After a couple of years of touting a rise in “near-me” queries, Google recently announced that these explicitly local searches have fallen out of favor. The search company was quick to point out that this didn’t mean local searches were decreasing, just that “over the last two years, comparable searches without ‘near me’ have grown by 150 percent.”
Google’s VP of Marketing for the Americas, Lisa Gevelber, summed it up like this: “We’re now seeing a shift toward dropping location qualifiers (like ZIP codes, neighborhoods and ‘near me’ phrasing) in local searches, because people know that the results will automatically be relevant to their location — thanks to their phone.”
The implication: As digital platforms continue to customize experiences based on individual users, searchers now just assume – and pretty much expect – Google will know when they’re searching for something nearby and automatically return local results.
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