Posted by Cameron Francis on 13 Jun , 2022 in
The search term ‘near me’ has been used for some time by those involved in local SEO as part of the keyword optimisation process. It has been mildly criticised because as an SEO keyword, it is difficult to add to websites and listings in directories, naturally.
Furthermore, adding ‘near me’ to business names is more of a stretch compared to just including it in headings, titles or a few isolated paragraphs. If you do incorporate it into a business name, it prevents the building of a brand that sounds non-generic.
Including valuable keywords in a business name often gives it a synergetic value, as long as it is done properly. Brand names that include ‘near me’ are like a brutally forced search function of marketing that can negatively impact brand-building and marketing. To some people, these brand names can just sound like spam.
Google now uses queries from users that include ‘near me’ as a kind of indicator for proximity, rather than a phrase that matches a keyword. This can place a brand name at a great disadvantage.
A customer searching for a business will use its name, and if they use Maps to do this, they will find that Google functions in a way that damages the ability of the business to rank well in brand name searches.
Google has decided that when a query includes ‘near me’, it means that the user needs to reach a business that conducts a specific business and is located near their physical location, rather than businesses that match the queries of ‘near me’.
Once a business is well established, most top queries that refer users to the business are queries that include the brand name. In the past, when ‘near me’ was included in the brand name in the query, it did pay dividends, but now it can act as a major deterrent for the online strategy of a business.
An article in Think With Google referred to the 400 per cent year-on-year growth of ‘open now near me’ searches did advise businesses, that for capitalising on queries, they should optimise for local. But at the same time, they offered no advice on how that should be done.
However, it is no longer necessary to use ‘near me’ in material for web marketing. Also, the phrases ‘open now’ and ‘near me’ should not be used to hotwire the business name.
This will mean that when you optimise for your business, in your Google Business profile you update the hours you operate and also include all addresses and location signals in all online collateral materials so that the signals of your location are very strong.
Being near to the user is not the only criterion. Optimise for volume, the velocity of reviews, and other websites that include references and links to your website. All of these things are prominence signals.
So in summary, any benefits that you get from using ‘near me’ in your business are negated by a lot of the disadvantages.