‘Near Me’ search phrases are the future of Local SEO

Local SEO has increased in prominence recently, with ‘near me’ or ‘nearby’ searches rising almost month-on-month. For bricks and mortar businesses, this trend highlights a shift in the way people are looking for services. In response, companies must incorporate ‘near me’ searching into their SEO strategy.

Users have always relied on search engines to find shops, restaurants and amenities in their area. In this respect, local SEO is nothing new. However, the way users are searching for local services is changing. Traditionally, users would add particular location to specify the geographical area in which they wanted to search. This shift towards ‘near me’ searching has removed the need for users to pinpoint their locale. As a result, it increases convenience and UX when it comes to searching for nearby businesses and services.

What is ‘near me’ searching?

Quite simply, users add the words ‘near me’ to key terms when they’re using a search engine, such as Google. In doing so, they expect to see SERPs showing relevant businesses or services in the current area. If you’re out and about and what to stop for an impromptu lunch, for example, you might enter ‘restaurants near me’ or ‘cafes near me’ to find a selection of eateries nearby.

mobile near me searchPerhaps unsurprisingly, the increase in ‘nearby’ searches has correlated with the rise of mobile devices. With cheaper data, more functionality and faster response times, mobile device usage has risen across every demographic in recent years, culminating in more people using mobile devices than laptops or desktops.

Currently, almost 90% of ‘near me’ searches come from mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. With the ability to find local services in any area, adding ‘near me’ to a keyword or key term ensures efficiency for the user, so delivers a better UX.

Why are ‘near me’ searches so popular?

The way we use technology evolves over time, and the shift towards mobile devices and voice automation been a significant factor in the rise of ‘near me’ searches. We’ve become used to increasingly intelligent indexing and highly-relevant SERPs, despite providing less detailed search terms and keywords.

‘Near me’ searches are easy for users, and they provide good results. Instead of having to specify an area or maximum distance, users can simply add ‘near me’ to whatever they’re looking for and rely on Google to do the rest.

Furthermore, ‘nearby’ searches are ideal if you’re looking for amenities, products or services in an area you’re unfamiliar with. Whether you’re in a new town, city or country, adding ‘near me’ to your search will give you more information about your immediate area and the amenities available.

Location tracking and ‘near me’ searches

Search engines have sought to track and identify a user’s location for years, although more advanced location tracking has been controversial. Originally using IP addresses to determine your location, search engines now use a range of tracking methodologies to isolate your geographical location. With location tracking more accurate than ever before, the quality of ‘near me’ SERPs has increased, and it’s become a mainstay of local SEO.

In fact, more accurate location tracking has put ‘nearby’ searches on a par with location-included searches. In contrast, ‘near me’ queries offer more convenience and faster searching. As a result, users have embraced this new way of searching for local services.

Local SEO and voice searches

Voice searches and the use voice-activated tech has exploded over the past couple of years. Smart home devices becoming increasingly popular in residential environments is just one example of the trend. Whilst mobile device personal assistants have been around for some time, the improved results delivered by Cortana and Siri have ensured their continued usage.

map pin near me searchesHowever, when we use voice-activated tech, we look for things differently. You don’t necessarily type how you speak, so it makes sense that these two search mediums operate differently. To offer accurate SERPs, Google has invested heavily in AI. This technology determines exactly what users are searching for, and which results are likely to be most relevant to them.

Search engines now have a greater understanding of what users mean when they add ‘near me’ to a search. Combined with their ability to pinpoint our real-time location, the results from these searches are increasingly accurate. As a result, users have continued to use ‘near me’ searching at a prolific rate. To date, this particular search trend is showing no signs of slowing down.

What does this mean for local SEO?

Businesses who want to attract local clientele to their premises must engage in effective local SEO, and ‘near me’ searches are a critical component. Whilst search engines can accurately identify user location, they have yet to establish an effective way of determining what geographical areas a website is targeting.

