On-page SEO Trend: The ‘Near Me’ Keyword

SEO

Trends. Love them or hate them, they define the world of digital marketing. While trends keep the digital space ever-changing and exciting, new trends also mean that marketers like you & me need to stay on our toes and respond whenever a new one surfaces. That’s why today I’m here to share a bit more about a trend I’ve been observing in on-page (or content) SEO: the ‘Near Me’ keyword.

The ‘near me’ keyword isn’t an entirely new concept to Google. Heck, it has been around for years. However, with proximity targeting and more geo-specific search queries dominating the search engine, ‘near me’ keywords are getting more and more critical for SEO. In fact, Digital Agency Network (DAN) reported a whopping 150% increase in “near me” searches from 2019 to 2020.

Will we observe another boost this year? Well, it’s still a little too early in the year to get those statistics. Nevertheless, keeping up with trends is the key to succeeding in the digital space.

(Plus, if you’re not optimising your website for local SEO, you’re missing out on tons of opportunities – DAN highlighted at least 46% of Google searches!)

Here’s what you need to know about the ‘near me’ keyword…

What is a ‘Near Me’ Keyword?

'near me' keyword helps you rank on google maps

Picture this: you are out of cash and need to withdraw some from an ATM machine because your favourite coffee joint’s digital payment systems have crashed.

Instead of hunting for hours and keeping your eyes peeled for an ATM, you can now use Google and simply search for “ATM near me” to find out where the nearest machines are.

I don’t know about you, but this feature has made my life so much easier.

“Near me” searches have become increasingly important in the last few years. If you want to rank for local search, ranking on “near me” searches is tantamount.

Search queries using ‘near me’ framework helps a business rank for location-specific search queries based on geographical location. Furthermore, it gives prospects your exact location by enabling your business to rank better on Google Maps.

Suppose your pancake cafe is located in Tanjong Pagar. A user who searches for queries like “cafe near me” or “pancakes near me” might stumble upon your eatery if he is situated around the CBD and your website is well-optimised for local SEO.

Cool Statistics

Interestingly, Chat Meter has plenty of interesting stats about how such keywords help your business. Here are 5 of them:

  • Want to drive more traffic to your store? As many as 50% of search results end up with a physical visit to a store
  • 74% of in-store shoppers will head to Google to look for closest store, hours and directions before heading out to shop
  • Roughly two-thirds of consumers are willing to go into a brick and mortar store if they find what they’re looking for on Google

The Issue with ‘Near Me’ Keywords

'near me' keyword important to rank

There’s a saying that goes “Nothing in life ever comes in easy”. It refers to the idea that accomplishments require effort. If you want something, you need to work for it. Likewise in SEO, ranking high on Google SERPs isn’t a walk in the park.

Weaving in ‘near me’ keywords might help your website rank on Google, but there are some challenges that could get in the way.

1. Awkward Phrasing

When you’re writing from a perspective of a business, it might be little weird to suddenly refer to yourself with singular first-person pronouns.

Here’s what I mean:

We’ve got the best wireless ear buds for athletes. Jam to your favourite tunes as you work up a sweat.

Find our physical store near Bishan MRT. A wireless experience awaits for you and me.

See how weird it sounds when I switch between plural first-person pronouns and singular first-person pronouns?

2. Tight Competition

Yup, you guessed it. Since location has been an optimal ranking factor, people have already been riding the ‘near me’ trend.

In terms of competition, there are probably plenty of them.

2 Tips to Include ‘Near Me’ in Your Content

how to rank for 'near me' keyword

And yet, all hope is not lost. The ‘near me’ keyword might be tough to incorporate into your content and competing with other websites might seem like an uphill battle, but that’s not to say that you should neglect the keyword entirely.

Like I mentioned before, there might be obstacles, but there are still an abundance of ranking and prospecting opportunities simply by optimising your website for local SEO and ‘near me’ keywords.

Here are 2 quick tips:

1. Unnecessary to Include Exact Match

It’s natural for a user to search for “pancake near me” instead of “pancake near you”. Regardless, Local Visibility System points out that Google still gets the idea even if you leave the “me” out or use synonyms like “nearby”.

However, if you want to be on the safe side, go ahead and weave in the exact keyword into your content. After all, the debate over exact-match keywords is still ongoing.

2. Include Strategic Locations

The location of a searcher changes from day to day or minute to minute, because the results that Google and other search engines (or apps) are based largely on knowing exactly where the searcher is.

Instead of focusing a specific location, use a mix of road names, public transportation sites, shopping centres and business buildings.

For the pancake cafe example I gave earlier, you could use ‘near me’ keywords that include sites like:

  • Tanjong Pagar MRT
  • Telok Ayer MRT
  • Raffles Place MRT
  • Robinson Road
  • Cecil Street
  • 120 Robinson Road (that’s where we are!)

Your job is to show Google (and therefore, a prospect) exactly where you are.

Try using keyword tools to view which location gets the most search volume.

Get Nearer to Position #1

(See what I did there?)

SEO isn’t just about getting to the first page. If you want those leads, you need to get to position #1.

Ranking on Google in 2021 is all about having an optimised Google My Business Profile along with valuable and expert content based on the E-A-T framework.

With the ever-increasing importance of local search, ranking for “near me” searches is a necessity. If you haven’t already started optimising your website for local SEO, don’t wait!