The number of "near me" searches has been rising since 2015, however optimizing for these terms might now be detrimental to local search ranks.
Adding the phrase "Near Me" to your business name, website, or content does not automatically improve your SEO results or local search rankings. While it might seem like a logical way to attract local customers searching for nearby services, search engines like Google have evolved to understand and prioritize local search without the need for such keywords.
Google will essentially remove "near me" and chalk the intent up to being hyper local.
There was once a time where it might be worth trying to trick Google, but that time is LONG GONE!
Near Me SEO Attempt
When you see a brand actually use "Near Me" in the name is more comical than effective. Let's look at this restaurant example below of "Thai Food Near Me" that was clearly trying to do an SEO hack when they branded the business:
Negative SEO Impact
This "strategy" can actually have a negative impact on your SEO for the following reasons:
- User Experience: Using "Near Me" in your business name or website content can make it appear unnatural or spammy, which can deter users from engaging with your site.
- Relevance: Search engines prioritize relevance and context. By including "Near Me" in your content, you may dilute the focus on your actual products or services, making it more difficult for search engines to understand the main purpose of your website
- Local SEO: Google and other search engines already prioritize local search results based on the user's location. They do this by using signals such as Google My Business listings, local citations, and user location data. Including "Near Me" in your content is unnecessary and does not provide any additional value to search engines.
DO NOT be like "Thai Food Near Me"
There are times when someone says "I have a great idea!" but then they execute without thinking it through. This is one of those, and it's an awful decision. A few quick points why:
- It won't help with non-branded searches. If someone searches for "thai food near me", Google essentially strips the "near me" and considers it local intent, and then just searches for "thai food". They might show up well in their area, or maybe they won't, but the "near me" didn't help.
- Worse are for the branded searches, which is what every company strives for. If I tell someone to go check out this restaurant called "thai food near me", they're going to have a tough time finding it for the reasons I've listed above. Not ranking for branded searches is tough to do, but these guys have found a way. :)
- If they had just gone with "Sully's Thai Food" or something any other name, they'd rank just as well for non-branded searches AND they'd actually own their branded searches.
Cute idea, but likely a very bad one to actually use.