Blog Post

How Consumers Use Local Search


Local search is growing, and becoming a lucrative space for small businesses that take advantage of its space and marketing ability. To take advantage of the space and the audience it offers, though, small businesses need to know what consumers are looking for. In today's Daily Brown Bag, we discuss some interesting studies that explore consumer behavior in local search and what people are searching for so small business owners can optimize their marketing strategy.

Also available on YouTube.

TRANSCRIPTION:

Hello, and welcome to the Daily Brown Bag. Today, we're going to be talking about how consumers use local search. I'm Chad Hill, and I'm joined by Adam Stetzer.

Hi, good afternoon Chad, welcome to the Brown Bag. We're talking about local business seo, and consumer behavior, and Chad this is a topic we've hit on quite a bit over the last few years. As this quest to understand local seo, and how it's going to interplay with desktop search, and mobile advertising is really coming into focus, and Google recently did a study, they partnered with a few other firms, to take a look at consumer behavior, consumer local business search behavior, and they looked across nine different verticals, with over 5,000 adult smartphone users responding. So, a pretty good sample, and I think the results, Chad, are largely things we already know. The people are really using local search for business research, and comparison shopping, but these stats are interesting. I'll read them out, and then I'll talk about the implications.

Four out of five consumers use local search engines to find out local business information. The most common of those searches being to get the address, the hours, directions to a local destination, or product availability. Half of the consumers who did a local search on their phones then stopped into the store within 24 hours after doing the search. So, it's a fairly immediate thing. Thirty-four percent of consumers who did local searches via a PC or tablet also stopped in. So, slightly less than the half, who were on their phones.

More purchases come out of local business seo on a smartphone than non-local searches on a smartphone, and that sort of makes sense, and the stats here are that 18 percent of consumers who did local searches ended up purchasing something within a day, versus 7 percent of consumers who did non local searches, although they did end up purchasing something it was a lower number. So, I think some of these stats, again, confirm what we already know about consumer behavior and local search. Let's talk about the implications for internet marketing.

Yeah well, these are very interesting, and it certainly is in evolving topic. One of the things that I found really interesting is that, you know, some of the stats that were talked about is that four out of five consumers said they prefer to see ads that have some local content, and this was very interesting, actually 60 percent of consumers interacted with some of the more enhanced local call to action features of some ads. So, these are things like call buttons, the ability to click to go directly to a map, seeing phone numbers, and directions right in your ad format.

So, that's very interesting, but you might ask, and think, that well this information is being all promoted by Google, and of course Google has a vested in local business seo, because they are one of the larger providers in that market, but there's some other interesting information that comScore released back in April in their local search study, which said that almost all PC owners do search locally.

So, that's 96 percent, 79 percent of mobile phone owners used their mobile device to do local search, 81 percent of owners do local searches, again, on their devices. Again, as you said Adam, in many cases 90 percent, up to 90 percent of these people end up going to a physical location. So, we've talked about this before, and we've said that, you know, there are lots of different ways to look up, and do local searches, and you really want to make sure that you do lock down all your local listings.

Couple more interesting stats, before we get to some tip of what you can do, B.I.A. Kelsey did a study just to kind of show where the industry is. That showed that 60 percent of small businesses actually don't have a phone number on their website, 75 percent don't have an email contact, and actually 93 percent don't have a--their website is not mobile optimized. So, you've got this tremendous growth in the demand to do local searches, and you yet, most small businesses are sort of hopelessly behind. So, here's some stuff to do immediately, immediately go out and claim your local listing.

That's Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Second, make sure your website is mobile friendly. There are tons of ways to do this, either with a standalone local business page, or a relatively expensive redesign of your website, to make sure it's responsive, make sure it's mobile friendly. Make sure that your address and citation information is consistent. If you have an old phone number floating around go fix it, because when there's inconsistent data it tends to mess up all of your results, over time. So, lock down, make all your data consistent. Make sure you proofread all of your information, again to make sure that everything is current.

Then finally, if it makes sense for your business, if you have multiple locations, create some maybe targeted pages for each of your different locations. So, if you do have three physical locations, you probably want to have a location page for each one of those that has the address on it. So that again, the search engines can find that information, and help surface the right content. Those are our tips today, on local search.

Right. So, the research is pretty definitive here on consumer behavior. On local business search the demand is growing, yet we see small businesses are pretty far behind. Some of the stats are pretty startling. Chad, 60 percent of the small businesses don't have a phone number on their website, 93 percent of small business websites are not mobile compatible. I know, a few of these made our top five list video that we shot recently, about the top five things I could do to make a website better, good to see them reiterated here. I hope these are helpful.

Drop us a comment below, and let us know if you're jumping on the bandwagon to be well positioned with local business seo. We'd like to hear some of your tips, and engage in the conversation, and we sure hope you would subscribe to our YouTube channel, so we'll see you back tomorrow.