How Do You Appear in ‘Near Me’ Searches?

When your pipes have burst and you’re in desperate need of an emergency plumber, you’re probably going to lay down your local search term as quickly as possible. One possible format is a ‘near me’ search. 

As search engines improve how they use location data, users are increasingly relying on technology to figure out where they are and where they need to be. In fact, one study estimates ‘near me’ searches have increased a staggering 500% in recent years.

It’s safe to say, appearing in ‘near me’ searches is more important now than ever. In this blog post, we explore the technical implications of a ‘near me’ search term and explain how to appear at the top of ‘near me’ search results.

What are ‘Near Me’ Searches?

Did you know over 28% of ‘near me’ searches result in a purchase? ‘Near me’ searches have an elevated purchase intent over more generic search terms. Capturing such ready-to-buy traffic is therefore a huge win for your business, with the potential to generate new customers and premium leads.

What are the ‘Near Me’ Ranking Factors?

To make the most of ‘near me’ searches, you need to rank at the top of your local listings. Google uses three main factors to determine where you appear in their search results. 

near me ranking factors

1. Relevance

If someone is looking for a decorator and you sell handmade cards, you shouldn’t be coming up in their search results because your business isn’t relevant to their needs. Your website should be a good match for a searcher’s keywords.

2. Distance

Google uses three main factors to determine the proximity of your business to the user’s location: your location on Google maps, the keyword targeting on your website, and the address on your website and across citations. The proximity of your business needs to be close enough to the searcher for there to be a chance of it being useful. The further away you are, the lower you’ll rank.

3. Prominence/authority

Prominence and authority encompasses the amount of information available about your business online, how many Google reviews you have, how many sites link to yours and more. These all inform the authority of your website and Google Business profile in Google’s eyes, helping push you up the rankings.

How to Rank at the Top of ‘Near Me’ Searches

Optimise your Google Business Profile

Having a Google Business Profile is a gateway to getting found online. By packing it with information about your business and products, you’ll give yourself a great chance of getting noticed. 

As a starter, ensure your profile is up-to-date – that includes posting your opening hours, website URL and other information. You can then flesh it out with photos, reviews and even create content and add it to Google Posts.

Check Google Business Updates

Creating and regularly checking your Google Business Profile can massively improve your local SEO, as it allows you to update business information, such as opening hours, and respond to online reviews. 

An accurate, up-to-date Google Business Profile will rank higher in the local maps pack search results.

Get more Google Business reviews

Searchers pay attention to reviews, and so does Google. It likes to present them prominently and will reward you with a good local ranking if they are numerous and favourable. 

Gain reviews by encouraging customers to review you. Include a link on receipts, emails, chats or a QR code on your business card. 

Managing your reputation is a great way to build consumer trust, so try to reply to your reviews as they come in.

Optimised Google Business Profile


Target locally relevant keywords on your website

Show potential customers and Google that your business is the perfect match of local convenience and relevant products or services. 

The best way to do this is by choosing keywords appropriate to both your location and business type. Make sure you use them on your home page, service pages, in titles, bodies of text and images on webpages, and  URLs.

Include contact details on your websi

If you want your business to be found or contacted easily, make sure your contact details are listed on every page of your website and always in the same place – preferably at the top and bottom of each page.

Create local citations

Get your business listed in local directories, as this can increase the number of links directed at your website, which can boost your ranking.

Make sure the citations are in reliable directories relevant to your location and industry, and add the exact same details used in your Google Business Profile and on your website. 

directories, blogs and media website backlnks

Standardise NAP data

Accurate NAP data – business name, address and phone number – is vital when optimising for local searches and informs your ranking. But this won’t be the case if Google finds that your NAP data is listed inconsistently across the internet, so run a thorough check and standardise the way your data is displayed.

Create locally relevant content on your website

A good way to climb the rankings in ‘near me’ searches is to showcase a wealth of locally relevant content on your website. This content shows potential customers why they should be interested in your product. 

Content could include blogs, audio, video, event notifications or local awards.

Should I Add ‘Near Me’ in My Website Copy?

It is important to understand that ranking in a ‘near me’ search is dependent on the user’s location rather than ‘near me’ being a keyword you should include on your website.

In fact, it may make your content look weak and spammy. Google may drop the page’s ranking as a result. 

It’s also jarring for the reader. For instance, including the text ‘Are you looking for a “plumber near me”?’ is confusing and sounds unnatural.

How to Appear at the Top of ‘Near Me’ Searches: Final Thoughts

While proximity may well be the top ranking factor when it comes to ‘near me’ searches, you won’t get far without considering the tips above. These are all steps you can take yourself, or you can hire a company offering SEO services – either way, they will put you on a sound footing for a tilt at the top of those local listings.

Looking for even more SEO tips? Then why not check out our blog post, 13 Pragmatic SEO Tips for Local Businesses.

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