Why “Near Me” Searches Rarely Work For SEO
Sure, your business needs to show up for your neighbors, but is that the best way to show up in Google search?
So many business owners we talk to have this overwhelming urge to seek out SEO ranking for “near me” searches. For instance, an HVAC repair company may want to show up in the top ten Google results for something like “air conditioning repair near me”. But how effective are “near me” searches?
What is a “near me” search?
A “near me” search is when someone is looking for a specific product or service they know you offer. A shopper goes to a local retailer or service, runs into the owner, and says, “I’m in the market for a new air conditioning unit. What’s out there?” The store owner searches Google for the same term and shows up at the top of the results. How do you show up as a top search result? Since you won’t get the first “near me” results, you need to consider what others are ranking for this term. It’s probably not the exact same brand name. Make sure your website or sales copy is not competitive and should not try to trick a searcher into searching this term on your behalf.
The fact of the matter is though that while “near me” searches have surged in popularity over the last five years or so, since 2020, people searching for things have gotten much more specific in their queries. In other words, someone looking for a place to hike in Golden, Colorado may not simply search for “hiking near me” but rather something like, “places to hike with teenagers in Golden, CO”.
Why should I care about “near me” searches?
One of the leading reasons that businesses still want to show up for these “near me” searches is because Google loves businesses with physical locations because the overwhelming majority of people searching for a product or service they can’t order online, want to find that product or service. within five miles of their home. This means that business is IN their community and as such, there is a certain amount of trust that is more easily gained by someone close by.
Near me SEO. The basics
Search volume – A local business needs to have a large enough volume of searches to rank for the local keywords. This means that the business needs to rank for enough other terms to make up for the keywords that don’t show up in the results.
Search quality – This means the phrase or words being searched for need to be ‘good’ or ‘great’ for a local search. This means the phrase or words being searched for need to be ‘good’ or ‘great’ for a local search.
What is the impact of “near me” searches on my business?
“Near me” searches aren’t as effective as you may think. I’ve previously written about the “narrow view” SEO, and why this is a good strategy for some things. But “near me” searches are typically limited to Google, which means they can’t filter out a lot of other search results (not to mention user-generated content). As a result, it’s hard to expect you’ll get a lot of traffic from “near me” searches, no matter how high you rank. But it’s worth understanding what they are in case you want to help your business. Because, while “near me” searches certainly are far from worthless, keywords more specific to your business or products are going to be far more effective.
THE BOTTOM LINE
We need to separate the importance of keyword density and relevance versus the ranking factors of search engines. If you’re ranking for the keyword “air conditioning repair near me” in Google, your business isn’t the 1st result. The competition has that “air conditioning repair near me” search ranking and has been there for years. If you look at keyword density and ranking relevance, you see that other businesses are “near me” searches with higher search volumes. You might be able to out-rank them in keyword density, but only if you do a really good job with the SEO copy. If you’re “near me” searches aren’t relevant to your business, then you’ll never beat them with search rankings. By understanding these factors, you can build a very targeted plan of attack.