Local Search is Booming (Thanks to Recommendations?)

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There has been a surge of annual growth for local search, according to a study conducted by comScore released today by the Yellow Pages Association.

Local search grew 58 percent in 2008, reaching an annual total of 15.7 billion searches, the study shows. By comparison, overall U.S. Web core searches grew at a much smaller rate of 21 percent year-over-year, nearing 137 billion searches by the end of 2008. Local searches stand at 12 percent of core searches on the top 5 portals. Local is clearly becoming a focus of marketers looking to leverage every promotional opportunity available.

Some interesting statistics from the study reinforce this:

  • 75 percent of the top 100 keywords searched on Internet Yellow Pages sites were non-branded, indicating that a majority of consumers have not decided on a specific company or product brand when they begin their search.
  • Nearly half (45 percent) of Internet Yellow Pages and local online directory searchers made an online purchase in the fourth quarter of 2008.

But what exactly precipitates these local searches?

A recent survey conducted by Buzfactor might provide some answers. The survey found that a recommendation has 15 times more influence on where a person shops and dines than advertising. Buzfactor also found that customers recommend their favorite local businesses as many as 27 times per year and, with recommendations likely being acted upon 71.2% of the time, each customer evangelist a business has potentially generates 19 new customers for the business. Most important, according to Buzfactor, is the edge that local businesses have over national chains. The survey showed that 86% of consumers said the businesses they most often recommend are local.

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DiannaK 05-04-2009 2:29 PM

Once a local merchant understands the power of local search, they can truly capitalize on its power.  

Even without a website, a local merchant can be at the top of the local search results with a well optimized local business listing, use of merchant directories and of course the Google, Yahoo and MSN local resources.

Great resource study from Buzfactor!  Thanks!

05-04-2009 4:03 PM

Pingback from  Topics about People-search  » Local Search is Booming (Thanks to Recommendations?)

<a href="http://www.adlinkleader.com/">Local Search</a> 05-05-2009 4:44 PM

I represent a national online directory that allows businesses to target local prospects by zip codes.  Our traffic numbers completely support your article findings.  We continue to see notable increases with each quarter and our Alexa rating continues to improve as well due to the increase in traffic as more and more businesses and searchers use our directory.  

More people are doing their homework on the web before purchasing and if they come across a local business listing that carries what they are looking for they are more likely to purchase locally as long as certain motivators like price and etc. are comparable.

Good article...thanks!

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