The importance of local search listings has been given even greater exposure with a recent study from UK firm BrightLocal.
The results of two online surveys about local consumer behaviour and local SEO found that Google Places is the most popular source for local searchers (not surprising).
The surveys were conducted in Q1 2011. There were more than 600 SEO survey respondents and 1,250 US consumer survey respondents respectively.
Here’s how the SEO respondents ranked the top sources of traffic to their clients’ sites:
Google really does dominate when it comes to driving traffic to local websites. 58% of visitors to local sites come directly from Google Places and Google.com. Yahoo, Bing and Facebook also have some influence, although very small. The graph below outline the main traffic sources for local business websites.
One surprising find from the study is the degree to which images seem to matter to consumers. 60% of the consumers surveyed said that if an image is included in the businesses local listing then they are more likely to contact that business.
Local searches are certainly very popular. The consumer survey found that 31% of consumers use Google daily or weekly to find local businesses. In fact, almost 60% of consumers use Google every month to find local businesses.
So, what’s the moral of the story? If you’re listing doesn’t include any images, it might pay to update it. If you don’t have a local listing yet, then now is a good time to get one.