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Why the Mobile Experience Matters for Local Search

March 06, 2019 by Eternity
Tags: Design

In today’s mobile-first world, it is safe to assume that your customers are finding you through their mobile phones. Smartphones and mobile devices are the center of our modern existence, and we look to them for solutions to the problems we encounter throughout the day.

Today, if the average person runs into an unexpected or unforeseen problem to which they need an urgent solution, you can bet they are turning to their mobile devices instead of rushing to the office or waiting till they get home in order to use the desktop.

What does this mean for local SEO strategy? It means you stand a better chance of making more impact by optimizing for the changing landscape caused by the dominance of mobile devices.

Mobile’s Role in the Customer Journey

To get a better understanding of just how large the influence of mobile looms over the search engine landscape, take a look at a few key consumer insights which Google has shared over the last 2 years to highlight mobile’s role in shaping the customer journey:

  • Google’s “…shopping near me” searches have grown over 200% over the last 2 years.
  • Search volumes for “…near me” terms and phrases have grown over 500% since 2015.
  • Over the past 2 years, “…near me now” mobile search volume has grown over 150%.
  • Over the last 2 years, “Where to buy…” search terms have grown over 85%.

In other words, engaging today’s customer requires a mobile-first approach.

How Mobile Differs from Desktop and Why This Matters for Local Businesses

People will do their research before making a purchase decision, but the device they use for research makes all the difference.

Desktops which are usually used at home and in the office where people have time to sit down and research, tend not to lead to instant purchase decisions.

Mobile searches, on the other hand, tend to be used for instant needs—on the go type-situations.

During these instant searches over mobile—a period termed “moment of relevance”—searchers tend to trust top Maps results; and for this reason descriptive Google My Business listings now feature more prominently in local search than ever before.

The top 3 business listings get featured in the Maps section which heavily influences the buyer’s journey, making it an enviable position to be in.

Next Steps:

Google My Business Is No Longer Just an Option

Google My Business and its impact on customer search behavior is now too critical to be ignored. As a local business, you need to take advantage of the massive buyer’s intent by creating complete Google My Business profiles.

NAP and User Experience Are Crucial to SEO

Inconsistent NAP can frustrate searchers looking for you over mobile and potentially lose you leads. Ensure that your NAP is consistent across the internet, and that people in urgent need of your services can reach you with the least hassle.

Avoid Using Long Keywords for Mobile

According to Search Engine Watch, the click-through rate is higher for short tail keywords than for long tails over mobile.

Use Mobile Ad Extensions

With the fierce competition that comes with short-tail keywords, paid search is a good way to get ahead. Ways you can enhance the impact of paid search on your local SEO include: using of location extensions to emphasize geographical proximity; introducing a click-to-call button to allow customers reach you easily; and providing sitelink extensions to present options for where searchers can get answers to their questions.

The impact of mobile on local search is steadily growing. If you intend taking advantage of this trend and driving local traffic to your business, it is time to start turning your attention improving the mobile experience your website offers.

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