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The Two Most Critical Words in Online Search Right Now

(Note: Ready to supercharge the leads you get from the internet and convert them into real-life clientele? In his free webinar, marketing expert Welton Hong delivers practical techniques you can employ today. Click here to register!)

Posted On: September 18, 2018

Potential customers are searching for a specific two-word phrase right now when researching local businesses. Learn what it is and how to capture these leads by outranking your competitors.

“Near me.”

That’s what people are searching for right now. It’s the hottest phrase in online search in 2018.

It might not sound exciting, but it’s the phrase that pays. Volume for searches with a service or product type and “near me” (e.g., “Chinese food near me,” “pharmacy near me,” “movie theater near me”) has skyrocketed over the past year.

That can be attributed, in part, to the increase of default location identifiers on the devices we use for search. Smartphones and tablets broadcast their location automatically, and most desktop searches are location-identified through IP addresses and Wi-Fi.

In other words, you no longer necessarily have to search for “patio door replacement in Indianapolis” or “Tucson windows” to get a local result. If you’re in those places, Google will automatically know.

Frankly, you don’t even need to type “near me” into a search to get local results anymore—in the same way, Google will still prioritize local results.

But that doesn’t mean you should stop focusing on ranking for location-based keywords: Incorporating “Pittsburgh window replacement” into SEO-appropriate places on your website still provides a massive advantage in ranking locally. Don’t be confused about that.

It’s just that the person searching for window replacement in Pittsburgh won’t necessarily have to include the location in the search. Google already knows.

However, it’s a little different with “near me.” You won’t gain a whole lot of on-page SEO juice for specifically including phrases such as “new doors near me” in your copy. (Although we’ll note a few exceptions below.) And frankly, that will never look organic in your website copy.

If your site copy has SEO bait questions such as “You might be thinking to yourself, ‘Where can I find new doors near me?’ Well, here at Dave’s Doors…”, that will just sound ridiculous. Just don’t do it. When human visitors arrive at your site, they’ll tune out the second they read that, because it’s obviously written for algorithms, not people.

Instead, the best practice is to use the “near” part while ignoring the “me.” You can amplify your SEO and capture local searchers by using keyword phrases such as “new windows near Arlington” or (for window treatments businesses, for example), “replacement blinds near San Antonio.” That will capture plenty of “near me” traffic.

As indicated earlier, there are a few exceptions where certain sites have seen some SEO improvement by adding “near me” to title tags and internal links—and occasionally, even in the body text of webpages.

However, that’s not something we recommend for the most part. Again, human visitors will be turned off by obvious references to “near me” that don’t appear organic. And you’re generally better off building great informative content for your site than trying to get “tricky” with hot keywords.

Instead, focus on foundational SEO practices that organically incorporate your industry and location—that alone will ensure plenty of traffic from “near me” searchers.

(Note: Ready to supercharge the leads you get from the internet and convert them into real-life clientele? In his free webinar, marketing expert Welton Hong delivers practical techniques you can employ today. Click here to register!)

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