Many people include the words “near me” when performing local searches on Google, such as searching for something like “car dealer near me”.
Google understands this, and essentially extracts “near me” and just runs it as a local search, which makes sense. However, if Google treats it that way, does it make sense to include the words “near me” on your website? The answer is a very clear… maybe.
A recent poll on Twitter asked experts if they thought the words “near me” on a website would have a positive impact, and 30% said “no”. However, 20% said “yes” and another 22% said “it depends”, so it wasn’t super clear in any one direction.
Joy Hawkins did a bit more research into this, and found that it indeed could help in some cases. I’m not sure this will last very long, as Google is likely counting it less and less as time goes on, but it could be of value for now.
Is your business “near me”?
This can be taken a step further in a few ways. First, as Joy shared, we’re seeing more businesses include “near me” in the title of their pages. This seems like a pretty safe move — it probably helps a little for now, and can easily be removed later.
However, there was also an example shared of a dentist office whose actual name is “Dentist Near Me”.
This seems kind of brilliant at first, but very likely has a major problem. If Google takes most queries with “near me” and somewhat strips out those words, this name could have the opposite of what it intended and actually become nearly impossible to find.
If someone searches for “Bob Smith Dentist”, Google will show results for “Bob Smith Dentist” and they should come up at the top. However, if someone searches for “Dentist Near Me”, Google will show a variety of dental offices in your area, which may or may not include this cleverly-named company.
Google’s John Mueller put it this way:
I kinda wonder if it works against them, because of how easily search engines change “near me” into just a location, making it really hard for people to search for them by name. For a local business, probably not a problem though, and the cute name likely helps marketing too.
It’s an interesting discussion on all points, and it’ll be fun to watch where it goes in the coming years.