As a local business, do you think it’s important to be found on influential directory sites and Google Maps (Google + Local)?
While it’s difficult to quantify online to off-line sales, recent studies suggest not being found on these sources is more damaging than you think.
According to this post, over 90% of consumers use search engines over traditional sources to research products and services in their local area before they buy. And over 75% of people ready to buy products or services do business with companies found on the first page of the search results.
Now, this isn’t an article on SEO and the benefits of being found on the 1st page of Google. The reason this is relevant is that most local search results feature Maps above the fold along with directory sites, such as Yelp and CitySearch. The local business’s website continues to get pushed lower and lower until it’s not even on page 1 anymore. Fewer than 20% of clicks get to page 2.
Search is a more common desktop activity.
Now let’s switch to mobile, which is changing the way we find information. Search still plays its role on both mobile and tablets, but also competes with apps, which are heavily utilized and bring the customer in touch with what he /she is looking for with one click. This means that if your information is not ON the major directory sites or is NOT up-to-date or information is missing, then your business loses out.
In our digital age, if a business cannot be found online, consumers begin to question the legitimacy of the operation.
Often times brick and mortar businesses don’t necessarily understand the importance of being found online due to the fact that only 5% of their sales will occur there. Unfortunately, this is a flawed way of looking at things.
While the end sale (or reservation if it’s a restaurant) might not take place online, most people’s decisions are actually made from the research they’ve conducted there prior to ever entering a physical location.
A few other key stats that support the thinking that not being found on the influential directory sites or Google + Local could prove a local business’s undoing in the future if it’s not already.
– 86% of adults in the U.S. say they’ve not used a phone book in the last year according to Harris Interactive. There goes the prior notion of the importance of being found in the Yellow Pages.
– Roughly 1 in 4 searches on Google, Bing and Yahoo! have local intent. Local intent means including city names or phrases like “near me,” when searching for a company or service provider.
– The increase in smartphone usage has had a direct effect on how consumers search for local information. Over 94% of smartphone users search for local information from their device accounting for 73% of online search activity related to local content.
A lot of data to support the theory that a business must be found online. But the proper question is what is the impact of NOT being found on directory sites and online?
And that trend won’t change anytime soon.