Study: Search Driving Offline Conversions for Local Service Businesses

Like duh! It takes a study to find out people use the Search Engines for researching businesses in their local area. This article by Greg Sterling at Search Engine Watch covers a recent survey by Nielsen//NetRatings and local search engine marketing firm WebVisible.

One of the points Greg made was “One of the issues with local search is defining what constitutes a “local search” in the first place. It’s not as obvious as one might think. In its definition of “local search” comScore has historically tracked traffic volumes on Internet yellow pages sites, mapping sites, selected “local search engines” and general search engines where queries have geographic modifiers. As inclusive as that definitions may sound, it’s a fairly “conservative” approach that, in my view, fails to capture a broad range local search behavior where the query is ambiguous but there’s a local intent behind it.”   This left out the searches done for telephone numbers, store hours, addresses. etc. One of the most surprising findings was the 51% of the searches used a non-specific term (“dentist”).  So this means there might still be some money to be made for “Search Engine Training Classes” which could be taught next door to the rooms used for Traffic School and who knows taking a course might finally eliminate the problem of people typing in the full domain name in the search box.