Growth in the Use of “Near Me” in Searches

I have previously noted the growth of “near me” and “near by” in mobile search.

With the advent of mobile computing those phrases have moved rapidly into the search lexicon among phone searches.

In a recent article at Think With Google, Matt Lawson noted: Google search interest in “near me” has increased 34X since 2011 and nearly doubled since last year. The vast majority come from mobileโ€”80% in Q4 2014.. The article also noted that these types of searches were more common amongst travelers, more frequent on weekends and frequently focused on restaurant and food related searches.

Clearly these types of searches occur in some vertical more than others but the “near me” really mirrors the growth of smart phones. I created a GIF from Google Trends that shows the spread of the use of Near Me over the past 5 years:

(click to view larger)

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15 thoughts on “Growth in the Use of “Near Me” in Searches”

  1. @Bill
    I think voice search factors in and default search on phone search does as well…. near is often suggested term. I use it frequently when traveling but NEVER when at home.

  2. I can see how this would definitely be the case with suggested search terms. Within the past week I have used it for restaurants, groceries, and dry cleaning. In the past I would have searched for “dry cleaning near city“, now it is just “dry cleaning near me“. I just take the lazy default, and I’m sure most others do as well.

  3. Its Maine even more so than New England… I am not sure but on a broader scale it seems to be moving east coast to the middle and then outside in. That at least makes sense. Why Maine I have no idea.

    Anyone?

  4. I think there are a few factors at play here. The two main ones mentioned being mobile and the suggested search but we have also seen the ‘near me’ suggestion above a pack of local results for a local term that did not have that keyword. So, if a user then clicks that link above the new pack to the local results they then generate another ‘near me’ search.

    Ultimately, if Google wants this they can walk people down the path a little and as it gets more popular it becomes more often suggested, folks realise this works well when they are out and about and the usage will grow and grow.

  5. Really interesting article, observation and research. I looked at google trends with the near me added to restaurants, bars, pizza, doctors and dentists.

    Take a look at each phrase on its own and they have all shown explosive growth in usage post smart phones. But compare them to one another and the restaurant/food/drink immediate need has grown dramatically faster than the usage of the term for doctors or dentists.

    Take a look at the restaurants near me phrase and then drill down to the US and to cities. More specifically than New England or Maine, the highest usage seems to connect to towns or cities that attract visitors.

    Meanwhile we looked at both keyword data and ppc data really looking at the variations and filtering for “near” and “near me” for our smbs.

    As Mark Kennedy referenced above we found that ppc impressions for “near me” has really grown, for our smb’s which are not of the quick gratification elements such as restaurants, bars, or pizza, the number of “near me” impressions has grown relatively a lot. In our cases the explosion started in 2014 and continues. As Mark referenced from a ppc perspective its a long tail add on. Its definitely long tail…but its growing in our real world reviews. Its a long tail phrase….but its there and it is growing.

    Now on the other hand if I had a restaurant in a resort town or a destination for visitors, I might add a blog page with the title “restaurant near me”. That is the kind of thing where it seems to work the most.

  6. @ Michael: do it in destination cities. If you do the G trends analysis for restaurants near me and drill down into cities the top 2 cities for it are a casino city in Oklahoma and a place near Disney World.

    OTH, I suspect the Google metrics show relative searches where in those “near me” searches are relatively very high in places that attract visitors. Who knows. They could be tons better and more worthwhile in cities that are simply huge!!!!

    Go for it!!!

  7. Some specifics on the “near me” phenomena with an smb.

    I’ve looked at 3 smb’s traffic and at adwords impressions. Here are some stats for the one with most impressions:

    Per google: About 420-480,000 impressions/yr
    Google only gives us hard data on about 120-130,000 (we run a lot of broad term)

    Last year of abt 130,000 impressions (with data) the geo phrase w/ the most activity had abt 20,000 impressions. There were 3 others that were big with about 7500 to 10,000 per phrase. Then it gets spread. Spread a lot. The rest of the geo terms are spread between about or up to 100 towns, small cities, and counties. Of them the highest I could find was about 190 in a year.

    Now for the “near me” phrases: 377 last year, and about 60 the year before.

    That is a lot. Its worth a page with “near me” in the title.

    This smb is NOT an immediate gratification use, such as a restaurant, and its not used by travelors.

    Lot of growth in that phrase.

    I like to follow these trends. The word “review(s) became popular as of the late 2000’s. Clearly our customers and potential customers read reviews. By polling customers we know there are over 500 review readers for this smb and we know its relatively similar in other smb’s relative to their size.

    Regardless, when we looked at impressions on searches with the word “review(s)….there are dramatically less searches than the “near me” phrase…and the “near me” phrase has been growing rapidly in our experience(s).

    I think Michael’s idea is excellent!!!!!!!

  8. I think the initial growth in Maine could likely be due to its state abbreviation — “ME”. In other words, people in Maine were probably already using “ME” for their local queries before it meant “me”. Same sort of phenomenon we saw a few years ago when Alabama sites would come up for people searching for the “mobile” version of sites. ๐Ÿ™‚

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