Andrew Shotland  |  11/04/2017

How to rank your business in Google "Near Me"

In this post, Mono Solutions has invited the CEO & Founder of Local SEO Guide - Andrew Shotland, to discuss how "near me" search is affecting the Google rankings of small businesses and highlight what you can do to help your SMB customers succeed in optimizing their online presence for "near me" searches.

Part of every SEO’s job is to keep track of how search engines and searchers’ behavior change over time and to spot opportunities to get their clients more customers out of search as it evolves. This is especially important for digital resellers that build websites for SMB clients, whose entire digital existance relies on good SEO. Today I’d like to talk about a relatively new opportunity for local marketers -“near me” searches.

Check out how “near me” queries have grown over the past two years according to Google Trends. (See image 1 in gallery)

Not only has “near me” risen as a whole, but specific “near me” searches have also skyrocketed. (See image 2 in gallery)

This is a result of Google, and Apple’s Spotlight Search to some extent, increasing the number of queries that suggest “near me” as an option as search goes more mobile (and thus more local in intent). And fat fingers being what they are, we hit the first suggestion near us.

(See image 3 in gallery)

If you aren’t already optimizing for these “near me” searches, you should really start now. Now, that being said, the problem is: “How do you optimize for near me searches?”In 2016, we conducted the first ever statistical study of of Google’s Local SEO Ranking Factors by looking at over 35,000 businesses and 100+ factors. So we added “near me” to our existing data and ran the numbers.

We looked at some of the most popular “near me” queries, including:

  • Dentist near me
  • Grocery store near me
  • Gas station near me
  • Hair salons near me
  • Movie theater near me
  • Restaurants near me

All totaled, we look at ~600 searches, which included ~6,000 Google My Business (GMB) pages, as well as the corresponding domains/pages that the GMB pages linked to. The data showed the following factors had the strongest positive correlations with ranking well in Google’s local pack for “near me” searches:

  • Google Reviews
  • Total number of backlinks with searched city and state in the anchor text
  • Percent of backlinks with searched city and state in the anchor text

In our Local SEO Ranking Factors study, link metrics also were some of the strongest indicators of good rankings, so it’s not surprising that they also matter for “near me” queries. In fact, TripAdvisor’s aggressive use of “near me” in internal link anchor text may be one of the reasons those URLs rank so well for “near me” queries: (See image 4 in gallery)

So, what can you do to take advantage of “near me” today? Based on our study and our experience working on large and small locally-targeted sites around the world:

  1. Add "near me" to the title tags of your location pages
  2. Add "near me" and popular keyword variants to the text of these pages
  3. Add "near me" to the anchor text of the internal links to these pages, particularly on your store locator pages if you are a multi-location brand
  4. Get backlinks to your location pages with geo-specific anchor text

And once you get the basics down, start thinking about how to go after similar targets. For example, “nearest me” queries are also growing:  (see image 5 in gallery)

For more detail on the methodology of our “near me” study, go to Near Me Local SEO Ranking Factors on our blog.

About Andrew Shotland

A guest contributor - Andrew Shotland is the CEO of Local SEO Guide, an SEO consulting company offering multi-location Local SEO Services.


About Mono Solutions

Mono Solutions, part of Ten Oaks Group, delivers the ultimate white label website builder platform and suite of digital products for businesses that sell and build websites at scale. Mono empowers digital service providers with a true do-it-with-me (DIWM) approach to deliver real value to their SMB clients. Get a demo