The “I want it now” search shows how a small pattern change makes a big tracking difference. We explore how SERP tracking strategies can reflect the nuance in local search.


Coming up with an effective local tracking strategy isn’t always easy, so we put together a handy STAT Guide: Strategies for local SERP tracking, to be the wind beneath your SEO wings and provide you with more than a few options.

We took several factors into account — the influence of desktop and mobile, the impact of geo-location and geo-modification, the underlying searcher intent — to produce seven distinct search patterns.

“Various combinations of search behaviours produce vastly different SERP results.”

Share This

These patterns reflect the way that real people conduct searches in the wild and can become your shiny new local SERP tracking strategies. Woo!

As we make our way through each of the search patterns here on the blog, we can tick both the Armchair Researcher and Mobile Time-Killer off our list. In this post, we’re focussing on a little search pattern we like to call, the “I want it now.”

THE “I WANT IT NOW”

While this search type shares geo-modification with the Armchair Researcher and mobile devices with the Mobile Time-Killer, its ever-so-slight variation makes it a unique search in its own right and an important pattern to track.

The “I want it now” pattern is characterized by geo-location and geo-modification, a mostly mobile device type, and high local intent.

Local search factors for the "I want it now" search type.
Local search factors for the "I want it now" search type.

The "I want it now"

These factors make up the “I want it now” search type.

Share This

Its combination of geo-modification on a mobile device produces an entirely different set of search results from geo-modification on a desktop computer. The same can be said for SERPs from a solely geo-located search performed on a mobile device.

Since local search is all about nuance, your SERP tracking should be as exact as the search performed. More precisely, to see the SERP as your searcher sees it, you have to track in the same way that they search.

For you to do that with the “I want it now” pattern, we’ll walk you through the search scenario, the industries it applies to, its extra high local intent signal, and a different kind of geo-modification that you should know about.

The search scenario

Unlike the Armchair Researcher, whose desktop usage tells us they need to put Google to serious work before turning a whimsical thought into reality, the “I want it now” pattern user is frequently on a mobile device, which makes them more likely to act on a whim with little hesitation — they’re ready and willing to buy, see, visit, or do something in the nearby area.

And given the geo-modification on top of a geo-located search query, this pattern user is typically searching with immediate local intent.

As for where this search is performed? Just about anywhere. Searchers could be at home looking up the nearest hot spot for top quality poutine or in a restaurant, munching on cheese curds and checking what’s playing at the local theatre.

Who should track this pattern?

 

Screen shot of a geo-modified mobile search for poutine in Montreal
Screen shot of a geo-modified mobile search for poutine in Montreal

Track all the ways people search

A geo-modified mobile search for cheese-curdy goodness.

Share This

Tracking the “I want it now” is particularly important for verticals that rely heavily on walk-in traffic, spontaneous purchases, or convenience —this includes brick-and-mortar retail, restaurants, entertainment, and personal services.

While the above industries certainly come to mind most readily, other sudden local needs can include services such as healthcare, automotive repair, and insurance.

That said, as much as this pattern is largely characterized by immediate local intent, we can’t completely rule out the possibility that the searcher could also be looking for big-ticket items that do require a little more research, like legal services, real estate, or heavy equipment.

The extra high local intent signal

As we’ve mentioned before, one factor that helps dictate the local intent signal of a search query is geo-modification — when a user actually types into the search bar where they are (or want to be) in the world.

Any time someone makes the effort to explicitly indicate their location, we assume it’s important to the search, and therefore can infer high local intent.

It’s for this reason that we determined high local intent for the Armchair Researcher and low for the Mobile Time-Killer — the former geo-modifies and the latter does not.

“A geo-modified search on a mobile device with location services enabled produces a particularly high local intent signal.”

Share This

In the case of the “I want it now,” geo-modifying on a mobile device actually produces an especially high local intent signal. Since mobile devices almost always have their location services enabled, and therefore automatically geo-locate the search, adding a location into the search query shows the extra special importance of the location.

In other words, this person isn’t taking any chances with geo-location — they need to ensure accurate local results.

That other kind of geo-modification

But many people do trust Google to appropriately geo-locate them when on a mobile device and will add terms like [near me] or [in my area] to the end of their search query.

While it’s not geo-modification in the traditional sense, the search query is still being modified with regards to location. According to a Google report from April 2015:

“Words like ‘near me,’ ‘closest,’ and ‘nearby’ are increasingly common across the billions of queries on Google every month. More and more, people are looking for things in their vicinity—be it a gym or a mall, a plumber, or a cup of coffee. Google search interest in ‘near me’ has increased 34X since 2011 and nearly doubled since last year. The vast majority come from mobile—80% in Q4 2014.”

The top "near me" searches performed on the weekend
The top "near me" searches performed on the weekend

Top “near me” searches on the weekend

Google notes the lack of branded terms shows that convenience is most important when immediate local intent is at play. (Source: think with Google)

Share This

Now one year after the Google report was released, Search Engine Land suggests that by autocompleting local queries with these terms, Google has actually helped shape the “near me” search-scape we find ourselves in.

From a strategic, SERP tracking standpoint, adding these kinds of qualifiers onto your keywords and tracking them in your immediate locations is essential to see just how well you rank on a granular local level.

But wait! There’s more!

If you download the full STAT Guide: Strategies for local SERP tracking, not only will you be privy to the six other local search patterns and how to use them as tracking strategies, you’ll also get an in depth look at the difference between geo-location and geo-modification and how local and mobile work together. What could be better?

STAT guide(PDF)

Next up on our search type series is the Long-Distance Dreamer.

Want pin-point local results from any state, province, city, postal code, and ZIP — heck, even any neighbourhood? Say hello and request a demo!