For digital marketers, this means your SEO strategy should still incorporate locations which are relevant to your clients. It won’t take long for Google to find a way to determine what locations websites are targeting, but it’s not there yet.

In the meantime, your content and your page title should still contain the locations you want to reach. This will enable search engines to match your content to users in the relevant area.

However, the change in location searches provides us with crucial information about user behaviour. The improved accessibility and accuracy of ‘near me’ searches increased convenience and enhanced UX even further than before. Now, users can provide less information but receive more tailored and relevant SERPs. Indicative of the move towards more intelligent indexing and results, ‘near me’ searching is just the beginning.

The rise in ‘near me’ searches is underway but it’s not too late to benefit from this new user behaviour. As users continue to search for amenities and services close by, it will be websites and businesses which respond to ‘near me’ searches that will attract users and custom – both online and offline.

To incorporate ‘near me’ searches into your local SEO strategy, contact ClickSlice now on 020 3287 3638 or say hello@clickslice.co.uk

6 SEO Myths To Avoid In 2019

Most website owners know a little about SEO, but separating the myths from the facts can be tricky. With so much information about there, finding genuine techniques to increase your SEO rankings isn’t always easy. If you want to improve your rankings and avoid the misconceptions surrounding search engine optimisation, take a look at our top 10 SEO myths now…

1. You need to submit your site

It’s a common misconception that you need to submit your URL in order to be featured on their SERPs. In fact, Google can pick up domains and websites within minutes of them being registered or going live.

Whilst it can be advantageous to submit a URL to Google if you’ve recently updated your site with great content, this isn’t usually necessary. Generally, search engines will pick up new content quickly, so it won’t take long for changes to take effect.

2. SEO is optional

You don’t have to engage in SEO, but your website won’t get many visitors without it. Studies show that users visit websites by searching for keywords or site names via search engines. Even if a user is actively looking for your site and knows your URL, they won’t necessarily use it. Research confirms that users are more likely to search for you via Google, even if they’ve visited your site before.

If your SEO isn’t up to scratch, you’ll miss out on the top spot in the rankings. As a result, your competitors will take your place. When you’ve already persuaded someone to find you online, don’t waste your efforts by sending them directly to a competitor.

As many users will look for your services or products by searching for relevant key terms, you’ll need to ensure you rank more highly than your competitors in order to attract more users. SEO is the only way to achieve this, so ignore it at your peril.

3. Content is more important than SEO

Content is certainly important when it comes to increasing your rankings and engaging users, but that doesn’t mean it’s more critical than your SEO. You can fill your website with original, insightful and powerful content, but it won’t have an impact if no-one knows about it. Similarly, you can get high-quality backlinks and enhance your SEO rankings, but users won’t engage with your site or spend long visiting if it doesn’t feature fresh, original content.

You’ll hear the expression, ‘content is king’ thrown around, but, in reality, it’s the combination of great content and effective SEO that truly pushes your site to the top of the rankings and keeps users coming back.

4. Social media has replaced SEO

Although social media can be a great way to promote your brand, it definitely hasn’t replaced SEO. In fact, the relationship between the two is evolving all the time. When you promote content via social media, it can lead to people linking to your site, which can be beneficial for your rankings. However, for most website owners, the impact from social media-inspired links simply won’t be enough to make a significant different to your position on SERPS.

Furthermore, Google doesn’t look at how many likes, tweets or posts your social media content gets, so a Facebook post which is liked by 150,000 users won’t directly enhance your rankings either. Despite this, social signals are starting to have more of an impact on SEO. Your collective shares, likes and retweets, as well as your overall social media presence, make up your social signals, and Google does take this into account when indexing your site.

Social media can increase the number of links to your site, which is advantagous. Furthermore, a powerful social media presence can have a positive, if minimal, impact on your rankings. Whilst this is beneficial, neither of these factors is enough to replace search engine optimisation. As a way to promote your company, showcase your corporate personality and engage with users, social media is fantastic tool. To feature highly on SERPs, however, you’ll still need to work on your SEO.

