“Near Me” Searches Growing in Popularity, Google Says

google  search-490567_1240To succeed in search marketing, it is very important that you know what keywords internet users are using to find information online. Fortunately, Google has given online marketers an idea of the sort of keywords people are using to find goods and services. According to Matt Lawson, director of search ads marketing at Google, “near me” searches have become quite popular in the last five years.

In a new article on Think with Google, Lawson revealed that “near me” searches are on the rise as Internet users have become increasingly dependent on their smartphones to find information on various stuff on the Internet. According to him, a huge chunk of the billions of queries the search giant is receiving on a daily basis contain words like “near me,” “closest,” and “nearby.” Lawson added that Google search interest in “near me” has increased 34 times since 2011 and nearly doubled since last year. The vast majority of these searches were said to come from mobile (80% in the fourth quarter of 2014).

Also, a recent survey revealed that 50% of consumers who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a store within a day, and 18% of those searches lead to a purchase (also within a day). This recent development underscores the importance of localising one’s search marketing strategies.

Serena Potter, group vice president of marketing strategy at Macys.com, said most people today are looking for immediacy, which partly explains the growing popularity of “near me” searches. “The consumer today, especially with the technology they have available, they expect immediacy. I think search is really one of those tools that allows them to quickly find exactly what they are looking for and better understand where it’s available,” she explained.

So how can businesses and online marketers take advantage of “near me” searches to attract more potential customers? To use “near me” searches to their advantage, Lawson said online businesses should “think through” the situations where people will look for their store. Then, they have to make sure they are “there” when these situations happen.

For example, Lawson believes that “near me” searches are likely to occur when people travel or during holidays, as proven by the fact that these searches grow 55% during Christmas and New Year celebrations. They are also more common in weekends.

If you’re a digital marketer, you need to provide your prospects with relevant and useful messages during these moments. As mentioned earlier, you have to “be there.” So when a potential customer do a “near me” search, it will be your ad or website that will pop out on their smartphone and your store they will be visiting, not your competitor’s.

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