Local Search and Mobile Technology
Every day, the number of consumers that use their cell phone for browsing the web grows by leaps and bounds. Research is showing that a growing amount of cell phone internet usage is dedicated to local search and is second only to searching for sports scores or sports news. While the technology is advancing, it is still, often times, impractical to browse the internet on your cell phone for any extended period of time. Pages take longer to load than on a laptop or desktop and as a result, cell phone users don’t dig as deep into search results as the casual user at home. What does all this mean for local search? It means that if your listing isn’t located on the first or second page, it might as well not exist to a mobile browser. To capture this growing market, you must work to improve your search engine ranking or risk losing thousands of dollars in potential revenue.
You might be asking yourself, “What can I do to optimize my website and increase traffic?” Search engine optimization is a big part of the equation. Just as you would optimize your website for regular search results, there are also website optimization practices that can help you improve your rankings in local search. Below are 3 questions you should ask yourself about your website and how it relates to your ranking in the local search engines.
1. How would a user get to my store? First and foremost, make sure that your store’s address clearly labeled on every page of your website to ensure that the local search engines index as many pages as possible. A good way to do this is to embed your address into your site’s header or footer. Also, including a “Map Page” or a page with driving directions will help the search engines accurately locate your business, increasing the chances of a top ranking in the search engines.
2. Would a user want to come to my store? Do not underestimate the power of a positive review, or even a review in general. Search engines like Google and Yahoo! have reputations on the line and they want the best possible matches at the top of their listings. If the local search engines see that customers are talking about your store in a positive way, they will be more likely to move your listing up to the top of the search results.
3. Do the Search Engines know that I exist? Make sure that you sign up for a Google business account or online yellow pages listings like Info USA or NavTeq, which is where Yahoo! gathers its information from. This is an excellent opportunity to basically knock on the door of the local search engines and say “Here I am!”
Better Local Search Rankings
Answering these 3 questions and taking steps to optimize your website is the first step towards better local search engine rankings. There are also search engine optimization companies out there who can assist you with some of the finer points of website optimization. Do not take local search for granted, especially in this day and age with mobile browsing becoming increasingly popular.