5. The more keywords, the better

Keyword stuffing used to be a common way of trying to improve SEO rankings, but it’s likely to do more harm than good. Using relevant keywords and key terms can be beneficial, as it helps to show that your website content is relevant to the user. However, using the same keywords or terms too many times will result in SEO penalties.

Simply repeating the same keyword over and over again tells Google that you’re only focused on getting users to your site. Instead, you want Google to know that you’re delivering useful and relevant content. Keyword stuffing often leads to nonsensical and hard to decipher content, which is exactly what search engines want to avoid.

Whilst keywords and key terms should be at the forefront of your mind when you’re planning your content marketing strategy, don’t let them detract from your content. With an emphasis on quality and relevance, Google values original and useful content, far more than the same words being used repetitively.

6. SEO is a one-time task

If you think SEO is only for new websites or relaunches, think again. Effective SEO requires regular, if not constant, effort. From creating innovative strategies, employing a range of methodologies and monitoring quantifiable results, SEO is a full-time endeavour.

It doesn’t take long for content to become outdated, links to fail and algorithms to change. This means you need to be updating your SEO frequently. If you don’t add new content, replace broken links and respond to new indexing methods, your SEO rankings will plummet.

For on-going success and online visibility, search engine needs to be an on-going part of your business. Getting on the first SERPs for relevant keywords doesn’t guarantee you’ll stay there. Instead of wasting the effort you’ve put in, maintain your ranking with on-going optimisation. However, maintaining your rankings can be just as tough as reaching the top. You’ll need new strategies, fresh content, updated links and algorithm-friendly updates to ensure you’re getting the most from your SEO strategies, and we can help.

To find out more, contact us on 020 3287 3638 or say hello@clickslice.co.uk

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What Does Mobile First Indexing Really Mean?

First rolled out in 2018, mobile first indexing is a new way for Google to crawl, index and rank websites. In order to provide users with relevant results, Google needs to find out more about your webpages. To do this, Googlebot ‘crawls’ through various site information, including data from past crawls, sitemaps, dead links and new content. With this information, Google can then index and rank websites in order to provide users with relevant SERPs.

Prior to mobile first indexing (MFI), search engines relied predominantly on the desktop version of a web page for crawling, indexing and searching. This means that the desktop version of your site was the main factor when it came to your SEO rankings.

Since the introduction of MFI, however, Google places more importance on the mobile version of webpages. Due to this, it’s the mobile version of your site which will have the most impact on your rankings.

Why is mobile first indexing important?

The introduction of mobile first indexing is a major change in the way Google prioritises the data it gathers. Based on this, the way that it ranks sites has been changed significantly. As a result, you may need to modify your website and SEO strategy to ensure you maintain and improve your rankings.

Digital marketers are constantly having to respond to algorithm changes and new methodologies. However, MFI is designed to enhance UX, and is being welcomed across the industry. More searches are now conducted on mobile devices than desktops, so it makes sense for Google to prioritise mobile-friendly sites.

Mobile phone show increased use of mobile devices and mobile first indexing.

Prior to MFI, the majority of users were searching via mobile devices, but getting results based on data from desktop webpages. If webpages weren’t functional or not optimised for use on mobile devices the user wouldn’t receive useful or relevant results. By switching to mobile first indexing, Google is catering to the masses and ensuring that searches on mobile devices return functional, informative and relevant content.

For website owners, business managers and digital marketers, the introduction of MFI is an important change to the way Googlebot operates, and it’s something you’ll need to act upon.

What does MFI mean for your website?

The impact mobile first indexing will have on your site will depend on what type of website you’re running. If you have a mobile version of your desktop site, it will be the mobile, or mdot URL that Google uses when indexing your site. For AMP and non-AMP sites, Google will prioritise the mobile version of the non-AMP URL. Finally, Google will use mobile optimised content from dynamic sites to index them.

