What Does the Influx of ‘Near Me’ Searches Mean?

Google recently published an article that puts some hard numbers around recent changes in local search behavior. We’ve pulled the best nugget out for you:

Words like “near me,” “closest,” and “nearby” are increasingly common across the billions of queries on Google every month. More and more, people are looking for things in their vicinity—be it a gym or a mall, a plumber, or a cup of coffee. Google search interest in “near me” has increased 34X since 2011 and nearly doubled since last year. The vast majority come from mobile—80% in Q4 2014.

At Genuine, we’ve seen this exact trend play out over the last year or so as well—notably via a client that is a major primary care provider in the Boston metro area. Around this time last year, top organic queries would include ‘boston primary care physicians’ and similar geo-targeted phrases. But what we’ve noticed, especially since the beginning of 2015, is this profound shift in how people search. Instead of using local modifiers like ’South End’ or ‘Brookline’ when searching for primary care or other medical services, we began to see a huge influx of people using keywords like ‘primary care physcians near me’.

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