From my experience as an SEO and business consultant, search results are typically several months ahead of sales trends, meaning that they can affectively predict the near future of sales.

Why does this happen? It makes complete sense if you think about it for a second. When you buy something substantial, most of the time you don’t just do it on a whim. The time lag between search results and sales trends is showing that people are researching before they actually make the purchase.

Is there any way that you can use this information to plan for the future and increase your overall business? Yes and yes. In fact, there are many ways that you can take advantage of the data from your site’s traffic as well as your local internet advertising results to serve your customers better. Just consider if you are a retailer the advantage this information can give you in retail marketing, promotions, and inventory management.

Educating people should come before selling them.
This should be standard practice in internet marketing overall, but your goal is a slow build to a sale. This involves providing customers with quality information and positioning yourself as a trusted expert. All the while, you should slowly incorporate more information that pertains to your product and business in order to “convert” them from a prospect into a sale.

For instance, if someone arrives on your site after clicking on your local internet advertising, you can bring them directly to resources like white papers, information videos, and blogs that educate them on their particular issue and then guides them to the right product or service to solve it.

The more you can do in these early stages to show that you know how to solve their need and that your products really are the best – without pushing the sale! – the more likely you are to get what you want in the end.

Promote new and emerging products.
If you know that most of the people currently researching won’t be buying anything for a month or two, it gives you a great opportunity to promote things in advance. This might be a recently released product that isn’t quite as popular as your sales leader yet, something that is set to come out shortly, or even an event that’s on the horizon.

You can focus on hot items by adjusting your local internet advertising campaign, tweaking your home page, and even changing up the layout of your brick and mortar location. By doing this now, you’re increasing the likelihood that more people will make purchases or be around for those things a few months down the road.

Manage your stock more efficiently.
If you have a product that’s inherently seasonal (swimming trunks or road salt, say), you probably have a pretty good idea when you should order more and when you can ease up. Unfortunately, most businesses don’t have that kind of clarity. Except that, by analyzing search results, we kind of do.

If you notice that lots of people are searching for a particular product or clicking through your local internet advertising for a particular service, it’s smart to increase your inventory for the likely sales you’re going to get in the upcoming months. Conversely, a lower number of searches or click-throughs are evidence that you might want to slow down and try to get rid of the stock you have before ordering more.