In cases of responsive websites, they’ll be no change to the way your site ranks, because your mobile version is the same as your desktop website. Similarly, the mobile version of Canonical AMP websites is the same as the desktop site, so they’ll be no change to the way your site is indexed.

If you don’t have a mobile version of your website, it doesn’t mean that your website will disappear from SERPs. Google still only uses a single index, so desktop-only sites will still feature. Essentially, a desktop website will appear on a mobile device when there isn’t a dedicated mobile version available. Due to this, Google will still index and rank your desktop website, despite the introduction of MFI.

Should you create a mobile version of your website?

If you only have a desktop version of your website, you could be missing out. Failing to optimise your content for mobile users is often a costly mistake, regardless of mobile first indexing. With the majority of users relying on mobile devices to browse the web, having site content which is optimised for mobile usage ensures functionality, speed and accessibility.

Typically, users spend less than five seconds on a website if they can’t navigate it easily or if it takes too long to load. If mobile users aren’t getting the speed or functionality they expect from your site, they’ll simply switch to a competitor instead.

Whilst MFI is a valid reason to switch to mobile optimised content, user experience is a significant factor too. Although Google will still index desktop-only sites, users may not be so forgiving. If your site doesn’t perform well on mobile devices, you should expect to see a drop in visitors.

Using tablet to show mobile device usage and mobile first indexing.

However, you don’t have to create a separate mobile version of your website to appease Googlebot or satisfy your users. Responsive web design (RWD) is one of the easiest ways to cater to a range of users. With RWD, you won’t need to create or manage various versions of your site. Instead, your site responds to the user’s behaviour and adapts accordingly. Essentially, your site will be optimised for usage on a laptop screen, a 46” SMART TV, a 5.5” smartphone screen or any other device.

As well as enhancing UX, having a responsive website also ensures that you’re satisfying Google’s new approach to indexing. With a responsive website, the mobile ‘version’ of your site is the same as the desktop one. As a result, you won’t miss out when it comes to indexing or rankings.

What does mobile first indexing mean for the future?

Users of all ages are using mobile devices more often that desktops or laptops, according to the latest statistics. The move towards mobile browsing highlights the advancement of tech and evolving user behaviour. As IoT becomes ubiquitious, the use of mobile devices is inevitably going to increase.

Google’s approach to MFI simply mirrors the change in user behaviour already taking place, and responds accordingly. If you don’t currently have a responsive or mobile version of your site, the introduction of MFI is a great reason to get one. However, enhanced UX, increased speed and seamless functionality are, perhaps, even more important when it comes to embracing mobile users.

Get your site ready for mobile first indexing now. To find out more, contact ClickSlice on 020 3287 3638 or email us at hello@clickslice.co.uk

What’s the Difference between On-page SEO and Off-page SEO?

Your search engine optimisation efforts can be divided into on-page SEO and off-page SEO.

  • On-page SEO reviews what your website is all about. It deals with factors like URL structure, keywords, alt text, title tags, and meta descriptions
  • Off-page SEO deals with just how authoritative and popular your website is. It involves factors like social promotion, domain authority, and backlinks

On-Page SEO

On Page SEO

With on-page SEO, you control the narrative

This refers to the practice of optimising different parts of your website in order to bolster your search engine ranking. Since you can control aspects of your page, it means that you have full control over how you structure content. Here’s a review of the different factors at play when it comes to on-page SEO:

Title Tags

It’s great to incorporate targeted keywords in the title tag section of your site. As the HTML element that specifies the title of your website, you need to come up with a catchy line that enhances the probability of people clicking on your website in search engine results pages (SERPs). Ideally, you want the title tag to be concise and provide an accurate description of the content contained therein.

