Converting your business’ site to a mobile-friendly platform can be inexpensive and immediately set you apart from your competition. However, it’s only a matter of time until every relevant business will have a site fully optimized for mobile. If you don’t start taking advantage of this opportunity (quite literally) at your fingertips, your local search competitors will, and your business will begin missing out on valuable web traffic and new customers.
Last year we learned from Google’s research that four out of five consumers look for local services and products using a search engine. Then, it was reported on smartinsights.com that mobile digital media time has actually surpassed desktop media time among adults in the U.S.
This tells us that more people conduct searches for local products and services online, so your website needs to be optimized for local search. Since majority of those search will occur on mobile devices, your business absolutely needs to be building mobile-friendly version of your website – to provide customers and prospects with a user experience that caters to them.
Mobile optimization should actually be your priority over desktop optimization since mobile media time usage in the U.S. has surpassed desktop time. Mobile searches are growing in popularity, and with the ability to search always at our fingertips, they happen faster. Therefore, it’s safe to assume this trend will only accelerate as people learn to rely more heavily on their mobile devices for answering their search queries.
So, where to begin?
Search Engine Land reports that 78% of mobile searches result in offline purchases. This tells us that while search behavior is changing (from desktop to mobile), there still continues to be this commercial intent.
In fact, search engines are inherently tied to commercialism.
As a local business owner, mobile search is becoming your gold mine. Consumers are ready to spend cash as soon as they open their Google app on their smartphones, whether they realize it or not. The trick is getting them to find your business, and not your competitors, and you’ll watch the dollars roll in.
Optimize for Locals
Mobile searchers want to know location, hours, price, and availability of a product or service. A mobile site needs to be optimized to clearly display your local information to visitors.
Search Engine Land found that 88% of smartphone users and 84% of tablet owners conduct local searches, and “most of those queries were dominated by hours, directions, address and product availability queries.” In addition, 18% percent of local smartphone searches led to a purchase within a day compared to 7% of non-local smartphone searches.
In addition to making your information as clear as possible to consumers, your business also needs to make its info clear to search engines so they can verify your credibility. Your business should have its exact name, address, and phone number (NAP) listed everywhere on the web to build your credibility to search engines.
Your Online Fingerprint
Your NAP is basically your online fingerprint – and your identity to search engines. Google takes this data into account when determining which company to show for geo-targeted searches. Your NAP should be entered on a plethora of directories, including Google Plus, Yelp and FourSquare, among many others.
Building your strong online fingerprint starts by including your company’s name, number, business hours, and full company address in your site’s metadata and within a contact page on your website. You can do this by using a schema markup, which is a code that you put on your website to help the search engines return more informative results for users.
In a survey conducted by BrightLocal this year, more than half the participants polled said a physical address is the most important piece of information when looking for a local business.
In comparison to a study conducted in 2014, desktop users were asked what they were looking for most from their desktop searches. The study found product, price, place and phone as the four most popular elements they were looking for. This shows that more people on mobile platforms are already considering visiting a business and potentially buying (commercial queries), whereas, people on a desktop are more concerned with evaluation of the business, or informational queries.
Having a full address on your mobile site will help search engines to better understand where your business is located and allow your business to appear in a local search. When optimizing mobile SEO, you should include as much pertinent information as you can. More is more in this case!
Make Mobile Keywords Matter
Did you know 62 percent of organic searches show different results on mobile and desktop devices? In order to bring in traffic from mobile searchers, a business needs to employ keywords specific to mobile searchers, which can be different than keywords for PC web searches.
If you’re wondering how to track your mobile keywords to make sure you’re reaching the proper target audience, you should adjust the search query settings in Google Search Console (Previously Google Webmaster Tools) to see which keywords are the ones trending on your site.
On Google Search Console, simply go to Search Traffic > Search Queries on the left-hand navigation. From there, you can change the filters to show “Web” search queries or just “Mobile” search queries.
Remember, your mobile competition may be different than your desktop competition, so make sure you take some time to research your competitors on both SERPs.
Use All Available Resources
If you’re not sure where to start, there are several great resources out there that can help your business be found in local search results, both on desktops and mobile devices.
You can read up on more mobile optimization tips from Moz, or hear Google’s advice on the more back-end specifics like employing responsive web design and dynamic serving to ensure your site will fit within the mobile layout it’s appearing on.
To quickly test the responsiveness of your site, you can enter your domain in this tool and see how your site looks.
Design An Easy-To-Use Site
No one wants to squint around an iPhone, attempting to find a simple answer, digging into a non mobile-friendly site. Trying to pinch a phone screen to minimize or maximize what you’re trying to read in your hand can become a tortuous exercise.
After an experience like that, people will likely remember the frustration of your site, and forget the products or services you were trying to tell them about. If you make it hard on the user, you are making it hard on yourself, as well.
The best websites designed for mobile platforms are much easier to read on a small screen and show only the information that customers need.
Without any room for clutter, well-designed mobile sites help a customer get in and get out without any hassle. If you properly optimize your mobile website, you, as a local business, will be discovered on search engines and have a leg-up against your competitors.
Like I mentioned earlier, having a responsive web design and dynamic serving will be key to your site becoming mobile-friendly.
Don’t let consumers become frustrated by your website while searching on a mobile device.
Think of all the times a mobile-friendly site helped you find the nearest repair shop or car dealer. A consumer on-the-go doesn’t have the time to waste, nor does he or she want to search around for hours.
Get your local business’ site optimized for mobile, and turn those leads into sales!