The study found that 33% of consumers consider the Yellow Pages as their primary source of local information—and a whopping 90% of those using search say that the Yellow Pages are “still a valuable source for shopping information,” as reported by MediaPost. Despite that concession, 60% of consumers turn to the Internet first for local shopping and business information, with half of those consumers turning to a major search engine, more than a quarter heading straight for Internet Yellow Pages and the rest going right to local search sites like Citysearch.
Stuart McKelvey, CEO of TMP Directional Marketing, a local SEO company, stated:
Anecdotally, some of our largest clients have gotten the highest ROI from their investments in IYP [Internet Yellow Pages]. But there’s not enough volume there to warrant a dramatic shift in local marketing dollars.
An obvious reason for this apparent lack of volume: the study also found that 61% of local searchers go online to make a purchase, but only 6% of them actually complete the purchase online. 40% come in to a brick-and-mortar to convert. And unless your cookies can follow you to the store, you’re probably not going to be able to tell them what keyword you used to find their store.
Of course, there’s one important short-coming to this study: comScore panelists are more likely to be heavy Internet users. With $15 billion still being spent on paper directories and only $9 billion on the emerging local search industry, it will probably still be an uphill battle for you to convince potential local clients of local SEO’s necessity.