Local search and personalization features offered by the search engines are expanding the possibilities for small companies seeking ways to market locally online. This evolution is now allowing for local search marketing and locally based SEO to be combined cost effectively to power increased traffic for online searches. As the statistics below indicate, these searches result in purchases either online or at the physical location. This presents a huge opportunity for small businesses to extend their reach into the local markets without the cost and time investment required to compete on a national basis. Here are some stunning statistics to illustrate the opportunity provided by local search marketing: According to the NPD Group, a provider of consumer and retail market research, 97% of American internet users use the internet to either research products they intend to buy or to shop. 57% of this group described their activities as shop online, purchase offline.After a local search, 82% follow it with either a visit to the store, a phone call or a purchase, according to research by TMP/comScore, providers of local search data. 74% of people who use the internet search locally for stores, products, and services, as found in research by the Kelsey Group.Google has found that 73% of online activity is related to local content.TMP/comScore found that 61% of local searches ultimately end in purchases. 90% of searches for local businesses, according to comScore, result in offline purchases at local physical locations.The sum of these statistics reveals that finding businesses locally is increasingly done via the internet. The availability of local search tools combined with lighter competition of local search SEO provides the opportunity for local businesses to raise their profile in a very cost effective manner. Local businesses that engage in local SEO and local marketing are seeing results as their local profiles become more visible, leading to increases in sales and e-commerce. As consumers continue to move online and away from traditional search tools such as the Yellow Pages, their reliance on local online searches is bound to increase as well. The other benefit, according the statistics presented above, is that the traffic generated by local searches is targeted and motivated. While a 61% conversion rate for an on line business may seem like a pipedream, the combination of a local search SEO and a local presence yields just that. Throw in the fact that local marketing is extremely cost effective and the opportunity becomes almost impossible to ignore.
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