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Why Local Search Matters to Your Business

April 19th, 2013 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

Are you taking advantage of all the ways local search can drive users to your business? The 6th Annual 15miles/Neustar Localeze Local Search Usage Study, conducted by comScore, found that local search is more important than ever in attracting customers and closing sales. Here’s some of what they found, and what it means to your business.

Search is the primary activity consumers conduct on mobile devices is search. Nearly 86 million Americans regularly look for local business information on their smartphones. Last year, the total number of visitors to search sites and search apps grew by 26 percent on smartphones and 19 percent on tablets.

In contrast, PC/laptop searches are in decline. The percentage of local searchers who say PCs/laptops are their main way of accessing local search sites has dropped by 7 percent year-over-year.

There are important differences in how users search on laptops/PCs, tablets and mobile phones:

Mobile phone searchers are more concerned about accuracy rather than depth of information. They are more likely than tablet users to say maps, driving directions and distance are helpful to them.

PC/laptop searches are more likely to take place earlier in the purchase process, during the research stage. In contrast, mobile and tablet searches were more likely to be used in the middle or at the end of the purchase process. These searches were also more likely to lead to a purchase. Just 59 percent of PC searches resulted in a purchase, but 78 percent of mobile phone searches and 77 percent of tablet searches did.

Local searches on tablets are declining too, dropping from 64 percent to 48 percent compared to last year. This suggests tablet users are becoming less mobile with the device, and is probably why they are more interested in in-depth information than mobile phone searchers are.

Accuracy of information was the most important factor for all three types of searchers; however, tablet and PC/laptop searchers gave slightly more importance to depth of content than they did last year.

What can you do to benefit from all types of local searches?

  • Make sure your business is represented on local search sites such as Local.com, Bing and Citysearch.com.
  • Provide driving, map and distance information to help users find your business.
  • Regularly check your listings to make sure they’re still accurate.
  • Provide as much detail as you can to help shoppers make the decision to visit your business, whatever device they are using.
  • Make it easy to contact you quickly with a click-to-call button or prominently displayed phone number for customers on the go.

Image by Flickr user vestman (Creative Commons)

The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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