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What is happening with local online search?", to technical questions such as, "Which is better for SEO - a subdomain or subfolder URL structure?".

"One of the things I love most about online marketing is that it is evolving continually. Consider recent changes in web design methods, SEO techniques, small business local search, hosted business software solutions, electronic payment options, and social network marketing/selling. It is never boring". 
Josh Hood
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by Josh
What's happening with local search?


Local search is defined as any search conducted on the internet referencing business type and geographic location eg: "Naturopath in Redcliffe Qld".

Some of the largest online businesses have been recently making a huge effort to encourage this kind of search on their platforms.

A number of things occured in 2010 which were important milestones in the rapid growth seen in the area of local search.

  • The continued rapid uptake of internet enabled mobile phones
  • Google Places launched in April 2010
  • Twitter launched Places in June 2010
  • Facebook launched Places in August 2010

Recent research figures point to 40 per cent yearly growth for local search on mobile internet devices and 28 per cent yearly growth for local search on sites like facebook. This is compared to 9 percent growth for search engines.

Facebook now gets the same number of searches as eBay. With the facebook redesign, the searchbox is now front and centre which has really increased the number of searches taking place on the site.
The two largest primary sources for local search remain the online search engines and Print Yellow Pages. Here is the breakdown for the primary search;
  • 33 percent search engines (up 2 percent year on year)
  • 23 percent print Yellow Pages (down 5 percent year on year)
  • 22 percent internet Yellow Pages (up 1 percent year on year)
  • 13 percent Local Directoy Sites (up 1 percent year on year)
  • 09 percent Other like mobile, social (up 1 percent year on year)

Taking a look at secondary search;

After referencing a search engine as a primary source,

  • 42 percent go to the print Yellow Pages
  • 28 percent Local Directory Sites
  • 18 percent Newspapers (print)
  • 12 percent are NOT using a secondary source.  
After referencing print Yellow Pages as a primary source,
  • 41 percent go to Search Engines
  • 28 percent Local Directory Sites
  • 17 percent Newspapers (print)
  • 07 percent Directory Asst.
  • 07 percent are NOT using a secondary source.

Search engines (74 percent) and print directories (58 percent) remain the top combined primary and secondary sources of local business information.

Despite the continuing swing in favour of online search, research also shows that 1 out of 6 searchers are NOT satisfied with their search results due to not being able to find the business they were searching for as well as the accuracy of the data found and the number of businesses listed.

All of the above points overwhelmingly toward ensuring that your business has a website and and can be easily found in an online search. The best marketing is passive!
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