A Quick Guide to Optimizing for Local Search on Mobile

Written by: Jason Bayless | December 15, 2016
Today’s online audience looks vastly different from the audience of even a few years ago. For example, today there is a small but growing percentage of folks who use their mobile device – and only their mobile device – to access the internet.

As well, as of Fall 2015, Google announced that more individuals are using small screen devices to access the internet than desktop computers. What this all adds up to is simple: if you haven’t yet optimized your website for mobile-based local search results, now is a great time to do it.

This post offers a quick guide to optimizing your site for local searches on mobile devices.

Meet Your Customers Where They Are Online
When the average individual grabs their phone to browse the internet, there is a 75 percent chance they are searching for information about a local business or service.

If they are looking for your company, you want to be sure they can find you! Here is what to do:

Complete your Google business listing. Fill in all fields, from phone number and website to hours of operation and driving directions. Choose accurate categories and photos if possible. Imagine you are a customer – what might you be looking for? Then make sure you provide that information in your business listing.

Be sure your business location information is correct in every place you are listed online. Not only will such consistency earn you a higher ranking in Google search engine results, but it will stave off the kind of bad first impressions that can only be made when a customer follows Google Maps directions and gets lost trying to find your location!

Cultivate Google reviews. While there is always the outside chance of a negative review, so long as you are on your game and providing excellent service, chances are good that accumulating Google reviews will only help your business in an online setting. A recent Nielsen survey revealed that a full 92 percent of prospects will trust another customer’s review over any form of paid advertising that comes from the company itself.

Don’t forget to include your website! It is amazing how many companies forget something so simple yet so essential when completing their online business listings. Your website helps Google improve what it displays in search results and it helps potential customers trust that you are a legitimate, trustworthy business.

Choose the Best Keywords to Boost Local Search Results
Over the last year or so, there has been a resurgence of interest in long-tail keywords (longer search phrases that contain more detail). But for mobile-based local searches, the short keyword or key phrase is what you want to aim for. Mobile users that are typing on small screen keypads aren’t typically going to type in long search phrases to find what they are looking for when a word or two will do.

This means that when you are crafting landing pages, ad copy, blog posts and other marketing text and graphics, you want to optimize each piece for short key words and key phrases. Google’s AdWords Keywords Planner tool is a great resource to help you identify the optimal key words.

Ensure Your Site is Mobile-Friendly and Speedy
Once a mobile user has performed a browser search and has located your company, it is time to reel them in and make a sale. This is not a good time for sluggish load speeds or website buttons that don’t respond to tap-touch interaction!

You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool to find out where you need to improve your website’s performance and speed on mobile devices.

By understanding how local searches differ from general online searches, you can optimize your business listings and website performance to appeal to the local customers you want to reach.