More threads by Jason


Jan 16, 2013
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I'm wondering how people are taking advantage of the influx in "near me" in local searches? Has anyone tried adding "near me" into the copy or anything like that? Thanks in advance for any ideas!

I don't think Google's looking at the on-site content for 'near me' keywords...I would think it's based solely on the address/geographic location of the business.

But it's worth a shot to try and see!
It's based on geography. Make sure citations are in order, and make sure you have a good mobile/responsive site (for local-organic) since a majority of "near me" searches are done on mobile.

How would you work "near me" naturally into on-page copy when you're referencing your own business? It would look weird, and potentially could lose business if done wrong. I wouldn't overthink it. Do the basics, optimize for the target terms, and if there are a few "near me" searches you really want make sure you have a good local landing page:

  • contact info (with schema markup - it helps)
  • hours of operation
  • embedded Google maps (because people can sign in and get driving/walking directions from their phone)
  • Phone number at top of page/in good location
  • links to relevant review sites (since that could sway people to visit)

Basically... make the page relevant and usable. If it has all the right info, you'll be able to drive business.
I actually just finished running a test on this (and should have it published in the next few weeks) comparing the impressions and click through when updating for this exact phrase.
I am very interested to learn more about this kind of searches.
if two businesses are pretty close to the person searching.. for example: business A at 2kms and business B at 4kms. But authority and citations for business B is far better than Business A - which would be ranking high and any idea on whats the powervalue for location vs authority comparison carries?

Well... it's not that simple. You also need to consider personalized search. Is the person searching on a mobile phone or their desktop? Proximity to the business matters, and device type will also lead to different results.

Let's say we're talking about two pizza shops across the street from each other (to put some substance behind this thread). I haven't visited either before, but pizza shop A mentions all the specialty pizzas on their website and pizza shop B has a menu that's an image instead of text or pdf. In my search history I've looked for specific types of pizza because some of my friends are vegetarian (so I need alternative options for them). Pizza shop B has more citations than pizza shop A.

Which one would show higher when I search for pizza shops nearby? There are so many factors to consider, I wouldn't get too held up on one part (citations). I would be more concerned about knocking out the top tier first, then checking monthly for inconsistencies. If you (or your client) hasn't moved locations/changed phone numbers in the past, then it's less likely you'll see inconsistencies. Make sure people have the right information to find & contact your business, and that will help Google find the correct information as well.
It's also worth putting old-school driving directions - especially with references to landmarks - on your "location" pages and "contact" page.
Eric - all great info, the only one you left out (and perhaps the most important one) is how many of their customers are talking about them on review/feedback sites. There is doing all the things you can do as an owner to influence your visibility, but getting others talking about you is likely the best thing you can do to influence "near me" results.
Keep in mind that "near me" searches also often trigger the new "Businesses nearby" ad pack that looks like a pack but is paid placement. So creates a little extra competition.

Of course now those paid packs are showing up without "near me" even added.

For anyone unfamiliar, here is a post from August.

<a href="">Google Testing 100% Pay-To-Play Nearby Local Business Ads At Top of SERPs</a>

Here is one of the screenshots from that post. Looks very much like a 3 pack but is a paid pack.


However now I don't think it's just a test any more and has rolled out much more broadly.

I just saw one yesterday and need to do more research, but may have a new discovery/post about it coming out tomorrow.

Anyway, hope that didn't throw this thread off track, but thought it was worth mentioning since we are talking about ranking for "near by" searches. That will also trigger that new pack.

I'm curious to hear Colleen's research on the topic.

I personally believe Eric's points and Phil's points work best. I also believe that those points will still be applicable in 3 years from now as they were 3 years ago.

I am also a big fan of PPC. It's a great channel to focus on. I'm with Linda and I believe 50% of searchers can't even tell the difference between ads and organic on mobile.

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
I don't think Google's looking at the on-site content for 'near me' keywords...I would think it's based solely on the address/geographic location of the business.

But it's worth a shot to try and see!

They absolutely are looking at on-site signals, I know it seems like it's GPS related, but site signals are a HUGE factor. I talked about this pretty extensively at State of Search. Will go post my deck now.
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I like the idea behind the test and appreciate you posting the link, but is there any way you'd be able to share more of the raw data? Was the 82 websites the ones you adjusted content on, or was that the total number of sites in the study (both control and experiment)? Were there any other site changes which could affect impressions for these queries? Were these sites ranking in a local pack or was this strictly organic, and do you think any of the changes Google made affected the study? And finally in what context did you use "near me" on site?

Sorry for the large block of questions, but those were a few that immediately came to mind after reading the post. I think the post is a good overview for a potential client what you studied, but I'm a little more curious about the methodology and the nitty gritty details of the study :) Knowing more about what was controlled and what was changed could help others replicate the study in their respective verticals to gather a larger data set to review.
Wow. . . very cool data, and the difference in impressions and click thru is very interesting.

I would love to learn a bit more if you can share. For example, in the one example you posted, that page only has "near me" in the description, which - I wouldn't think would impact impressions all that much (and 15% is interesting as an increase in impressions, but, if someone smarter than me said "that's probably not statistically significant" I might agree.

Thanks soooo much for sharing. . . . I was really wondering about this, and I am excited to test this on my own.
To add to Eric's feedback and questions, I'd also comment on the actual 'near me' phrase placement.

Do you mean adding it to the onsite content or to the title tag &/or meta description. From what I see the site listed in your case study (Bay Area Chevrolet Dealer - Dublin Chevrolet) does not have the phrase included in its home page onsite content.

It has the phrase added to its meta description, which I seriously doubt that could be accepted as a valid factor for higher rankings ... so, maybe you could elaborate a bit on the actual process of conducting the study?
Great info Coleen, thanks for sharing!

I just Tweeted your study to the #dd20 crowd. No room to CC or h/t you.
Are you at the show?

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Of special interest to auto dealers at the <a href="">#dd20</a> show. Study re "nearby" mobile searches for dealers: <a href=""></a></p>— Linda Buquet (@CatalystLocal) <a href="">January 19, 2016</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>
Hey guys,

Wanted to let you know I started a new thread featuring Colleen's study and will ping her to ask for more details and see if she can answer any of your Qs.

Colleen, if you see this post, please answer in the new thread here:

<a href="">Enlightening Study On Near Me Searches via Mobile Search</a>

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