How to Optimize for “Near Me” Searches: A Holistic Approach

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When someone is looking for a local service, somewhere to eat, or maybe just something to do in the area, they often use the search modifier “near me.” This indicates to Google that the user is looking for something well… near them. As internet users, we have become accustomed to using Google to find our plumbers, dinners, parks, gyms, and other locations. 

If you are a business that relies heavily on local customers, optimizing your online presence for near-me searches is essential for maximizing your ability to reach new customers. According to Google, from 2015 to 2017 alone, there was a 500% increase in near-me searches. Additionally, the use of these near-me searches has expanded beyond just finding locations:

“Near me” is no longer just about finding a specific place. It’s now about finding a particular thing, in a specific area, and in a specific period of time.

-Lisa Gevelber, VP of Marketing for the Americas at Google

As people continue to use Google as their go-to way of finding whatever they are looking for in their area, adding a holistic approach to near-me optimization will significantly benefit your marketing efforts. In this blog, we will review some crucial steps to ensure you can be found locally online. 

The holistic approach

Properly optimizing for near-me search extends beyond adding your address and a few location keywords to your website. To truly compete with larger companies in the area, you have to establish yourself in the area you are optimizing for.

All of your marketing efforts should align to push your business into the categories you’re breaking into; optimizing your Google profile, making sure your social media is optimized for location, and maximizing your overall digital presence are all parts of creating the ideal local strategy.  

Google and Apple business listings

Step one to optimizing for local search is ensuring Google knows who you are and what you do. The best way to do this is by building out a Google Business Profiles (GBP) profile. We’ve talked about these profiles in many of our previous blogs, but here are some of the main aspects of why a GBP profile is important.  

How Google Business works

Google Business integrates various Google services like Maps and Search to form a comprehensive business directory, helping users find local businesses offering the products or services they need. By combining Google Places for Business and the Google+ Pages Dashboard, Google Business Profiles (GBP) centralize everything a small or medium-sized business needs in one place.

Setting up a GBP is free and open to any business, including those without a physical storefront, as long as they make in-person contact with customers.

Utilizing Google Business posts


Google Business posts allow you to share updates, promotions, and events directly on your Google Business Profile, which appears in Google Search and Maps. They increase visibility, attract more attention to your profile, and encourage interaction with your business. Regularly updating your profile with posts signals to Google that your business is active can improve your local search rankings.

To make the most of Google Business Posts, be consistent in your posting schedule, include clear calls to action to encourage specific user actions, use high-quality images to make your posts more appealing, and share content directly relevant to your audience and business offerings. Leveraging Google Business Posts helps enhance your local search presence and build a stronger connection with your community.

Getting you in the 3-pack

Part of the strategy in using GBP is to get a spot in the 3-pack. Securing a spot in Google’s local 3-pack, the prominent block of three local business results is crucial for local visibility. Google considers three main factors for 3-pack placement. 

Relevance: Ensure your business profile is thoroughly and accurately filled out to match relevant searches.
Distance: Proximity to the searcher is key; the closer your business is, the higher your ranking.
Prominence: Boost your prominence through SEO efforts, accumulating positive reviews, and earning brand mentions and backlinks.

Optimizing your Google Business Profile (GBP) significantly impacts your chances of appearing in the 3-Pack, but it should be part of a broader SEO strategy.

Make sure your schema markup is correct

Another step in optimizing for local search is ensuring your schema markup is correct. This is another way for Google to know who you are and what you do. But what is a local business schema?

Local business schema is a kind of structured data markup code that can be added to your business’ website to make it easier for search engines to identify what type of organization you are and the products or services you provide.” 

This structured data helps search engines understand the content on your website and provide more informative results for users. For local SEO, schema markup can give search engines specific details about your business, such as your address, phone number, business hours, and more, enhancing your visibility in local searches.

Social media integration

Ensuring your social profiles align with your local search efforts is more relevant than ever. Google’s search algorithm continuously adapts to ensure users receive the most pertinent and valuable content. Lately, Google has prioritized user experience and high-quality content, elevating the role of social media engagement within the SEO framework. 

As social media becomes a more relevant form of search for younger users, Google is using it to determine the overall relevance of a search result. According to Semrsuh, Google does use social media (and social signals) to try to improve the overall quality of its search results.

Building a strong social media presence takes time and effort, but there are a few steps you can take to quickly ensure your social media posts are optimized for your area.

Including location in bios: Ensure that your business’s location is prominently displayed in the bios of your social media profiles. This will help potential customers see where you are located at a glance, increasing your visibility in local searches.

Tagging locations in posts: Whenever you post content on social media, tag your business’s location. This helps to associate your posts with your physical location, making them more likely to appear in location-based searches and increasing your reach to local audiences.

Using local hashtags: Incorporate local hashtags relevant to your area in your social media posts. These hashtags can help make your posts discoverable by users searching for or following those specific tags, enhancing your visibility among local customers and in local search results.

Building backlinks and earning press

Another element of building your local presence online is having relevant backlinks and mentions that point users and the Google algorithm to your location. Finding high-quality, relevant backlinks is one way to do this.

Backlinks are an important part of SEO because they help Google and other crawlers determine your site’s domain authority. Getting backlinks with anchor text that mentions your location, address, opening hours, etc., is a great way to make yourself more relevant in near-me searches. 

Additionally, getting featured in blogs or articles organically can really help out with near-me searches. For example, if a food critic writes a blog on your restaurant and links to your site, it can help boost your overall presence for those “near me” searches.

Building a strong digital presence

Your entire digital presence matters! If you want Google to recognize you as the best option for a near-me search, combining all your digital marketing efforts to optimize for local search will make all the difference.

Regularly uploading content, keeping an updated Google Business profile, creating videos about your location, showcasing your business through social posts, and writing blogs about your area are all effective methods of boosting your local authority and ability to rank in “near me” searches. 

SEO should be handled with a holistic approach.

Whatever your goals are, it is important to represent your business as best you can on all relevant digital fronts. Being proactive and providing users with relevant content about your business will greatly enhance your local SEO efforts.

Ultimately, a well-rounded local SEO strategy improves your chances of being found by potential customers and establishes your business as a credible and authoritative source in your community. By taking these steps, you can ensure that your business thrives in the local search landscape and continues to attract new customers.

Reach out

We are here to assist if you need help with your local SEO strategy. Our team will ensure that your business is represented on all fronts, from optimizing your Google Business profile and refining your schema markup to enhancing your social media presence and building high-quality backlinks. We’ll ensure your digital presence is comprehensive and effective, helping you connect with more local customers and achieve your business goals. Contact us today. 

Author avatar
James Taylor
James is a marketer, writer, and branding enthusiast. He is a Cal Poly Pomona Alum who has a passion for helping others grow their business. In his free time he loves to relax with a nice book and a campfire.
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