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Local Search: By the Numbers

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So you're still not convinced that Local Search is the way to go?

Well, the good news is, you're wrong. That's right, being wrong is a positive thing. Surprising, right?

Why is it good to be wrong? Because, far and away, it is much more cost effective to reach your local customers online than it is through the phone book.

But enough proselytizing, here are numbers. Cold, hard numbers, that back up our line of thinking:

"Consumers are performing nearly two billion locally targeted searches each month, representing over 25% of total monthly Web searches. That number is likely to grow, given that local search is estimated to become a $25 billion dollar industry by 2017."

That little nugget is courtesy of Gib Olander, in a contribution to MediaPost.

Now lets break those numbers down.

Two billion locally targeted searches each month. That's billion. With a B. And a full 1 out of 4 searches that occur are coming from those searches. Which means that the intent of every fourth visitor to Google, for example, is to find something in their city, neighborhood, town or what have you. And then leave the online environment and purchase it locally.

We often point out that the local advertising business is a $100 billion business. Well, according to most accounts, 1/4 of that, $25 billion, will be online by, at the latest, 2017.

Of course, the reason all of this is occurring is because consumers habits are changing. Ten years ago, if you needed to find, for example, self storage, you would simply go to the phone book and look it up.

Not so anymore. Now, more than 90% of the searches mentioned above are part of what has been coined ROBO (Research Online Buy Offline). Now, we look to the Internet first. That is our local marketplace.

So what is the answer? How does a business compete in this new, local marketplace.

Simple.

You build your web presence and focus it on the customers you're most likely to see - the ones that live down the street.

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