Does Optimizing for “Near Me” Work?
We asked this question at a LocalU Advanced event: “Does adding instances of “near me” terms onto a website increase its ranking for “near me” keywords”. The vote was very divided with 44% of people saying no and 56% of people saying yes.
We have done a ton of testing on optimizing for “near me” terms (ex: “plumber near me”) and have found that adding instances of “near you,” “nearby” and “near me” to the content of a page (including meta tags) does have a positive impact on ranking. Here is an example of a client’s homepage traffic for near me terms after we added some instances of “near me” terms to the page.
Here is a ranking tracker for another client of ours that we did this for.
We have found this optimization has a much more drastic positive impact on organic ranking and traffic for “near me” terms than it does for local ranking and traffic from the 3-pack.
We also see, contrary to popular belief, that the majority of near me searches are happening on desktop (not mobile).
While a lot of small businesses have yet to pick up on this strategy, a lot of the major local directory sites are doing a solid job of implementing it.
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This Post Has 18 Comments
Joy, I look forward to your weekly newsletter and enjoy reading your articles. Thank you for your dedication, hard work, and love for our industry.
Thanks Carlos 🙂 My pleasure!
Great advice Joy!
I am trying this today. Will let you know how it goes.
We’ve been doing this for years. It works best for organic rankings if you include city names as well. Not so sure about the GMB rankings though – mixed results. However, I believe it decreases the click through rates. In testing Google Search Ad headlines, adding “Plumber Near Me” (or …You”) to a headline has a significantly lower CTR than a headline like “Plumber Richmond VA”, even if “Richmond” is elsewhere in the ad.
What if you make the title tag long enough that it is hidden in search results, but picked up the the search engine?
I’m a huge fan of long title tags so that can definitely work if you’re running out of room.
Love it Joy. Thank you.
Great 🙂 Thanks for the insights, Joy! Will definitely try it. Your articles are short and crisp.
So did it work for you, ujesh?
Thanks Joy! I will experiment with this and track near me searches in Moz Pro. Interesting to know that the directories use it and that’s whey they rank so well for those searches!
Hey Joy, thanks for sharing this post. I was about to start a “near me” seo optimisation campaign and I was uncertain whether or not to go with it given the efforts necessary. I am glad that it worked for you.
Hi Joy, great article, it has been a suspicion of mine for some time now. We are in Australia and I know that the “near me” modifier has been popular in search in the US for a number years. Now it is turning up in Google’s auto suggest a lot more, so people are getting educated to the idea of that type of search phrase – so it may be time to do some experimenting to see what comes of it.
Thanks for putting your research out there – very generous of you. : )
Hi Joy, thanks for sharing these inasights for near by terms. Now, that i know, it works. I am gonna apply these techniques on our travel website. Let’s see hoe it goes.
Vipin, did it work for you? though it will take some ingenuity to put these inside content.
Interesting read, I always use this phrase when doing adwords for local service based businesses.
Thanks for sharing your research and metrics.
Great advice Joy!
I’m gonna try this too…
How is this working in 2023? Seems like the business directories have not been penalized for using Near Me. Are individual service websites still having success with this ?
It definitely still works. We’ll actually be updating this article soon with some recent case studies.