6 Tips For Small Business Success In Mobile Local Search

May 3, 2013 Deb Griffith

For brands with small business or franchise partners, one of your biggest headaches is making sure they are taking advantage of every opportunity to gain new local customers and increase your brand awareness. One way to do that is by having an effective mobile web presence. Half of local searches are done today on mobile devices -- to the tune of 50 million a day. As a small business owner or franchisee, you want to make sure that your business is appearing on these searches and you can capture your slice of the business. Here are 6 tips to keep in mind when establishing your mobile presence.

To “Get Found”: Tips to Help Local Businesses Appear on Mobile SERPs

#1 Optimize Social Media Sites, Especially those that Utilize Maps and Geo-location

Many of the top results on the search engine pages for local search are geolocation sites so you want to make sure your business listing is fully and correctly populated. Not coincidentally, these sites also have their own mobile apps, so anyone conducting a local search on their platforms can find you there as well.

  • Facebook
  • Yelp
  • Google+ Local (feeds Google Maps)
  • Foursquare

#2 Mobile SEO Optimization

If you have already optimized your desktop website, you most likely know the importance of identifying the proper keywords, troubleshooting technical issues for your site and populating unique content and metadata. Same rules apply for your mobile site, but the details are slightly different:

  • Conduct separate keyword research for mobile, as users rarely use longtail keywords when searching on the small screen, so make sure you select the proper short ones.
  • Users have a much shorter attention span on their mobile devices, so if your website takes more than 2-3 seconds to load your user may bounce.
  • Your title tags should be limited to 40 characters, description text to no more that 90.

For Your Destination: Website? App? Responsive Design? CONVERSION!

#3 Mobile Website or App?

This one is easy – mobile website for sure. Think about it this way: having a mobile website will help you get found, but a user would already have to know you in order to download and install your app. So while a mobile app is super-cool to have, it won’t help people find you.

#4 Responsive Design or Custom Mobile Site?

Yes AND yes…here’s why.

Responsive is the best (so says Google) if you can build your website properly in CSS3 to ensure proper rendering no matter the device, but only if your webmaster knows how build a site to render properly no matter the device!

Your webmaster may create a website that looks great on a desktop, and in a way that will generate a mobile site as well, but if the proper content isn’t placed on the page in a way that works for your user, your responsive design site will fail. See #5 for what your user should be able to see on the display screen of your mobile site.

So why is responsive design better? Its easier to manage content on just one website and you combine all the inbound link juice you’d normally be splitting to 2 sites. BUT, if you can’t have a site that’s built properly to engage your users, then just bite the bullet and create a custom mobile site for them.

#5 To Make Those Visitors Convert, Don’t Forget the Basics!

Location, location, location! Once a user finds your mobile site, its imperative that you list the following business information (as relevant) on the display screen, or accessible without clicking and very little scrolling. You’d be surprised how many don’t!

  • Phone number, address, business hours, map
  • Click to Call button
  • Click for Directions button
  • Any Offers/Deals to drive them to you immediately

To Measure Your Results: You Probably Know What I’m Going to Say Here…

#6 Code Your Mobile Site with GA

You’ll want to be able to access your mobile website analytics separately from your regular website, so you can measure the results to clearly define the value it delivers. You’ll also be able to differentiate referral data based on the device. Again, you’d be surprised how many mobile websites are launched without analytics!

So keep these tips in mind when building out a local search strategy – GO MOBILE!

Related Content: 
Mobile Websites
Landing Pages
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