Origins of “Near Me” Searches for Local SEO
In early January of 2017, Dan Leibson of Local SEO Guide put together a paradigm-shifting piece called “Near Me” Local SEO Ranking Factors.
In his article, Leibson highlighted the upward trend in “near me” search queries. He pointed out specific examples of this profound trend like “restaurants near me,” “banks near me,” and other locally-specific queries.
Based on my own brief analysis on Google Trends, the popularity of “near me” queries as increased over 300% in the last 2 years.
But beyond movie times, restaurants, gas stations, and banks, in today’s world of search where mobile is dominant, “near me” is now relevant for just about any local query. From Botox to Yoga studios, the application of “near me SEO” can be worth experimenting with.
Here at Captivate Local, we tested some basic implementation of “near me” on a few different local businesses that we work with. The amount of work invested in this test took less than an hour and the results were profound.
Testing “Near Me” Optimization for Local SEO
Applying “near me” optimization on a website is a little weird. But as unusual as it may seem, it’s worth it.
Below I take you through the process of how I implemented “near me SEO” as well as a quick case study discussing the outcome. I apologize in advance for not having tangible before and after screen shots and the like. Having conducted this work about a thousand miles away from where the local business is actually located, any “near me” searches would be irrelevant.
The Business Being Tested
Our team first tried the experiment on a laser skin care center based in Atlanta that specializes in services like laser liposuction, miraDry, Botox, HyrdaFacial, and other related skin procedures.
Because the clinic ranked on page two for “Botox Atlanta” and “Botox near me” we started there.
After about 20 minutes of keyword research and SERP analysis, I implemented very subtle changes to the Botox page’s title, meta description, and a couple on-page elements (which I explain in greater detail below.) The actual implementation took maybe 30 minutes, but that’s beside the point.
Just 4 days after implementing these changes, the clinic was shown in the local pack for “Botox near me,” in addition to ranking in top 3 organically. In short, the results were profound, so we implemented the same modifications across several other pages on the site.
The Simple Approach to “Near Me” SEO
Again, this approach is a little weird. If you’re doing SEO for a very high profile client, then you may want to consult them before make such changes to their site. But if they’re already struggling to attain top rankings, the oddities of writing in first-person should be justifiable.
The first element I changed on the Botox page was the title. There’s really no art and science to this. I used a pretty simple structure like:
“Botox Atlanta | Get Botox Injections Near Me at …”
That’s an abbreviated version of the title, but you get the picture. You can try phrasing like “Find (product/service) Near Me in (city)” or other creative wording.
In the meta description, I used similar format like I suggested above. It went a little something like this:
“Seeking Botox near me in Atlanta? Get Botox injections from…..”
As you can see, this is pretty simple stuff. A little strange, but very simple.
I tried to include “near me” at least once in the page copy. In doing so, I opted to add a couple new sentences near the bottom of the page, so it was less likely to be seen by actual users. The sentences read something like:
“There’s a reason why individuals seeking ‘Botox near me’ in Atlanta choose us. We use only Allergan Botox injections that are professionally administered by our trained staff.”
Lastly, I added “near me” in one of the page’s image ALT tags. Nothing too keyword stuffy. Just posing the question “Looking for Botox near me?” and keeping the usability side of things mostly legit.
Last Word on Near Me
The application of “near me SEO” is no doubt a strange endeavor. Some may argue that implementing such changes interrupts usability. And while I do agree that such modifications may not be the most user-friendly, the expense is relatively minor given the potential rewards.
The fact of the matter is, implementing some degree of “near me” into your local SEO efforts works. And it works well, even in competitive marketplaces.
Have you dabbled in “near me SEO” on any business sites that you work with? I would be curious to know your results.