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Can local businesses make money from search?

"Someone asked me recently whether it’s really possible to make money from search.

And of course, the answer is certainly ‘yes’. But before you scroll on past, the true answer is more subtle than that.

But in there somewhere also should be ‘it depends’.

Search is extremely powerful way of drawing customers with high purchasing intent into a business.


Like all forms of client acquisition, It works better for some types of business than others.

For some businesses, sometimes, organic search will never yield a huge amount of traffic, simply because there isn’t huge search volume for the keyword in question.

(Sometimes that doesn’t matter – because all you have to do is catch the few customers who are searching for that kind of business. And Bingo! If your offer is perfectly tailored for them, the chances of them converting quickly is HIGH. Other times, that may not be the case.)

For today, I’m going to share some information on why local businesses make money from search.

So let’s go all Simon Sinek on your ass and start with the WHY.

WHY do local businesses make money from search?

Well to start with, Google LOVES local businesses.

By ‘local’, I mean businesses that operate in a specific geographical area, and that attract the majority of their clients from within that area.

You know, like when you type in ‘near me’ when you’re looking for something.

This is why ‘local’ matters:

  • 92% of millennials have done a ‘near me’ search

  • 72% of people who search on their phones for something nearby visit a business within a day.

  • 28% of those searches result in a purchase.

  • 46% of all Google searches are local searches

  • 25% of online traffic comes from local searches

  • A whopping 78% of local searches lead to an offline conversion.

‘Local’ matters because it is HELPFUL and RELEVANT. And we know that Google is aiming to present relevant and useful results.

So it stands to reason that geographical location is a big factor in ensuring the right businesses are presented at the moment someone is looking for something.

And now for the ‘how’

How do local businesses make money from search?

Following on from the ‘why’ above, this should be fairly self-explanatory.

If you’re one of the top search results in your area for the services you provide, you should count search traffic as a really important potential revenue source.

Here are some more stats:

  • The top 5 search results typically receive over 70% of all search traffic.

  • The top 3 search results typically receive over 50% of all search traffic.

  • The top 1 search results typically receives over 30% of all traffic.

If a business is outside the top 10, it’s going to be much harder to attract clients from search. (I’ve often heard marketers joke that the best place to hide a dead body is on the second page of Google, which is amusing, if a bit impractical.)

So if you can guarantee this number of clicks from potential customers who are already looking for a solution to a problem and ready to buy, and you happen to be in the top 5 in your local area, you can pretty much guarantee you’re going to be getting customers from search.

And customers, of course, mean money.

So that’s how local businesses can do so well from search. And that’s how they can make money from Google."


My name's Claire and I’m an SEO and content strategy expert. I help startups and ambitious businesses improve their content, so that customers can find your website in search, and so that when they do, they convert.


I’m a former startup CEO, and I’ve worked for some of the world’s biggest publishers (Penguin Random House, Oxford University Press), as well as training with Google's in-house SEO team. I even built a website to attract 45k in organic search visitors/month. Drop me a line if you need help of any kind with SEO and content.


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