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What Small Businesses Should Know About Local Online Search

Local search is quickly becoming one of the most important aspects of small business marketing. As consumers increasingly rely on their smartphones to communicate with their surroundings, merchants, retailers and restaurants need to lean on search engines to help customers find and interact with their business.

Not only does local search help small businesses gain more public recognition, it may also lead to more sales for the business. According to recent Google research, half of smartphone users said they were most likely going to visit a store after they conducted a local search on their smartphone. More than one-third of tablet and computer users said they will go to a store after conducting a local search (1).

Consumers more likely to buy
Not only are customers more likely to visit a store after conducting a local search, the chances of them buying something also increases as a result. According to Google data, 18 percent of local searches across all types of device led to a sale, compared to just 7 percent for non-local searches (1). 

Appearing prominently in local search can help small businesses attract more customers and drive more sales. A report from MDG Advertising found that consumers conduct half of mobile searches in hopes of finding local businesses, with nearly 60 percent of consumers using Google each month to find a reputable and local business (2). The easier it is for customers to find your brick-and-mortar location, the more likely they are to not only visit your store, but also to make a purchase. 

Local search can also help with other aspects of small business marketing. If you claim your small business on Google and keep your contact information up to date, you’re already a step ahead of the competition. Making sure that details such as your hours of operation are up-to-date on local search is especially helpful for potential customers.

Customers leverage search engines to not only find your business, but also to help them quickly determine whether yours is a business they want to patronize. Increased brand credibility is now linked to local search because if business owners are taking the time to make themselves searchable online, consumers are more likely to trust that the business will be able to serve their needs. Business owners should immediately harness the power of local search for a great way to potentially add to their bottom line.

1. Google, https://think.storage.googleapis.com/docs/how-advertisers-can-extend-their-relevance-with-search_research-studies.pdf (May 2014)

2. MDG Advertising, http://www.mdgadvertising.com/blog/infographic-local-search-evolved/, Oct. 3, 2011

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