By Brandon Honeycutt
A well-designed website is a vital yet commonly overlooked part of marketing a business. With search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing gradually replacing traditional print directories, a phone-book listing just isn’t worth what it used to be. Today’s consumers want to find what they’re looking for fast and are turning to search engines, which can retrieve results much faster than flipping through a phone book.
A poll taken by PollDaddy.com revealed some surprising statistics on the steady decline of phone-book use. According to the poll, 20 percent of people rarely use the phone book, 76 percent never use the phone book, and only 4 percent definitely use the phone book on a regular basis. While some may still consider these print directories valuable marketing tools, others have chosen to cut their phone-book listings completely and reallocate marketing dollars to more effective advertising mediums, such as website optimization and online advertising.
The percentage of Internet users who use search engines varies by study, so it’s difficult to define the exact percentage. However, a 2008 report released by TNS Global Market Research titled “Digital World, Digital Life” stated 81 percent of Internet surfers used search engines to find what they were looking for.
There were 1.73 billion Internet users worldwide as of September 2009, according to Internet World Stats. When you do the math, it equates to approximately 1.4 billion people using search engines to find what they need. Compare that to the world population of around 6.7 billion, and that means nearly 21 percent of the Earth’s inhabitants is using online search engines. Keep in mind this number reflects the entire population of the world, including impoverished and underprivileged nations with little or no Internet activity. North America, with approximately 252,908,000 Internet users, is near the top of the scale, coming in third after Asia (738,257,230) and Europe (418,029,796).