Terrific Time For Traffic – More Than Ever Search Before Buying

According to Pew Research, 58% of Americans Have Researched a Product or Service Online, 21% as recent as yesterday. This is based on September 2010 Study Data. You can bet the numbers are higher in now, in December 2011. Simply put, more people than ever search before buying.

Today, more than ever, businesses and consumers use the Internet to search before buying. There is an abundance of third party data from the analysts to back this up, not to mention your own life’s experience.

The implication to businesses is that investing now in the search channel (paid and organic) to market your products and services on the Internet is critical to your business’ future success. In fact, according to Pew Research, 58% of Americans Have Researched a Product or Service Online, 21% as recent as yesterday.

To emphasize this how important this is, let me cite a quote from Jim Jansen, Senior Fellow, Pew Research Center “Many Americans begin their purchasing experience by doing online research to compare prices, quality, and the reviews of other shoppers.”

The pew project found that in September of 2010, 21% of study participants said yes to the following statement: “I used a search engine to conduct product or service research yesterday” This was up from 15% in September of 2007, 13% from Feb 2005 and only 9% in February of 2004.

This increase reliance on search engines to inform purchases has likely accelerated  in 2011.

Search has become much more deeply integrated into our work and personal lives, especially as it relates to shopping, finding places to eat on the run, scanning bar codes in brick and motar stores and within seconds, finding out if the same product is available at a better price close by. Amazing Amazon Bat Man! As you can imagine, not all businesses are supporters as broad adoption of this kind of capabilities is changing the rules of the game as it relates to pricing and its impacts on margins, but like it or not, that is the world we compete in.

business person performing an online search before buying
Search before buying

To make the conversion more personal, think of how you use search engines and mobile applications to make your shopping more efficient and effective. I believe that if asked today to provide a response to the statement: “I used a search engine to conduct product or service research yesterday” that the number of yes response today would be as high as 25% or perhaps even higher. Even if searchers ultimately end up making their purchase in a store, many of us start our fact-finding and decision-making on the Internet. Your personal experience will likely corroborate this.

Further evidence of consumer reliance on search engines in making purchase decisions was recently presented at a HubSpot webinar called the Science of SEO, during which Dan Zarrella presented data showing over 50% of survey respondents asked “How often do you make purchase decisions based on information found through web searches?” Well over half responded once a month which jives with the data from Pew. You get the idea.

The implication to businesses is clear. If your website does not rank on first page in either the natural (organic/non paid) search results, or the pay for placement search results, then it is likely not to be considered. Studies have show that as many as 75% of searchers never navigate beyond the first page of the search results.

With over half of shoppers relying on search engines to inform a purchase decision at least once per month, businesses who want to remain competitive need to factor in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as part of their overall Internet marketing strategy.

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Rick Noel is an experienced digital marketer enabling businesses and organizations to grow through the Internet, while maximizing marketing ROI (Return On Investment). Rick is the CEO and Co-Founder of eBiz ROI, Inc., a full-service digital marketing agency located in Ballston Lake, NY.

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