WebVisible Sees Much Local Search Love

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The investments made by search companies into local search have been rewarded with extremely satisfied visitors, who become customers converting offline.

Service trades ranging from physicians to plumbers have enjoyed greater exposure and traffic thanks to local search. WebVisible, a local online ad product company, and Nielsen//NetRatings released a study about local search and its impact on offline businesses.

“Consumers searching Google for a local service vendor shop very differently from those in e-retail on Amazon or eBay where a transaction occurs online,” said WebVisible CEO, Kirsten Mangers. “It’s targeted advertising driving traffic to a quality website that is the recipe for getting my phone to ring if I’m a carpet cleaner, attorney or dentist.”

Three factors have made their impact on local search; data comes from “A Nielsen//NetRatings and WebVisible survey, 2006″ of some 2,800 US Internet users, conducted in August 2006.

First, people find search reliable: 70% of Internet users report using search engines to find a local service; 46% in the last 90 days.

Search is responsive: When searching for a local service website, searchers find what they want quickly – averaging less than 3 searches.

And the results prove highly relevant: Nearly 90% are happy with the results they get when they search locally for services.

Although people will use multiple methods of contacting an offline business discovered online, phone numbers still drive two-thirds of searchers to get in touch with the business. This should affirm the click-to-call initiatives being pursued by major Internet players, both on desktop and mobile search, will be potent features for them.

Further affirmation of that viewpoint comes from customer behavior after making additional contacts with the offline vendor. The study found 35 percent of respondents saved the phone number for later use.

Local search also built awareness through word-of-mouth, as 59 percent of searchers told friends or family about the service they found. Also, 38 percent sent an email link to the service to family or friends.

The search companies will be pleased to know that sponsored links prove very effective in local search. Half of the respondents were likely to click a paid search link. 72 percent of them followed that with a call to the vendor.

Here’s the sweet part – 70 percent of the clickers who called also made a purchase.

Those vendors who advertise in local search should keep geo-targeted advertising in mind. Nearly half of the searchers in the survey queried for general search terms coupled with a regional term. Such geo-targeting also makes better use of the marketer’s advertising budget.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

WebVisible Sees Much Local Search Love
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