Despite the fact that local listings have basically finished their move from the Yellow Pages to the web, many local businesses are still satisfied with the idea that having a website will get them in front of the maximum number of potential customers. While this mistake probably resulted in missed opportunities when searches via PC ruled the day, it is magnified today as mobile searches now outnumber those executed on PCs.
The opportunity presented by mobile device users for local businesses is highlighted in a variety of studies, particularly one between Google, Ipsos MediaCT and Purchased, which assessed smart phone behavior with over 5,000 users. That study found that 50 percent of mobile device users who search for local businesses end up visiting a physical location within one day. Another study found that 46 percent of searchers use their mobile devices exclusively when doing research on products and services. The net result for local businesses is that missing the mobile consumer could be costing a fortune in missed sales. If you haven’t optimized your site and your content for this new type of consumer, there are three steps to take now.
Answer the questions of mobile users – Mobile users typically pose their search queries as questions, and Google rewards sites that deliver the answers to those questions with higher rankings and visibility. This is a change that went into their ranking algorithm in the second half of 2013, but many local businesses still aren’t aware of it.
Offer great content – Simply composing content that has some relation to your products but focuses more on keywords that used to deliver traffic has been the target of Google algorithm changes for several years. If you’re still using keyword-loaded content on your web pages there are two distinct disadvantages; Google is not paying attention and the mobile users that find you will likely jump to sites that offer a better experience. Instead, Google now surfaces content that is proven to deliver value to searchers and your site has a much better chances of getting valuable backlinks from authority sites.
Re-build your site with responsive design architecture – Delivering a user friendly interface on mobile devices is critical in keeping these searchers on your site after they have landed. Text that is difficult to read, navigation links that are hard to find, and pictures of products that are too small on mobile viewports will typically have users headed for a sight that is mobile friendly. Re-building your site with responsive design architecture can display an optimized interface for mobile users that presents web page information that has been adjusted to the size of the screen of each mobile device.
Local businesses now have a huge opportunity to attract mobile consumers. Make these changes as soon as possible to get in on the action.
Being seen by your customers when they search online for your business, either by category or by name, can make the difference between having them buy from your business and heading off to do business with a competitor that has higher local visibility. Here are 3 steps you can take now to make sure that your business gets seen when local customers search for your products/services.
* Incorporate your location into your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts – Most local inquiries will include the name of a city, county, region, etc. with the product or service that is being searched. For example, people looking for pizza places that are nearest to them in Daytona Beach will use a search term such as “pizza Daytona Beach”. By tailoring your SEO efforts to the most commonly used search terms for your product/service in your local area, your business’ visibility will improve dramatically.
* Claim your listings in local directories – Google’s “Places for Business” and Yahoo’s local directory are two of the major local directories that people use to find local businesses, but there are many others as well. Don’t assume that your business will automatically appear in these listings, even for searches that specify you by name. Claiming your local directory listings and populating them with basic information can usually be accomplished in a couple of minutes, so take the first steps as soon as possible.
* Get social – More people are using social media platforms to find and get recommendations on local businesses. Developing a presence on selected social media sites will raise your business’ visibility and will also contribute to your overall SEO efforts.
More of your customers are using local search every day. Help them find your business by taking these three steps today.