Content marketing can help small businesses establish trust.

A survey conducted by GroupM Search and Compete found that 73 percent of online buyers’ shopping-related search queries were generic references to products or services, indicating that consumers conduct research without a specific vendor or manufacturer in mind. Small businesses can leverage this trend by using search-friendly content marketing that speaks to the value of their services to draw web traffic. The survey suggests quality content that is optimized for online search can help SMBs compete with bigger businesses for relevant clicks (and leads) on the web.

According to the survey, more than 72 percent of search referrals to retail stores came from search queries lacking a company or brand name. Businesses using SEO campaigns to improve their search traffic should focus on developing informational content, rather than articles focused heavily on their company or the brand names they sell.

Even if SMBs worry that they won’t be the first site consumers find, Compete and GroupM Search found that the increasing number of searchers that rely on generic product terms are more likely to research multiple businesses before making a purchase. According to the survey, these shoppers click on 2.6 more organic search links than those who searched for specific businesses’ products.

While the ecommerce market is expanding rapidly, the web has become just as much of a research channel for those who prefer to buy in-store. A separate study from the e-Tailing Group suggests that 84 percent of people believe a combination of in-store and web shopping is ideal for them. Moreover, many became frustrated when businesses they planned to buy from lack detailed product information on their websites, including product availability.