The Importance of Internet Local Search for Small Business
A study released in October, 2009 by TMP Directional Marketing examines the annual growth of online local search including changes in consumer behavior. It should come as no surprise that the study revealed further movement toward online search channels such as Internet search engines, mobile platforms and social media. The study shows the search industry expanding quickly: the total number of U.S. searches has grown in the last year by 31 percent.
Internet search engines remain the primary source for local business information, although the growth is slight. Among the search engines, local search sites increased in usage only one percent. Internet Yellow Pages sites usage increased a modest two percent.
How Online Search Is Used
The study showed that people were more likely to use online searches to research the brands to buy and to find businesses that offer those brands. Almost 40 percent used online research to help them figure out their purchase selection.
TMPDM’s study also found that 83 percent of local search users contacted businesses offline, with 46 percent of making contacts over the phone and 37 percent visiting the businesses in person. Half of all online local business searchers made purchases.
In another key finding of the survey, nearly two-thirds of those surveyed stated that they expected their search results to reveal businesses within 15 miles of their homes or places of work.
Mobile Search Is Growing
TMPDM found that 22 million people were using the mobile Internet through June 2009, accessing local business information mostly via a mobile browser. In fact, 127 percent more users accessed local content via downloaded applications on mobile devices than in the previous year.
Here’s some more of the mobile stats from the study:
· Thirty-two percent of searchers with Internet-capable cellular phones search for local business information from the mobile Internet, an 11 percent increase from 2008.