How Local Businesses Can Rank For Popular Near Me Searches

What are effective methods for local businesses to rank for popular search queries? Beyond clever naming, try these creative strategies.

A recent feature on The Verge highlighted businesses that try to get an edge in local search rankings with clever names like Thai Food Near Me.

So, I set out to discover if this strategy could impact local rankings and, more importantly, if other local businesses could replicate it.

Before I get started, I should preface this with some good and bad news.

Bad News: Distance Is An Important Ranking Factor

Most restaurants will not rank as the best restaurants near me unless they are physically located near the search user’s location.

The reason? One of the three critical ranking factors for Google local search results is distance.

Suppose a restaurant owner wants people in Phoenix, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York to discover their dining establishment with the term best restaurant near me.

For that, they must optimize for the best restaurant AND have a physical location in those cities. And not just in those cities but in the precise location of the searcher.

The real question: does a restaurant need to be ranked number one in search results as the best near someone in Philadelphia if its only physical location is in San Diego?

Maybe – if the restaurant has something to offer outside of a sit-down dining experience, such as a physical product to ship.

Or if it is the best restaurant in the region, diners would be willing to travel over half an hour or even plan a getaway to try it.

With hundreds of thousands of monthly searches for terms like best restaurantsbest breakfastbest food, etc., near me, it’s hard not to want to optimize for those phrases.