While top rankings in Google, Yahoo, and Bing can lead to extra business, a lot of consumers begin their online research for products and services elsewhere. One recent study uncovered some surprising facts about the ways that consumers look for businesses in their cities, towns, and neighborhoods:
Only about 36 percent of consumers used a big search engine to begin online research about local companies.
Just about 13 percent of searches for nearby companies began with a site that focused on a particular community, topic, or industry.
Some other sources of local searches include review websites, directories, deals or promotions, web or mobile apps, and different sorts of content that mentioned a specific business.
In addition, certain kinds of shoppers tended to favor one method of researching over another. For example, frequent consumers of certain products and services often preferred research from a topic-related website over a search engine. It’s likely that these kinds of shoppers had already done a lot of research on the topic and knew where to find good information without having to Google it.
It seems as though frequent consumers should be the type of customers that most businesses would like to attract. It’s possible that a majority of people who use one of the bigger search engines to find out about your business don’t use your products or services often.
If you own a local restaurant, you might benefit from making sure your restaurant gets listed in online dining guides or reviewed by a local dining blogger. If you own a hotel, getting a page on popular travel sites could help draw in guests.