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:
home improvement store
real estaste agents
Queries Triggering “Near Me” Autocompletes on Desktop Only:
Queries Triggering “Near Me” Autocompletes on Mobile Only:
Queries We Were Surprised That Didn’t Trigger a “Near Me” Autocomplete Suggestion:
mortgage loan officer
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.