Behold, the “near me” search trend. You’ve probably seen examples of a “near me” inquiry pop up as a suggested search while typing in your own query into Google. Whether you’re looking for a pizza shop or plumber, you have likely run into the “near me” search results. Here are some examples of this trend for different types of services:
Where Did the “Near Me” Trend Come From?
The “near me” search trend is one of the most relevant SEO trends of 2019. The trend stems primarily from two significant changes in how people search the web:
- Increased availability of voice search technology, in both household gadgets and cell phones
- A psychological shift in search in general, likely perpetrated by the amenities of the aforementioned technologies
These days, nearly every marketer is optimizing local services for “near me.” If you aren’t, you could be missing out on significant opportunities for web traffic.
“Near me” dramatically alters the way people have searched for local services for many years. Instead of identifying the specific location in which they need to find a service, web browsers are now dropping the location modification from searches completely. This trend is also evident in Google Trends.
Take a look at these historical searches conducted in New York:
Now of course, the “New York” modification makes rivalry with simply “lawyer” impossible; but, is still worth considering that the spike in “lawyer” takes place at about the same time as when the “near me” trend takes off, reinforcing the declining interest consumers have in using geo-modification for searches. “New York lawyer” tapers off at about the same time.
To put it visually:
You can clearly see the sudden decline in the interest of this keyword in the chart above. We can deduct that it didn’t happen because people suddenly stopped needing legal services in New York.
How Can We Take Advantage of the “Near Me” Trend?
At this point, it might be obvious that you need to get on board with the “near me” trend when it comes to optimizing your website. Ideally, you’d optimize content for local services for non-geographical searches. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available to help you create a cohesive search campaign using Google maps that can carry over to your website, as well. Obviously, showing up on maps would suffice for a “near me” result, but we’re going to focus on the website for the optimization notes below.
Optimizing Your Website for “Near Me”
If you want a guide to setting yourself up for success locally using Google My Business, we have one just for that.
- Cohesion of NAP
There is no doubt that at this point, for Google and other search engines to paint a picture of your business location(s), the cohesion of Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) has to be consistent across the website. Directories, citations, and large aggregators are going to be the key to success here.
Consider a service like Yext, except not one that limits you to just 100 or so websites and ties you to a hefty annual fee – indefinitely — or else reverts all your listings. You can either:
- Find a consultant to create your listings, or
- Conduct your own arduous journey of painstakingly adding your business to thousands of general business directories and citations, and then adding it to the hundreds of directories and citations in your own niche.
Either way you choose to do it, it’s an extremely important step. Once the work is put in, it is often set for life unless you move to another location or need to open a new one. We have some more insight about assisting with your NAP here as well.
- Backlinks with a variety of anchor text
Backlink portfolios, much like financial portfolios, tend to work best when diversified. While people have likely taken big strides in the past to acquire links with anchor text which includes a city and service, in this case, it might be more prudent to make sure that the amount of incoming links that do not feature the location is steadier than it has been in the past.
- Backlinks from local websites
In our experience with the recent algorithm updates, it seems that anything that seems to align with logic can certainly be a criterion to meet. We’re going to go out on a limb here and say that Google understands the fact that, if a website gets a link from another website that is proximate in their business operations, that would be considered a “local link” which can boost the local aspect of authoritativeness. Consider striving for gaining more local links from a local chamber of commerce, other businesses, charities and non-profits, sponsoring events, and other avenues.
- Mobile optimization
It’s 2019 and it should go without saying, but mobile optimization is one of the most important considerations for local search. Consider this: a significant portion of voice searches that utilize “near me” are conducted on today’s mobile devices.
- Transparency of the business location on the website
One last tidbit we can offer to help you prepare for local queries and all “near me” searches is making the address(es) of your locations apparent and crawlable. Be sure that your address is featured prominently throughout your site, including in the:
- Contact page
Any schema information relevant to your business is crucial to help solidify all information Google can use to pinpoint you as a reliable source of information for your set of keywords. Google recently launched “Speakable,” a program which identifies sections within a webpage that are best-suited for audio playback using text-to-speech (TTS). When you add a markup, it allows Google and other apps to identify content to read aloud on a Google Assistant-enabled device.
The more information you have about your business that is easily crawlable, the more prepared you will be for “near me” searches.
Ready to Tackle 2019’s Search Trends?
With a spike in the use of voice search, it’s crucial to attract clients who are relying on voice search to find businesses like yours. Market My Market can help you stay ahead of search trends and drive more traffic to your website. Our dedicated team of SEO experts uses a variety of resources to help our clients stay on top of their game and reach as many people as possible through their marketing campaigns.
When you’re ready to upgrade your marketing, contact us for a free consultation.