What types of search engine results do you trust the most? That's one of the questions posed by researchers of the 15miles/Localeze Local Search Usage Study, conducted by comScore.
This extensive study looked at a variety of trends to report on the rapidly changing local media habits of consumers - specifically the shift from traditional media outlets to digital and mobile options.
One trend researchers touched upon was the fact that local search listings have become the most relevant and trustworthy form of search results for consumers. Local search results are a product of searches for stores or services in specified areas on search engines such as Google or Bing. A couple of examples - "Pizza near Reston, Virginia," or "Dentists in Cambridge, Massachusetts." Performing searches like these pulls results from companies in your area that have a registered Google Places page, and displays them above organic search results, giving you the option to choose which local company to purchase from.
Researchers attempted to gauge which type of search result consumers trusted the most - local, organic or paid - by providing respondents with an example picture of all three types of results on one page. They were then asked which section of the page they felt contained the most relevant and trustworthy information.
It was found that local search results were chosen "nearly two to one" over organic, while paid results finished third for both questions.
"Online searchers do not believe paid results or even general search results are as relevant or trustworthy as local search results," the news source states. Specifically, 61 percent of searchers felt local search was more relevant, while on the other end of the spectrum just 10 percent felt the same about paid search. In terms of trust, 58 percent considered local search to be the most trustworthy, compared to just 9 percent for paid search.
When a local search is performed, searchers are typically looking for quick reference points to contact the companies listed, such as addresses and phone numbers. However, Search Engine Watch points to an SMB DigitalScape study which found that 60 percent of small to medium-sized businesses fail to list a phone number on their homepage. This can be especially damaging in mobile searches, when consumers already have a phone in hand, ready to call.