These days, SEO buzz isn’t just around general search – more specifically, it’s about local search. People don’t need to go online and do extensive research to find major national and global brands like Amazon and Wal-Mart. They already know about those. But people do need to conduct searches when they’re looking for specific local interests. Where can I get lunch in my neighborhood? Where can I do my Christmas shopping on the west side of town? People face these questions on a daily basis.
Usually, that means they take out their mobile devices and start searching. So what can you, as a business, do to take advantage? Today I’ll discuss the importance of the local mobile search as we approach 2015, and look for some strategies to capitalize on this growing trend.
The value of local search
Local search is becoming a bigger and bigger part of people’s lives over time. Eventually, as we all come to own mobile devices (it’s been estimated that across the world, more people now own smartphones than toothbrushes), we all realize how convenient it is to make mobile searches on the go. You’re walking down the street, you have a certain need, and boom – you can pull out your phone and find it within seconds.
EMarketer recently released a few projections regarding the present and future of the mobile search climate. The most impressive fact was this – according to Google’s latest estimates, 20 percent of searches across all platforms worldwide now have a specific local intent. In other words, people today aren’t just asking, “Where can I buy this book?” They’re asking, “Where can I find it within 10 miles of my home?”
Obviously, if you’re the one running that bookstore within 10 miles of that person’s home, this means it’s time for you to take action. You’ve got to put yourself out there and allow the mobile searchers to find you – the future of your business depends on it.
Investment is on the rise
The truth is, though, that making your brand prominent in local mobile searches isn’t going to be free. You’ll need to put in a little bit of investment capital if you want to be at the top of everyone’s search results pages.
Marketing Land noted that nationwide, spending on mobile ads is rapidly rising. In 2013, it accounted for $4.92 billion in total revenue – which sounds like an exorbitant amount of money, but it was only 24.7 percent of total U.S. ad spending. The mobile slice of the pie is growing over time – mobile will account for 50.1 percent of all ad dollars in 2015, 62.9 percent in 2016, 70.5 percent in 2017 and 76.7 percent in 2018.
Will you want your business to account for a tiny sliver of that enormous slice? If so, you’ll need to think about how. You might begin by promoting your presence on popular mobile platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Yelp. You may even want to go all-out and hire an in-house staff member or two dedicated to SEO. Whatever course of action you take, you want it to pay off in the long run.
SEO makes a difference
The key to maximizing your return from mobile searches is thinking about search engine optimization. You want to think ahead, envision what types of searches people will use to find your business, and then stuff your mobile presence with content that’s exactly what people are looking for.
A large part of this effort is about keywords. What will people look up in order to find your business? You need to use a mix of both simple short-tail keywords (for example, “lunch”) and more intricate long-tail terms (like, “Where can I find a Korean barbecue sandwich on Williams Street?”). People use both types of searches, so you’ll need to vary your strategy.
Interestingly, The Moz Blog noted that you should keep making progress with SEO, even if your work doesn’t appear to be paying off. It’s often difficult to gauge how much luck you’re having with mobile searches, because the search doesn’t always lead to a sale in the conventional sense – i.e., someone clicks a link and buys something immediately. Instead, they do things like search out a business via mobile, then come in and shop in person. That’s harder to measure.
Despite this difficulty, the fact remains – investing in mobile search results will pay off, to some degree. It’s the way business is done in 2014 and will continue that way for years.
Emphasize your local flavor
Another good piece of advice is this – if you want to be appealing in local searches, make sure you can provide content that’s appealing at a local level. One thing you can do is make your website and social profile reflect the culture of your area. So whether you’re running a business in a bustling business district in midtown Manhattan, or a hipster-friendly neighborhood in San Francisco, or a small town in rural Nebraska, you’ll always want your brand to be a good fit with your local clientele.
You also want to provide basic information that’s valuable to local people. Things like – where are your nearest locations? What items do you have in stock? Are you open weekends? If this information is easily available to people in your area, consumers should eventually take notice.
What are you doing to keep up in today’s fast-paced, always-mobile business era? Are people searching for – and finding – your business?