Headings (H1)

Search engines take a special interest with headings than other content on your page. In light of this, it’s a great idea to try and squeeze in a couple of keywords whenever you’re composing your headings.

URL structure

Incorporating keywords in your URLs helps boost your brand visibility. That said, you should not start changing all the URLs on your page just for the sake of ensuring that they have keywords in them. Importantly, you should never touch old URLs since you stand a chance of losing out on a section your readers who have access to the old links. The only time that is allowed is if you have a strategy in place to redirect such people to your new links.

Alt Text for Images

There are a number of different content management systems in place which allows website managers to add an alt text section on all images shared on the website. While this kind of text is not in full display to people visiting your website, it’s what guides screen reader software aid blind internet users gain a comprehension of what the content share is all about.

In addition to this, search engine algorithms are wired in a similar way. Therefore, it would be great if you can inject some relevant keywords while describing what the images are all about.

Page Load Speed

Search engines like Google are committed to enhancing user experience. By optimising your pages to load faster, you’re likely going to find yourself in good books with them and benefit from ranking higher in search results.

Page Content

You need to strive to provide value to people with every post you make. The goal is to ensure that when people search for content that relates to what you do, they should be able to spot your page. It’s also necessary to ensure that they stick around long enough after opening your page. You can achieve this by tailoring the content to be easy to read and provide real value to end users.

Internal Linking

Internal linking is not only important to visitors on your page, but it also helps you much more visible in search engine results.

As you work on developing your content, always try to ensure that it can be used to link to other pages. A good way to achieve this to note all the times your text mentions another segment of your website. You can use such opportunities to insert keyword rich internal links without overdoing it. Keeping things all natural is a sure fire way to attract audiences organically.

Off-Page SEO

This approach focuses on enhancing the profile of your domain by getting links from other websites. The most important off-page SEO factor is the quantity and quality of the backlinks to your website. Here’s a couple of ways you can build links to your website:

  • Come up with great content that inspires people to link back to it because it provides real value
  • Make good use of outreach emails to influencers in your trade that will link back to you
  • Guest blogging on sites in the same niche as you. As you share your guest posts, be sure to introduce a couple of links back to your platform
Off Page SEO

Leverage the power of social media by sharing content and boost your off-page SEO efforts

It’s essential to always remember that link quality is much more important than link quantity. Therefore, you need to avoid being spammy as you focus on improving your off-page SEO.

Also, do not buy links for the sole purpose of link building. This is because Google usually penalises websites for trying to manipulate how they rank on search engine results.

Which One Came Out on Top?

While there a distinct difference between on-page SEO and off-page SEO, you don’t really have to pick sides. This is because they are both necessary to have in your SEO strategy for long term success. Their complementary nature is great as they can help you cement your place in your industry of operation.

Striking a balance between the two is something you need to strive towards because you’ll have the mass appeal necessary to connect. End users will know what you’re really talking about and search engine robots will have a good idea of what your page entails. Once this happens, you’re certainly going to notice a spike in your rankings.

How Useful Are the Yoast SEO Readability Scores

The Yoast SEO plug-in is one of the most endearing WordPress features. Having been around the block since 2008, it has steadily grown and currently boasts of about 5 million installations. As the rave reviews show (the plug-in has a 4.9/5 star rating from 26,000 reviews), many people are happy with the services.

The green, amber, and red colour system used by the Yoast SEO plug-in are one of the most creative ways for notifying bloggers to make changes to their postings. Given the ease of use and direct navigation system, even non-SEO experts can quickly navigate the page.

SEO Score

In 2019, we got updates to a new system of SEO analysis which reviewed much more than just the metadata. The new set up currently looks at the configuration of alt attributes, h1 tags, outbound links, and many more.

Having revealed this, it’s important to note that one of the factors considered for SEO Score is keyphrase/keyword density. For proper computation, you’re required to first provide a focus keyword which enables the tool to find its locus.

