Local search marketing isn’t just an agency buzzword. According to digital marketing company RevLocal, less than half of local businesses (44 percent) are tracking the ROI of their local search marketing – even though 75 percent of them have invested in it. The study, released today, July 27, polled over 500 business decision makers and revealed some common challenges that local businesses face in search marketing.

A Google study revealed that local search results do have an impact on consumers: half of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphones visited a store the same day. Nearly one in ten of those searches led to a same-day purchase, the Google study found. Small businesses aren’t ignoring digital marketing or local search marketing, but nearly two-thirds are spending less than $500 per month on digital advertising, RevLocal found. The majority are investing in SEO and social media – nearly six in ten – but only 36 percent invest in review marketing.

There is good news, however: 95 percent of these business owners plan to increase or maintain their digital marketing budgets next year. They know there is ROI; the trouble can be finding it.

“Local businesses need to do more with less, and search marketing is no exception,” said Aaron Boggs, president of RevLocal, in a press release. “Our study shows what we have known to be true, local businesses understand that digital marketing should be a priority, but the market is fragmented and results are unclear.”

Decoding: Local Search Marketing

Local search marketing is a special type of SEO that focuses on highlighting a business’s local presence online. So, if your business sells consumer widgets locally, you would be optimizing for “Anytown, USA widgets” instead of just “widgets.” The goal is to not only show up in Google search results but also in search results near a particular location.