Approximately 40 percent of all mobile searches on Google have local intent, and that number is only growing. In the mobile age, consumers are relying on their mobile devices to search for local products and services, which presents a major opportunity for local businesses.
Local businesses must have an effective mobile search strategy in place in order to take advantage of this opportunity. This begins with having a mobile-optimized website followed by a local search strategy.
Have a Mobile-Optimized Web Site
A mobile-optimized website is essential to an effective mobile search strategy for two reasons.
Mobile-optimized websites make it easier for users to convert into customers.
A poor mobile experience can hurt your brand’s reputation.
Let’s dig a little deeper.
With desktop sites, a great user experience increases the probability that users will convert into customers. The same holds true with mobile sites.
Sixty-seven percent of mobile users say they’re more likely to buy a product or service from a site that is mobile-friendly, according to Google. This is because a positive mobile experience that allows users to easily find the information they’re looking for (e.g., a phone number, location, or office hours) significantly increases the likelihood that they will convert into a customer.
Protect Your Brand’s Reputation
Navigating a desktop site on a mobile device is frustrating, and users will look elsewhere if presented with this option. In addition to losing customers, neglecting to have a mobile-optimized website in place can also hurt your brand’s reputation. In fact, 52 percent of users report that a poor mobile experience will make them less likely to engage with that brand in the future.
This means that not having a mobile-optimized website can negatively impact your future business as well.
In sum, a mobile-optimized website will increase conversions, and can also both protect and improve perception of your company’s brand. Now, we just have to get mobile users to your site.
Implement a Local Search Strategy
A search strategy that targets a specific location is essential for businesses that rely on a local customer base. Mobile local search volume will outpace desktop local search volume in 2015, according to BIA/Kelsey.
Here are two local search strategies that local businesses can use to take advantage of this opportunity.
An SEO campaign that targets a specific location is one of the absolute most effective ways to ensure potential customers can find your business when performing a mobile search. A well-executed local SEO strategy means that you have both a website that is optimized for location specific keyword terms, as well as optimized local business listings, such as Google+ Local and Bing Local.
An effective local SEO campaign will ensure that your website is visible to users who perform a local search on their mobile device for the products or services you provide. Because mobile users are typically on the run and viewing a small screen, being listed at the top of the search results page is essential.
This is where Google+ Local and Bing Local listings come in. Google and Bing have allocated the top of their search results pages to local listings, when a search has local intent. So, it is necessary to have a Google+ Local and Bing Local listing in order to take advantage of the valuable real estate at the top of these search results pages.
In addition to having a presence in organic search, having a presence in paid search can be equally as effective. The key is making sure your PPC campaign is set up to target the specific location you serve. Including your phone number and location in the PPC ad itself will allow mobile users to easily click to call or click for directions to your location.
Because the real estate on smart phones is very small, PPC ads are either shown at the top or bottom of the search results page. So, it’s important to test and monitor your ad rankings to make sure your ads are being shown at the top of the search results page.
Combining SEO and PPC into a single local mobile search strategy can result in your site being listed three times or more for mobile searches that apply to your business. This would include your local business listing, a listing in the traditional search results, and a PPC ad. For this reason, the most effective local search strategy would leverage both local SEO and local PPC.
For local businesses to take advantage of the mobile local trend, you must implement a local search strategy that enables mobile users to easily find your website when performing a mobile search, and have a mobile-optimized website in place that allows mobile users to easily find the information they’re looking for once they find you.