With 11.6 billion mobile-connected devices predicted to be roaming the earth by 2020, it is not surprising local searches are being touted as crucial for inbound marketing. For small business owners who haven’t adopted local search and mobile marketing strategies yet, it’s time to change – here’s why.
5 local search statistics that cannot be ignored:
- 30% of search queries performed on mobile devices are locally based.
- 28% of all searches geared towards buying locally result in a purchase.
- 78% of local searches on mobile devices result in offline purchases.
- 72% of buyers that search locally will visit a business within a five-mile radius.
- 50% of mobile local searchers will visit a business within a day of their search.
Three or so years ago, we saw a Google-driven push for mobile responsive website adoption and now almost every business has one. For the second wave of mobile, smaller screens are now the devices of choice for accessing the internet, which in turn impacts Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and other marketing tactics. Rest assured, Google is already addressing this shift via algorithmic changes called “mobile-first indexing.”
These five strategies can help you prepare for changes and realize long-term gains in local and mobile-first inbound marketing:
- Optimize local listings.
Every brick-and-mortar business has the opportunity to control their local listings. I shared how to do this in the articles; Drive More Website Visits With Bing Local Listings and How to Reclaim Your Business Listing on Google. As you’ll see, there’s more to it than just claiming listings – they need to be optimized too.
User-friendly Yoast Local SEO website plugin for WordPress acts as a guide for local optimization of websites by making recommendations. If you don’t use WordPress, speak with your web developer for changes such as:
- Including local search terms i.e.: “Xerox printers in Houston, TX”
- Using local keywords in meta descriptions
- Improving the usability of the “contact us” page
- Adding a map and including text versions of location information.
- Optimize local review site listings.
The importance of review sites is two-fold. First, they have high authority domains so your profiles might rank higher in search results than your website does (making it easier to be found). Secondly, search engines ‘index’ reviews and use them to judge popularity and relevance, which in turn, factor into your search ranking.
Tip: Claim and update your profiles and ask customers for authentic reviews. Here are a few suggested platforms to choose from:
Using a searcher’s location by tracking their device ID and/or IP address to deliver ads and other marketing content is referred to as geo-targeting. These technologies and use cases are developing fast. For example, Denny’s, a US-based restaurant chain tested a campaign whereby they gathered data not about who was nearby at a particular time but rather who visited recently more than once. Then they sent targeted offers based on the assumption that visiting more than once in a certain timeframe equals a satisfied customer.
Denny’s further hypothesized that these happy diners would be receptive to an offer – even if they weren’t near one of their locations at the time they received the offer. The result of the first campaign revealed an 11.6% increase of in-store visits and a second similar campaign netted a 34% increase.
Tip: On a smaller scale, paid ads online can take advantage of location information to display geo-targeted ads and send location-based email offers.
- Backlinks and partnerships.
In The Importance of Content Development in Driving Sales, Leah Quesada, Xerox VP Marketing and Communications, explains in-depth why backlinks are a big factor in search rankings on Google. In short, backlinks are when another website links to your content. Search engines view them as an indication of authority and relevance for ranking.
Developing top-notch content is an invitation for backlinks, so is building content partnerships with other like-minded organizations. Think about your existing business partnerships. Which ones can you approach about trading linked logos or guest blogs to increase backlinks for both organizations and help each other grow?
- Mobile. Mobile. Mobile… indexing.
Since mobile devices have taken over as the main entry point to the internet, it stands to reason search engines are altering algorithms accordingly. User experience is a big factor in the shift. Look critically at your website on a mobile device, is it easy or difficult to navigate? Can the user experience be improved? If so, quickly fix usability and navigational issues before they negatively impact your search rankings.
Page load time on mobile devices is another top ranking factor in mobile-first indexing. It’s driving the adoption of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) which are pages stripped of resource heavy components to decrease load-time without negatively impacting user experience.
Tip: AMP is also a WordPress plug-in that optimizes pages for mobile-first indexing, making it easier for non-developers to stay ahead of the curve.
There is little doubt mobile and local search marketing are important for business growth as technologies continue to augment buyer behavior. Taking steps now to secure your place for local SEO and mobile marketing isn’t just smart, it’s a way to signal to your prospects that you’ll meet them where they are in their buying process whether online or at your business.
 Search engine Optimization Statistics, Hubspot.com https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics
 The Rise of Mobile: 11.6 Billion Mobile-Connected Devices By 2020, MobileFuture.org, http://mobilefuture.org/the-rise-of-mobile-11-6-billion-mobile-connected-devices-by-2020/
 GeoMarketing 101: What is GeoTargeting, GeoMarketing.com, http://www.geomarketing.com/geomarketing-101-what-is-geo-targeting
Subscribe to the Small Business Solutions Blog and receive updates when we publish a new article. [wysija_form id=”1″]