Screenshot of a Google Street View

ONLINE RESEARCH METHODS FOR LOCAL BUSINESSES

Harris Interactive

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80% of consumers will not travel more than 30 miles to check out a new business.
But 39% will travel 15-30 miles to do so.
While 32% will travel less than 15 miles.

THOUGHT: It would seem fairly obvious that people don’t want to stray too far from home just to check out a new business. What’s more important is how they discover those new businesses that are close to home.

The very same study reveals that nearly six in 10 US adults say search engines are the first place they go when researching a business online; only 8% first visit a merchant’s website, and 4% visit a reviews site.

But 83% of people younger than 35 years old say search engines are the first place they visit when researching and finding local businesses.

But when using their mobile phone, 15% are likely to base their decision on where to go based on a review site.

All this emphasizes yet again the importance of visibility in search, and not just for your website. Take a look at the search results for your business on all different screens (desktop/laptop, tablet and mobile phone) to see what shows up.

For brand searches on the name of your business, your website should top the list of links. If it doesn’t, you’ve got work to do.

But beyond that, are your local business listings from Yahoo or Google Places showing up? Is your Facebook page or Twitter account showing up? Do the videos you posted at YouTube or the photos you shared on Flickr show up?

What do the review listings say?

Optimized content you’ve shared through social media will often show up in search results, usually to great effect.

Lastly, if you’ve claimed your Google Places page, you should be paying attention to the analytics associated with that page. They will tell you how often your listing shows up in Google Map searches, how many times people click on directions for your business and where, geographically people are finding you.

SUPER COOL TOOL TUESDAY: Yet another reason to play with Google+: They recently unveiled a visualization tool called Google+ Ripples that illustrates how a piece of content was shared within the social network. From the drop-down arrow on any Google+ post, choose View Google Ripples to see it in action.

Thank you for wide screen monitors.

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