PEW Internet recently conducted a survey in which 1087 adults (age 18 and older) were interviewed in both English and Spanish about their habits when searching for local businesses and restaurants. They were asked about both their online and offline searches and which they were more likely to do.

Some 60% of adults say they get news and information about local businesses other thanrestaurants and bars. When they do:

47% say they rely most on the internet, including:

  • 36% on search engines.
  • 16% specialty websites.
  • 1% rely on social network sites like Twitter.

31% rely most on newspapers, of which only 2% rely on the online version.

22% rely most on word of mouth from family and friends.

8% rely most on local TV, either broadcasts or the websites of local stations.

5% rely most on local radio.

What is more, of the 55% who look up information for a local restaurant, bar or club, the online numbers increase a few percent.

51% percent of people turn to the internet including:

  • 38% on search engines.
  • 16% on specialty websites.
  • 3% on social media (e.g. Twitter).

Of the 31 percent rely on newspapers, 5% rely on the online version.

Keep in mind when you are reading these numbers that people can fill in more then one option, majority of the people didn’t but some put in Twitter and Social Websites in addition to Search Engines. They were later polled about news and information about local businesses other then restaurants and bars.  The research shows that 47 percent of people rely most on the internet for information. One interesting thing that I found in this survey was that 55 percent of adults that search for their results online via search engines are more likely to be women, young adults, urban and technology adopters, 60 percent of which are tech users.

How can we as online marketers take advantage of this information? You need to take your business online.

You need to market it to every local citation site out there.  Sites like Google Place, Yelp, Yellow Pages, City Search, and many other sites will help boost your rankings.

There are 1000’s of local Google Places like sites. When you list your information on these sites make sure that you are listing everything exactly the same. Make sure that your address, phone number, and all information is the SAME across the board. This will help you rank better and come up above your competitors. If anything is different, it will not help you as much as if everything is exactly the same across the board.

Local business could use this information to set up local PPC campaigns.  Buy bidding on their own branded keywords and keywords that people will be searching for they can get more customers coming into their local business at a cheap affordable cost. Google has set up AdWords Express, an easy way for local merchants to set up a PPC campaign and not have to manage it a ton.  They have also put together Dynamic Search Ads, allowing them to index your site and bid to potential customers on relevant links.

Source: Search Engine Watch