Marketers need to optimize their sites for local search because it's where customers are looking for answers.

Local search optimization is becoming a bigger deal for brands that have physical storefronts, and marketers need to optimize their content marketing campaigns to keep their brands visible online. Over half of all Americans have smartphones, and consumers frequently use them to look up information about businesses in their immediate vicinity. On top of that, comScore’s latest report shows there over 17 billion searches taking place every month on desktop computers as professionals identify local vendors and people plan their next shopping trips.

The internet is securing a position as the go-to place to research local businesses, according to survey data from the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project. Conducted in conjunction with the Knight Foundation, the survey asked over 2,000 U.S. adults to discuss the sources (traditional and digital) they use to navigate the world around them. A solid 28 percent said they rely on the internet to find local restaurants and businesses. The study posits this is because the web is a place where consumers can quickly perform due diligence, easily accessing user-generated content to learn whether companies have positive reputations.

An even wider swath of people – 60 percent – go online at least some of the time when they want information about local businesses and restaurants. And when they arrive at local business websites, there are certain kinds of information they expect to find right away. Product lists, pricing information, phone numbers and physical addresses are the most important data companies can include in their web content, Brafton recently reported.

Empowered by the technology at their fingertips, people are turning to the web to make smarter purchase choices. It’s up to marketers to hand-deliver the data needed to get potential customers from a point of discovery to one of decision.

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.