What is the Value of Online Search? You Might be Surprised at the Cost.

Pretend someone offered you a sum of money to give up using search engines for a whole year. How much would it take for you to close the laptop, put down your phone and turn off the tablet? According to a 2018 study that asked this question, the median figure was lower than you might think: about $17,500.

If you break down $17,500 by 365 days in a year, you’re left with about $48 a day. If that number seems outrageously low to you, you’re likely someone who relies on search engines regularly, whether it’s searching Google for a place to eat or looking up the phone number for a local mechanic. Is losing this level of convenience worth saving $48 a day? Probably not.

Other figures from the study are equally skeptical. Participants said they’d need about $8,500 to give up email, $3,500 for GPS and maps, $1,150 for video streaming, $850 for access to ecommerce and just over $300 to leave social media behind. Coming out of a pandemic year filled with binge streaming and heavy reliance on ecommerce, it’s safe to say people would need much higher amounts to give up the digital resources they rely on today.

Now, consider this. Global search ad revenues are set to hit $171.6 billion in 2021. Still think a meager $17,500 is enough to compensate you for a year without search engines? The fact is, advertisers would likely pay you much more to keep you searching!

The power of digital resources

Major advertisers aren’t the only ones who rely heavily on search engines and digital accessibility. Businesses big and small have made the internet their home, and they rely on search engines to funnel traffic to them daily. For many businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, the pivot to online selling was a survival measure, yet they’re finding new opportunities daily by tapping into an ecosystem that sees 5.6 billion searches each day.

As businesses branch out online and begin to capitalize on search traffic, they’re also discovering tools to help them target relevant searchers. Google has made it easy for all types of businesses to get themselves up and running online through resources like Google Search Console, Google Analytics, Google Ads and Google My Business (GMB). From search engine optimization (SEO) to pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, it’s easier than most businesses realize to turn the power of search engines into business success.

The best part? Outside of direct advertising, most of these resources are completely free. It costs nothing to set up a business profile through GMB or look at Google Analytics to understand the most-searched terms that apply to your website. All it takes is an investment of time. By taking the initiative to explore and understand these tools, business owners can drive local search visibility, manage their digital reputation, advertise their strongest offers and stay in touch with customers.

How to make the most of search engine tools

Google My Business is the first place for any business to start, because it establishes your presence on relevant search engine results pages (SERPs). Configured properly and kept up to date, GMB is your first and best opportunity to get in front of searchers. It also includes your business’s most pertinent information, including website link, hours of operation, social media links and even FAQs about your products or services.

Keep reading: 7 Google My Business Tips to Accelerate Your Local SEO Efforts

Once your GMB is up and running, Google Analytics and Google Search Console are worth exploring. They’ll tell you which search terms and queries your profile shows up in most, allowing you to capitalize on them better. You can take the SEO route and optimize your website for those keywords, or put some money behind PPC ads to target those searchers at the top of SERPs. SEO is a long-term, sustainable strategy for SERP dominance; PPC is all about capturing high-intent searchers for instant visibility. Both build-to-win and pay-to-play strategies are equally important.

Wondering why so many of these tools are affordable, accessible and easy to learn? Because search engines benefit from both businesses and searchers. It’s in their best interest to make them as simple and accessible as possible. As a result, there are more than a few resources to help even the smallest teams get up and running online.

Digital search goes further than you think

If you’re someone who’d take the $17,500 to give up search engines for a year, you probably don’t know exactly what you’re giving up. For example, if you have an Amazon Echo device, you might not realize that Alexa is powered by Bing behind the scenes. No more asking Alexa to find you recipes or what the capital of Uzbekistan is! The same goes for Siri and other voice assistants—that data needs to come from somewhere. About a third of all search engine queries now come through these types of in-home devices.

The fact is, people rely on search engines, which means businesses need to capitalize on them. According to a research study by Forrester, 71% of consumers begin their buying journey using a search engine to find new products or services. In addition, over 90% of customers reported using search at every stage of their search for a new product or service. Digital search is a ubiquitous part of life these days. We’re slowly getting to the point where it might be impossible to put a price on giving it up—for customers and businesses alike.

Ready to begin your search advertising journey, but aren’t sure where to start? Give AlphaGraphics Pittsburgh a call at 412.261.1300 or contact us to get started today!

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