Linda Buquet

Local Search Expert
Jun 28, 2012
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By now you are all aware of the dramatic increase in “Near Me” Local searches. Phrases like “near me,” “closest,” and “nearby” are increasingly popular queries on search engines. Google stated that searches including “near me” have increased 34X since 2011. The majority of those searches are from mobile.

One of our members, Jason, recently started a discussion about <a href="">Near Me Searches</a>.

In that discussion Colleen Harris from posted a study they had done on how "near me" type searches affected auto dealers. I thought the info was too good to be buried at the bottom of an older thread, so wanted to share here.

<a href="">Is your website “near” your customers? | CDK Global</a>

Google, Siri and Cortana, are quickly becoming your handheld personal assistant, advisor and maybe even your therapist. Instead of rifling through the Yellow Pages or even browsing through search results, these little voices on your phone can give you the best answers to your every question. “Siri, find me the best pizza nearby,” “Hey Google, where’s the nearest gas station?” “Cortana, find a movie theater nearby.” Using your location, questions like these can quickly return the answer to whatever is nearest to you. As we thought of this, we realized the potential that this might have for dealership websites. So we asked the question:

Can putting the phrase “near me” help you turn shoppers into actual customers?

We looked at 82 dealer websites across our network to study whether or not adding the phrase “near me” to a dealers website could convert customers.

After five months, we noticed several key trends for those dealer websites who implemented the “near me” phrasing in their site.

Read on to discover some of the data this small but interesting study revealed.

Thanks for sharing Colleen!

In the original discussion about <a href="">Near Me Searches</a> several of our members had some great questions about the study. For instance Eric Rohrback said:

"I like the idea behind the test and appreciate you posting the link, but is there any way you'd be able to share more of the raw data? Was the 82 websites the ones you adjusted content on, or was that the total number of sites in the study (both control and experiment)? Were there any other site changes which could affect impressions for these queries? Were these sites ranking in a local pack or was this strictly organic, and do you think any of the changes Google made affected the study? And finally in what context did you use "near me" on site?"

I'll ping Colleen and see if there is anything she can add.

What do you think???
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Jul 22, 2012
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I have completely dismissed adding "near me" optimization to any of our content strategies because I thought it to be spam-esque and that Google was smarter than needing or even using this content. A closer look suggests this was (nearly, thanks to Colleen) a huge oversight. I am more curious to the reasons behind the lift beside the obvious. Great, great share. One of the more novel studies we've seen in 2016 thus far.


Jul 2, 2013
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Thanks everyone! I wish I was at DD20, but work calls, especially since I'm now speaking at SEMPO in March.

While I can't share full raw data, I'll answer all of the questions that I can on this. And yes, the screenshot that got picked from marketing is not the best, but that's what they wanted to go with.

82 sites all together, half control group and half testing. For some of them yes, the only place we added in the near me keyword was on the Meta Title or description. The context was "nearest FRANCHISES car dealer" and phrases around that, such as "looking for the nearest Chevrolet dealer?" Slightly awkward, but when you are writing auto dealer content, all of it is slightly awkward. This was the only update to the Hours and Directions page made, and none of the sites have had huge updates/content refreshes. Since its dealers all across the US, some had local packs and some had only organic rankings. We hadn't been tracking in our rankings till now "nearest FRANCHISES dealer" until after, and it's interesting to see that it does consistently rank.

I put this into the "there's something there but I am not 100% sure what" testing I've done.

Tim Colling

Local Search Expert
LocalU Member
Sep 3, 2014
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It sounds like there were a number of "nearness" phrases used, like "near me", "nearby", etc. Is that correct? Did you focus on the word "near", used in a variety of phrases?

I'm really fascinated by this. Like Mborgelt, I figured - incorrectly, apparently - that it was too easy to get any lift from it. Who knew? :rolleyes:


Nov 19, 2012
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I was looking at some of our own data for some of our smbs. We have adwords data on the near me phrases for impressions in our regions...and we have added a page with a title for (business type) Near Me

First: On adwords impression basis over the last few years. The number of searches using near me or alternatively near and a town name has increased dramatically year after year. We are seeing on the searches coming in off of desk tops and not only mobile.

our smb's are not immediate gratification businesses such as the increase in volume of searches is impressive.

AND on one site we added a "near me" page and title to the web site. Its working. Its attracting search traffic on its landing page. I can improve it. But its clearly working.

I'm sure the percentage of "near me" searches varies by industry. I would have thought our "services" smb's wouldn't be that susceptible to the phrase as would something like restaurants, movies etc etc. But on an impression basis we are seeing about 1% of all impressions including that phrase. Virtually nothing with nearby.

Its a potent phrase. I'd add it to content and titles and pages. Its a sweet add on.

BTW: If I search on something such as restaurants near me, and some other topics.. I see big brands with the Near Me in the title. The brands have already caught on.

We've caught on. I'd apply it.


LocalU Faculty
May 17, 2013
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We have had a lot of success optimizing for near me queries! It's a great tactic that doesn't have a lot of adoption right now.
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