According to a local search study at SBI+M:
* 97% of American internet users use the internet to shop
* 90% of online commercial searches result in offline bricks and mortar purchases
* 82% of local searchers follow up offline via an in-store visit, phone call or purchase
* 80% of budgets are spent within 50 miles of the home
* 66% of American use online local search, like Google local search to locate local businesses
* 61% of local searches result in purchases
* 54% of Americans have substituted the internet and local search for phone books
Those are pretty impressive numbers. The one that I can most relate to is 54% of Americans have substituted the internet and local search for phone books. The reason that one hits home, is because I know my family has.
The advantage that Google gives you over the yellow pages is more information. A well known yellow pages scam is for a service company to take out multiple ads as multiple companies. That way, when you call Plumber 1 and 2 they say it will be very expensive, but Plumber #3 seems reasonable. The dirty little secret is that all 3 were the same, funneling you to the real company where higher profits are all but guaranteed.
That is still possible on the web, but with so many local directories and places that allow you to rate just about everything, it’s easier to spot.
If you don’t have a presence on the web, you’re invisible to 54% of your audience.
If you have a site, but it is unfindable, you’re still invisible. How do you find out if your invisible? Try to find your business the same way a potential customer would. Go to Google or Yahoo, type into the search box what you offer and the town your business is located in.
Did you show up on the first page of the search results? If the answer is no, you need to fix that.
If you could generate a new customer each day (or week or month), how much would that mean to your bottom line.
Step one would be doing some on-page optimization. Your information needs to be on all of your pages. It can be frustrating for users when they’re ready to purchase, but can’t find your phone number or a local address. Don’t forget to include services offered, hours of operations, and reviews.
Once you have done all of your on-page work, take an hour and submit your site to the local directories.
Here are the most notable ones:
If you’re in the Raleigh/Durham area and want to get more information on local search and how to implement it to help your business, join us at our monthly SEO meeting where we’ll be covering all the basics.