Local Search and Small Business Websites

Amazing Local Search Statistics – Are You Getting Your Fair Share?

You have a local business and you’re spending a fortune on Yellow Pages, brochures and maybe even a local circular and now there’s somebody who wants to talk to you about promoting the company on the internet. That’s all you need right?

You know the internet is a great big powerful information tool but there’s a reason why they call it the World Wide Web isn’t there? It’s a fantastic source for every bit of trivia and minutia that you could ever want like the average rainfall in Sri Lanka or the name of Britney Spears’ therapist. It is in fact a global search tool not a local one.

Sure it’s great for all those online retail stores and services, some of which are probably eating into your business, because they have access to an audience equal to one fourth of the entire world population. How can they miss with a global pool of prospects that big?

Online search is huge, it’s important; it’s just not suited for local businesses.

Or maybe it is.

In fact maybe that’s the way most people use it when they are shopping or doing research on a product or service.

Consider the following:

  • According to Google 73% of all searches are related to local content in one way or another.
  • While internet purchases are rising, according to MIT Technology Review, for every dollar spent on the internet, five are spent offline on products and services that were influenced by online research.
  • ComScore, the monster of all metrics for the internet states that 43% of internet users are searching for local merchants when considering making a purchase. Further 52% report that they have regularly substituted search engines for the Yellow Pages.
  • And finally 91% of U.S. internet users do comparison shopping and research online and of that group 51% explicitly characterize themselves as shop online, purchase offline?

As if those statistics aren’t impressive enough, take a look at somebody who has also realized how search is really used by the audience looking to shop. Google a class of goods or services like divorce lawyer or accountant or drug store or deli and look at what comes back.

Somewhere on that page you’re going to see local business results from Google complete with a map and business locations. Google, whose mission statement is to provide the most relevant returns for a user’s search, has realized that their product plays an important part of local search and as a result has added this feature to their system.

What about your industry?

Now plug in your own industry. Did your business come up? How many of your competitors were included in the results? Are you beginning to see why having a presence online can be an amazing way to promote your business? Can you see where a local website has tremendous potential to influence a potential customer? Are you getting your fair share of those searches today?

Setting up a Small Business website

But setting up and running a website is something you don’t know how to do and besides it’s probably expensive as well.

The truth is setting up a website on the Internet is childs play. Really, ask your kid. Setting up a website that will actually appear on search results takes a bit more doing but there are ways to make that happen as well.

And the cost for getting in front of all this targeted local traffic? Compared to what you are spending on print and broadcast, promoting your business online is a bargain. Done correctly, internet marketing can have the highest ROI of any promotion you have ever done before.

The key is to start with a good foundation. A website that is optimized for local search results and is easy for you to update. From there, you can take part in the growing number of people who are searching for your goods and services on Google.