Decoding Local SEO Strategy: Beyond “Near Me” Keywords

In the ever-evolving landscape of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the focus on keywords has always played a pivotal role in determining a website’s visibility and ranking on search engine result pages. In this comprehensive analysis, we’ll delve into the insights provided by an SEO expert, Khurshid Sherani, on the significance of localized keywords versus the widely popular “near-me” terms. Join us as we explore how these insights could reshape our approach to Local SEO and lead generation.


At the heart of any successful Local SEO strategy lies the selection of appropriate keywords that align with user intent. In this article, I’ve emphasized the importance of shifting our focus from generic “near-me” terms to more precise and location-based keywords. Through a meticulous analysis of SERPs, I’ve revealed how strategic localization can lead to increased visibility and relevant leads.

The Case for Localized Keywords

My insights begin with a critical observation – the overemphasis on “near-me” terms might not be the most effective approach for SEO. Instead, I think incorporating location names into keywords, either with or without the location name in the header, footer, title tag, or inside the copy. To illustrate this point, I’ve researched on a website called which ranks on the first page for the “no fault doctors near me” term. This particular term has a search volume of 150 according to Ahrefs data.


Although the website is based in New York, when the same search is conducted in Pakistan, it ranks at the third position. This is because the website is optimized for general “near me” words. While the term “near me” is essential, I’ve a very important question for SEOs: Will ranking for these “near-me” terms actually lead to an increase in relevant leads?

Understanding User Intent for Near-Me Terms

To answer this question, let’s take a deep dive into the intent behind “near-me” terms. Another example I want to show you is that of the keyword “car accident chiropractors near me,” which according to Ahrefs ranks at 13th position. I searched for this keyword from Pakistan, and although the website under research is ranking on 16th position, other websites from various locations are also competing for this keyword – New York, Florida, and even New Zealand.

The key takeaway here is: the user intent behind “near-me” terms is often scattered, with various geographic locations competing for the same keyword. This observation forms the basis for his argument that the focus should be on strategic localization rather than a blind pursuit of generic “near-me” terms.

The Power of Local SERPs

To verify the accuracy of Ahrefs data for local terms, I’ve examined the keyword “motor vehicle accident doctors near me.” According to Ahrefs, the website under research ranks 16th for this keyword.

When I searched for this keyword, it’s not ranking anywhere in the top 100. However, a localized search reveals a stark contrast – the website ranks third for the same term in New York. I used BrightLocal’s Local Search Results Checker.


This discrepancy points to the fact that localization plays a significant role in determining search engine rankings, often overriding the generic “near-me” factor.

Unveiling the Truth about “Near Me” Rankings: Audit of the Copy

One of the most thought-provoking aspects of this research is the revelation that Google’s ranking algorithm is intricately tied to user intent and location. I’ve scrutinized the page copy of the website ranking for “no fault doctors near me” ( and discovered that the term “near me” is absent from the page. This discovery reinforces the notion that Google’s ranking isn’t solely based on the presence of “near-me” terms but rather on user intent and local relevance.

Strategic Focus on Local Keywords:

Having completed a thorough and insightful analysis, I firmly assert that while the undeniable allure of chasing high search volumes for “near-me” terms exists, the real potential lies within local keywords. My suggestion is to shift the focus away from prioritizing search volume. Instead, businesses should strategically concentrate on seamlessly incorporating location-based keywords. Even if these particular keywords exhibit lower search volumes, they possess the unique ability to captivate a precisely targeted local audience. By adopting this approach, not only can businesses secure favorable rankings for “near-me” terms, but they can also experience a significant surge in leads and conversions.

Final Thoughts

The culmination of my research and insights marks a groundbreaking shift within the realm of Local SEO strategy. My analysis directly challenges the status quo of doggedly pursuing “near-me” terms and advocates for businesses to embrace a more intricate and location-centric approach. Through the alignment of keywords with user intent and the meticulous optimization for specific locales, websites can not only elevate their search engine rankings but also magnetize pertinent leads with a higher propensity for conversion.

In the ever-evolving landscape of SEO, characterized by the continuous evolution of algorithms and strategies, my research introduces a novel perspective that has the potential to redefine our entire approach to keyword optimization and lead generation. The key takeaway is unambiguous: the true potency of SEO isn’t found in the pursuit of fleeting trends; rather, it is unlocked through the comprehension and skillful utilization of user intent and the relevance of context.

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