Nearby searches doubled last year

Google’s Omid Kordestani reported that Google searches that included the terms “nearby” and “near me” doubled last year. Not surprisingly, 80% of these searches were made on mobile devices. Such search behavior is becoming commonplace since mobile search overtook desktop search among consumers in 2015. It used to be that customers would enter a search term followed by a city or zip code when they were searching for a local business. Increasingly, they are skipping that practice to just search “nearby” since every mobile phone (and hence Google) knows your geo-location.

What’s equally compelling for merchants is that 80% of local searches result in a purchase. 76% of those purchases will occur that very same day. There’s no better time to show up than when someone is specifically searching for nearby results.

For merchants, it’s critical that they put their best foot forward in such hyper-local mobile searches. That certainly means that their website should be optimized for mobile but more importantly, it means that they have optimized for local search. Google now prioritizes proximity in its algorithms which is helpful for local merchants, but Google is challenging for local businesses. Ranking first on a local search result is extremely tough from an SEO perspective. One also must compete with powerful online directories. And there’s only so many spots available for Google Maps (currently 3 spots).

The reality is that most customers would prefer to limit their search to a 1 - 5 mile radius and would rather not see just the highest bidders for their search terms. Users open the HeyNearby app for this very reason. They get automatic search results for nearby businesses along with merchant profiles, blasts, and a messaging channel with that business. If the user is at work, on vacation, on the other side of town, they get the same result - great businesses nearby.

How will nearby customers find you? Advertising and social media can increase your audience and reach, but it’s the purchase that matters. What’s most effective is ensuring that the local community and customer can find you when they have a need and you’re nearby. That’s the best possible result and that’s what HeyNearby provides.