How is Pokemon:Go Impacting Search?

Not only are more people searching for Pokemon than porn; Pokemon has impacted search behaviour in other areas – outside of the game itself.

Some of the results are intriguing, some funny, and some tragic.

Here’s a roundup of our favourites:

How far is….

One of the most common things in the game is that you have to cover a certain distance to hatch an egg, so people have been searching for the following:

5km to miles

Fair enough; people want to know how far they’ve got to walk to hatch a Pokemon. Searches around distances have certainly gone up:

How far is 5k

Walking 5km

The bad news is, for some Pokemon to evolve, you’ve got to cover 10k rather than 5K

10km to miles

Surely it is only a matter of time before Google adds answer boxes for these searches to results

Google answers

Gym? What’s a Gym?

All night gym

Sorry fitness clubs, it’s not people looking to get a beach body in time for summer, it’s Pokemon gyms that users are looking for.

What is a gym?

Once we’ve established what a gym is, we need to find one. Searches for “gyms near me” have sky-rocketed

Gyms near me

Again, the search increase is largely down to people looking to battle in an arena, rather than finally getting around to that New Year’s resolution (in July).

Incidentally, Pokemon related searches are already starting to rank on Page 3 for such terms.

Pokemon in 3rd place

Searches are getting simple too – “how to gym” is at an all-time high:

How to gym

Is it someone looking to bulk up and doesn’t know what they’re doing?


On a serious note – if you’re working for or on behalf of a gym, this could impact both traffic forecasts and results for your core terms. “Gyms near me” is one of the most valuable searches to a gym website, yet Pokemon:Go is slowly taking over the SERPs.

There’s an anomaly in Google trends here with the huge spike in searches; but we could also see droves of irrelevant traffic, resulting in an increase in bounce rate. If in a year’s time the craze has died down, YOY data could look significantly down, as could month on month data.

Churches, graveyards and 24 hour supermarkets

Sounds like a low budget straight to DVD film, doesn’t it?

Churches are a hotbed for Pokemon – there was a story recently where a family who had bought a church as their home were noticing people turning up every day to catch Pokemon. They even met the gym “owner”, despite the gym being inside their own house.

As a result, searches for “churches near me” are higher now than at Christmas:

Churches near me

We’ve seen a similar trend for “landmarks near me” – most people don’t go sightseeing in their hometown, but again; searches are considerably higher than normal:

Landmarks near me

Before Pokemon, graveyards weren’t the most frequented of places – typically visited as quiet spots of remembrance, or the first “respawn” point for a zombie apocalypse, graveyards are now one of the first places people look for Pokemon.

Again, searches have peaked around the same time as Pokemon:Go launched in the UK:

Graveyards near me

My cousin-in-law told me over the weekend she got up at 1am to go to the local supermarket and catch a rare Pokemon. She found several cars full of kids parked up catching it too; on what would normally be a deserted car park. This prompted me to look at how searches for 24 hour supermarkets have increased – the chart below is over a 5 year period to show that they’re at the highest they’ve been in a long time.

24 hour supermarket

We all heard stories of a troll under a bridge when we were younger. But wait …

Here’s the definition of a troll:

“an ugly cave-dwelling creature depicted as either a giant or a dwarf”

And I found this Pokemon under the bridge near our Warrington office:


I’ll let you make your mind up on whether those childhood stories were actually prophecies or not.

Anyway, here’s the impact on search from unafraid Pokemon players:

Bridges near me

Back to basics         

People aren’t even putting proper sentences together anymore such as “how to throw a pokemon ball”, instead they reverting back to the Stone Age, with queries like “throw ball”:

Throw ball

If you are searching for anything Pokemon related; you’re going to be hugely disappointed (or pleasantly surprised) when you see what ranks for “throw ball”:

Spice Girls playing throw ball

If you’re looking for tips on how to throw a Pokeball, Cnet have put this guide together that is ranking on page 2 for “throw ball”.

Again, basic searches like “catch” and “how to catch” coincide with the Pokemon phenomenon:


How to catch

Clearly freshness of content is playing a part here – looking at the results for “how to catch”, the majority are Pokemon related:

Google takeover

It’s interesting to see how much the SERPs can be taken over in such a short space of time.


Pokemon:Go is draining phone batteries like there’s no tomorrow, which means vendors of portable phone chargers will be raking it in:

Portable phone charger

As will those who repair phones for a living , as searches for “dropped phone” are at an all-time high:

Dropped phone

We’ve saved the best till last:

How to walk

One foot in front of the other; that’s the secret!

Let us know in the comments below if you’ve seen any other unusual searches as a result of the launch of Pokemon:Go!

July 20, 2016|

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