While keywords are essential in establishing your brand, you should not put all your sweat and tears into enhancing your SEO score. Instead, you need to focus on developing the right content and then narrowing down to the specifics. Once you have your keywords aligned, you can use synonyms in some instances to avoid redundancy.

Readability

Truthfully speaking, readability isn’t accounted in Google’s search ranking algorithm. Still, it’s a powerful indirect ranking factor that could have a massive difference in your SEO strategy.

Readability

Content readability is essentially the ease readers have in understanding lines of text.

Scientifically speaking, readability is usually measured after a number of factors are taken into account. These include:

  • Reading speed
  • Speed of perception
  • Perceptibility at a distance
  • Visibility
  • Eye movements
  • Reflex blink technique
  • Fatigue in reading
  • Perceptibility in peripheral vision

One of the best ways to measure readability is by estimating the average grade of students who can understand a text. While it’s true that most people can easily read through a grade 9 text, you should try to optimize your texts to be 2 grades lower. By doing so, you’ll be making the written text great for leisure reading.

Yoast SEO plug-in has developed its readability score after conducting research on some 75 articles on the web. By embracing the Flesch reading ease score, they’ve tailored their system to consider the number of syllables in a word and the amount of words in a sentence when measuring readability. Essentially, this means that you need to use short words and short sentences if you’re looking to get a good readability score.

The Hemingway App is another popular option for writers who’re looking to come up with content that engages the masses. Once you’re able to register text that ranks between grades 7-9, you’re going to be in good books. That said, you shouldn’t strain too much should you realize you’re unable to hit a perfect score.

Difficulty Reading Content

Depending on how your website is structured, you may find yourself experiencing some difficulty working with the Yoast SEO plug-in. This usually happens when you’ve heavily customized your website to conform to your specific preferences.

The green, amber, and red bullets are crucially important if you’re unsure on how to implement your SEO strategy. Still, you need to first focus on developing content for the page first and everything else will follow. As you draft up your ideas, make sure that you keep in mind your buyer personas and the sales funnel.

Once you have a clear mental picture of what you want, you can then proceed to check out the readability score to identify opportunities for improvement. It’s important to remain objective, there’s really no need to worsen your content as you aim to fit in “x” percentage of keywords. If you’re able to provide value to readers, then you have all you need to keep pushing forward.

Why Readability Matters

Why Readability Matter

Google’s algorithm doesn’t directly factor in readability. One of the major things they consider is human behaviour on webpages.

Traits like page on time, bounce rate, exit rate, and social signals are usually representative of just how pleasing a webpage is to users. By improving readability, you’ll effectively be able to enhance the behaviour of humans on your page.

Many people usually exit a page after only reading a couple of sentences because the text was too complex. The idea is to develop content that resonates with the masses and informs them. If you’re able to do so quickly in a simply more, you’ll find yourself making traction in the market.

Readers are more likely to spend longer times on a webpage if they find the page has good readability. With an impressive bounce rate and exit rate, your SEO initiative will start heading in the right direction.

Improving Content Readability

1. Short and Sweet

There’s no reason to persist with long and complex words when short and simple words can get the message across. No one want’s a show-off, therefore, avoid dishing out English lessons in your blog posts. Aim to share information. If possible, break long sentences into several smaller sentences.

2. Conversational Tone

If you really want your message to hit home, you need to imagine that you’re having a one-on-one session with your readers. This approach makes readers feel connected to what you have to say.

Using words like “you” and keeping the written text short and simple ensures that you’re able to maintain a conversational tone.

3. Font

Importantly, you need to select a text that’s easy to read. While fancy fonts are okay for the header and subheader sections, you need to go for something different when penning the body of your text. Since blog posts usually pack plenty of words in one paragraph, you need to choose texts that are well spaced and easy to read even from afar.

Once you master your On-page SEO strategies you’ll be able to spend the remainder of your time on Off-page strategies such as high-quality link building.