We all agree that it’s important to be online. But in what way? For small business owners, time and money are resources to be optimized, with little space for waste. The easiest way to be online is to optimize for search. And the low hanging fruit within search is to claim your location’s listing on key search engines.

Why is optimizing for search so important? These three statistics help explain why your priority should be in the search optimization area of online marketing:

50% of users who perform a local search on their smartphone visit a physical store within one day

What other marketing initiative do you know of that converts at such a tremendous rate? Being found on search engines means people will make their way to your store or restaurant or salon or office. Quickly. Why? Because when people execute a local search, they’re poised to act on it. What’s interesting is that 34% of people who perform a local search on their computer or tablet also visit a physical store within a day. Ranking well has a direct impact on in-store traffic.

• 78% of location-based mobile searches result in an offline purchase.

Combine the first stat with this one and you can begin to see how important – and powerful – it becomes to be found online. Online activity and shopping consideration don’t always convert to online sales. In fact, it’s often quite the opposite. People start their discovery online and fulfil offline. In fact, according to the ComScore study we’ve linked to, one of the most important reasons that people conduct a local search is to find a specific business. The second most common reason? To find a business with a specific product or service in mind. So when people are looking for something specific, they’re also looking for where they can go to get it “near me”.

• 80% – 90% of shoppers read online reviews before buying a product

How do reviews relate to search? Simple, consumers can review your locations on your business listing. As a result, reviews of your business are visible to those looking for what you offer – and have a direct impact on whether they choose to do business with you or not. So be proactive responding to those who care enough about your business to give you positive or negative feedback. From an SEO point of view, the more reviews you gather, the more you become indexed. Search engines also love positive reviews, so it’s vital to empower your best customers with the tools to review your business. The more you do, the more often search engines will serve your listing.

Have questions or statistics you’d like us to look into? Let us know in the comments and we’ll be happy to respond!