Is Keyword Centered Search dead for Local Businesses?
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Is Keyword Centered Search dead for Local Businesses?

Is the Keyword dead as a search criteria for local businesses?

To answer this question, one has to look at the evolution of search over the last 10 years or so. The shift has been dramatic, especially when dealing with location based search terms (like “near me” or those that include a specific zip code).

I’ll illustrate how dramatic by using the search term “dentist near me” and data from Google Trends. The graph below illustrates the search volume for that term from 2004 to present day (2018).

As you can see, search traffic was relatively non-existent from 2004 until late 2012. Then something dramatic happened, people began using their smart phones to enter location specific searches for specific goods or services. As smart phones advanced with location tracking, those searches continued to increase. And that trend does NOT seem to be slowing down.

And don’t think Google hasn’t noticed (they notice everything)…In an article in Search Engine Land Andy Taylor  explains how Google is Beta Testing Ads solely based on location. No keywords needed.

Of course searches still need keywords (you have to type in something) but the evolution is moving toward a keyword free experience. Possibly where you can leave off “near me” or your zip code and just type in “dentist”. In the past this would have returned plenty of irrelevant results, like Dentist Schools or Marketing Programs for Dentists. But today’s Search Engine is smart enough to know what your looking for. And Search Engines are only getting smarter.

So to answer the question, the keyword is not dead YET in local search. But it may be on life support.

Mike Simmons

Michael Simmons started doing web development work for his own spice company back in the mid-'90's. He has extensive experience in online ad development, website design and business optimization.