book reviews
  • Movies
  • Software applications
  • Events
  • Products

3. Acquire backlinks with geographic anchor text.

Backlinks, in general, are one of the many ways to improve your rankings on Google. But increasing rank for “near me” searches requires high authority/relevant backlinks with geographically-rich anchor text.

Let’s say you are an automotive shop in Chicago. Each of the following variants includes the category (automotive shop) and location (Chicago) to create location-rich anchor text.

“best automotive shop in Chicago”

“Auto shop Chicago” 

“Chicago auto shop Fullerton Ave” 

“automotive shop in Chicago”

4. Create pages targeting every location of your business. And optimize them.

If your business serves significantly different geographic areas, having just one web page is not going to do much for “near me” searches. For example, you are a real estate agency with offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, Boston, and Austin. You would want to create five dedicated web pages for each city to capitalize on local SEO.

Now it’s time to optimize those pages for “near me” searches using the following tactics:

  • User-friendly URL structure. Make readability and user convenience a priority when it comes to URLs. In our Chicago automotive service example, an ideal page name might be  “https://myautoshopwebsite.com/chicago/automotive-services/”
  • Optimize the title and meta tags for your target keyword. 
  • Tag your images. Provide an image of your auto shop and use location keywords in the alt and title tags of the image.
  • Add a suitable website description. Include items such as store hours, services, store directions, and other amenities offered.
  • Include a video and add transcription. Videos can do wonders. But adding transcription will put your web page over the top by increasing relevance with respect to the specific location your business serves.

5. Make your site mobile-friendly.

Google prefers to return searches with sites that offer the best experience to the user. Making your site mobile-friendly and improving overall site speed will greatly improve user experience. Check out these tips to see if your website is mobile-friendly.

6. Content will boost your Local SEO.

Publishing regular content, specifically in the form of a blog, is one of the best ways to acquire local links. By writing and sharing articles about your industry or service, you become a local authority. And it doesn’t go with note that users turn to blogs in the “I want to know” phase of the buying process. Maintaining a blog will help your business capture those consumers. Additionally, subscribers will remain updated on services or products until they reach their buying time frame.

We have covered six different ways to optimize your website for local searches. It may seem like a lot, but keep in mind, Local SEO is a project never to be considered complete. With continuous refinement, the more relevant you’ll find your website becomes in organic search. If you’d like to start getting in front of that seemingly elusive audience, we’re here to help.


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