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February 12, 2016

135 Keywords Triggering “Near Me” Searches (and 7 That Aren’t)

Sushi Near Me

Google is now making it easier for consumers to find what they are looking for nearby by autocompleting “near me” for keywords traditionally associated with local search.

Google serving local results for queries isn’t new — location is a key piece of context the algorithm uses to generate relevant search results. As Google reported last year, “near me” search interest has increased 34 times since 2011 and more than doubled last year alone.

But what is clear is that when it comes to search, “near me” is the new normal.

In 2013 when Google’s Local Carousel rolled out, I looked at 54 keywords that triggered carousel results. With Google autocompleting “near me,” I decided to do a similar analysis of some non-branded terms.

Below is a list of 135 keyword terms that I tested both on desktop and mobile — over 90 percent autocompleted “near me” on desktop searches and 78 percent autocompleted “near me” on mobile.

Queries Triggering “Near Me” Autocompletes on Desktop and Mobile:

accountants
animal shelter
antique shop
antique store
apartments
arcades
art galleries
atm
auto shop
bakery
banks
barber shops
bars
bbq
bike shop
bookstore
bowling alley
brewery
brewpubs
cafes
car dealers
car dealerships
cardiologists
chinese food
clothing store
coffee shops
comedy clubs
daycare
deli
dentist
diners
dog park
electricians
emergency room
employment agency
Ethiopian Restauarant
eye doctor
fast food
florist
furniture store
gas station
German Restauarant
golf course
grocery stores
hair salons
hardware store
health club
home improvement store
hospices
indian restaurant
italian restaurant
japanese restaurant
jewelery store
landscapers
laundromat
lawyer
library
locksmith
mediterranean restaurant
mexican food
mortgage lenders
mosque
motel
movie theater
moving companies
museums
nail salons
nature preserves
night clubs
oncologist
painters
parks
pawn shops
pediatrician
pet store
pho
pizza
plumbers
polish restaurant
post office
pt clinics
real estaste agents
record store
restaurants
salads
salon
sandwiches
schools
seafood restaurants
self storage
shoe store
shopping center
shopping mall
shops
soup kitchen
spa
steakhouse
sushi
tacos
taiwanese food
tattoo shops
taxi
thai food
theater
toy store
travel agency
travel agent
vet
vietnamese food
police station

Queries Triggering “Near Me” Autocompletes on Desktop Only:

amusement parks
attorneys
auto insurance
breakfast
car rental
casino
catering
church
coffee
colleges
convenience store
credit union
department store
doctors
fire station
hamburgers
hospitals
hotels
insurance agency
insurance agent
midwife
synagogue
x-ray clinic

Queries Triggering “Near Me” Autocompletes on Mobile Only:
real estate agent
swimming pool

Queries We Were Surprised That Didn’t Trigger a “Near Me” Autocomplete Suggestion:
financial advisor
hostel
mortgage loan officer
office space
physician
real estate broker
temple

A couple of quick takeaways:

  • “Near me” is a given on mobile. When people search for something like “movie theater” on a mobile device, Google automatically dials up the location aspect of the algorithm to a point that the difference between the set of results returned with or without “near me” is negligible.
  • The algorithm is discerning intent. Some of the keyword “near me” autocomplete variances are classic examples of Google’s ability to discern intent. For example, if a consumer searches “movie theatre,” they are most likely looking for the theaters that are closest to where they are in that moment in time — but if someone searches “DVD,” the algorithm can discern that they probably aren’t looking for the nearest dvd to them.

Google is clearly looking to provide searchers with the most relevant results as possible, and location is a key piece of context that can drive relevance. To be visible in “near me” moments of search, brands should actively manage and distribute their location data — including name, address, and phone information as well as store hours of operation — to Google via the new Google My Business API, as well as other data amplifiers.

As the world becomes increasingly mobile, consumers expect to get what they want anytime, anywhere. Brands need to actively manage their location data to ensure they are there where and when people are searching.

Are there any other keywords you’ve seen this for? Connect with me, I’d love to discuss.

2 Responses to “135 Keywords Triggering “Near Me” Searches (and 7 That Aren’t)”

Alan McGillFebruary 16th, 2016 at 9:19 am

The 7 queries that didn’t trigger a “Near Me” are the same as the last 7 that you say triggered “Near Me” on desktop only? Is that a mistake?

Adam DorfmanFebruary 16th, 2016 at 9:40 am

Excellent catch. Fixed.

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