44% of US Adults Research SMBs Online

Does small business reputation management matter? I think so. It’s right near the top of my SEO Success Pyramid as one of the last “steps” to earning trust in your business.

The Pew Research Project has put the value of small business reputation management into numbers:

44% of online adults say they have searched online for information about someone whose services or advice they seek in a professional capacity, like a doctor, lawyer or plumber


That stat comes from a Pew study on reputation management and social media. Pew says the number would be higher, too, if not for age differences: Only 23% of Internet users 65 and older research small businesses online. Take them out and the overall number goes up to some degree.

What type of people are most likely to research businesses online? Here’s what the study says:

  • College grads – 58%
  • Higher income groups – 58% of people who make $75,000 or more
  • White internet users – 46%
  • Parents – 49%
  • Broadband users – 49%
  • Wireless users – 50%
  • Social networking users – 56%

If you haven’t recently done a search for your business name, personal name, or the names of important people in your small business … might be a good time to do it. A lot of potential customers are.

The Pew study is quite interesting and I wrote more about it on Search Engine Land tonight. You can also download the PDF yourself.

Comments (3)

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  1. Mick Johnson says:

    I think in the informed society we live in, it’s unwise to believe that people will just take what you say at face value. We all research products before we buy, looking for the best price, positive reviews, etc, so why wouldn’t we do the same for services that we buy – it’s better to find out that the lawyer you’re about to hire has a string of complaints against them before you take them on! It just goes to highlight how important it is to use restraint when posting on forums and blogs – you never know who’s going to read it a year or two down the line!!

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