Thanks in large part to smart phones, immediacy of information is something we’ve come to expect as a society. If we want to know a piece of information, we expect to know it within minutes. As a result of that, it is becoming increasingly frequent that we wait to make decisions on where to go and what to do with our time until the last second. When information is so quick to find, the need to find it early diminishes.
We see that in search trends. The searches “near me,” “closest,” and “nearby” have become hugely common, rising 34x since 2011. These searches are usually general; coffee near me, nearby movie theatre, closest car wash. Brand loyalty takes a dip where convenience steps in. These searches are also seen more on weekends, when people are out of their daily work routine and more likely to do things like eat out or go see a movie.
There’s a high prize for companies that can figure out in which situations people are looking for them and then be at the top of the list when they do.
Is “near me” useful for my business?
What type of business do you have? It’s clear that “near me” searches are not universally valuable. I doubt many people are searching for “hotel linen suppliers nearby,” though I would put a hefty amount of money on the fact that “restaurants near me” is a popular one.
Additionally, how are you localizing your PPC ads? Are your ads different depending on where they show up?
Between Google pushing for mobile-friendly sites and local SEO taking more and more prominence, understanding and utilizing the growing “near me” search is a no-brainer.
Source: Google Trends Data