Why SEO Matters to Local Businesses

The Internet is the #1 tool used by consumers to find local products.

In a survey conducted by WebVisible and Nielsen/Net Ratings, the Internet proved to be the #1 resource used by consumers for finding local products and services. Strangely enough, according to the survey, if local businesses want their products and services to be found locally their best bet is in marketing on the world wide net.

The WebVisible report stated that, “More than 1 billion local searches take place every month. Local business owners who market themselves on search engines are in the best position to sustain and grow their companies. An entire generation has now grown up in the Internet age, rarely considering traditional offline advertising resources for their local information needs.”

WebVisible reported that over 80% of survey respondents refer to the Internet to find what they need before making their actual purchase offline in a store 20 minutes or less from their home.

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One of the reasons that consumers are flocking to the Internet is that they are tired of being bombarded with advertisements and multi media promotions. Consider the following, 73% of respondents prefer to find products and service using search engines rather than have advertisements sent directly to them. As most respondents (81%) believe that they are capable of finding the things they need on the Internet without any direct mail, television or newspapers advertisements.

The Internet also allows local businesses to build their brand and reputation in a way previously not possible. With the emergence of blogs, product and service reviews becomes available to consumers with 93% of respondents influenced by good reviews from credible sources. With online consumer reviews attracting an average of 80% of respondents between the ages of 34 – 64 years of age.

What do all these survey statistics really mean for local businesses? The internet has leveled the sales and marketing playing field where local businesses can now compete with companies of any size. With the majority of consumers looking to search engines to help them find services and products in their areas, local business owners should consider the internet as a pillar of their overall sales and marketing campaigns. In utilizing the power of the Internet, local businesses can reach, attract and serve their targeted markets in new and more powerful ways.

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