Some 78% of local mobile phone searches result in a sale, comScore’s 2014 Local Search Study revealed. While searches that convert into sales slightly went down for tablets, they edged up for desktop computers. They remained high for smartphones – underlining the consistency of mobile phones as the device of choice for local searchers with the intent to purchase.
We don’t need to state the obvious, but let’s say it anyway: you and your clients need to be visible on local mobile searches if you want to capitalize on this trend. Better yet, you need to come up in searches regardless of what device potential customers and clients use. What can our partner online marketing agencies and consultants do? Read on.
Mobile Phone: Small Device, Big Money
Surprisingly, local searchers do not use their mobile phone as often as they use their desktop PC / laptop or tablet. Research shows that only 79% use their phone for local search. By comparison, 96% use a desktop / laptop and 81% use a tablet. But when it comes to conversion of searches to sales, it’s the smallest device that has the biggest impact.
Only 61% of desktop / laptop searches turned into a sale in 2013, up by two points from the previous year, according to the report conducted with Neustar Localeze and 15 Miles. Tablet conversions were significantly down from 77% in 2012 to only 64% last year. Meanwhile, smartphones stayed consistent at 78%. Most of these sales happened inside the physical store or shop (73%) while the rest were through phone (16%) and online (11%).
So if people perform searches using smartphones and lands on your clients’ websites, be ready: they are more than likely to buy. The least you can do as an online marketing service provider is to help increase conversions by ensuring that the information they are looking for is outright visible on your clients’ websites and the websites are mobile-shopping-friendly.
What Info Are Local Searchers Looking for?
Local searchers primarily need three pieces of information when they conduct searches: address / location, a business with the product or service they need, and a phone number. The percentages change depending on what device they use.
But across all devices, the most important factor they want to see is an address or location. Some 27% of mobile phone users look for this item while 22% of desktop / laptop users do. It’s only for tablet users that this item is not considered a high priority. But when it comes to looking for a business with a service or product they need, users turn to tablets (20%). Desktop / laptop (17%) and mobile phone (16%) are a bit behind. Finally, the third primary information local searchers need is a phone number, with everyone hovering around the 15% mark.
So, in essence this is what local searchers need: business name, address, and phone number, aka NAP.
NAP: comScore Study Reflects Moz Research
Last year, marketing software developer Moz released their local search ranking factors. What’s one of the biggest factors that affect how Google ranks local search results? You’ve guessed it… NAP!
Overall, the presence and consistency of NAP affects the three biggest local search ranking factors. Place Page Signals, which has the greatest influence on results at 19.6%, relies on things like proper categorization, proximity, and of course, presence of keyword in business title. On-Page Signals (18.8% influence) requires the presence of NAP. External Location Signals (16% influence) involves NAP consistency. You just can’t escape from it. The top three overall factors are the same when applied specifically to mobile traffic, according to Moz.
Optimize for Local Mobile Searchers, Buyers
So let us state another obvious matter: first and foremost, you and your clients need a mobile responsive website if you want to make the most of the mobile traffic you will be receiving with the help of the tips below. There’s no use getting a boost in local mobile search visitors if they can’t view your website properly because it’s not mobile friendly. So before you even start and optimization for local mobile search, make sure first that the receiving website is ready and responsive. Now, on to the tips…
- Check your NAP for consistency. You saw this one coming, didn’t you? Start auditing your web pages. Make sure web pages bear the business name, address, and phone number. Once website auditing is done, check elsewhere – review sites, maps, directories, social media accounts, and other places where the business NAP can appear. If you are confused with your NAP, so will potential customers and Google.
- Put your phone number in your home page. Phone number is part of NAP, but this one needs special attention. According to BIA Kelsey, 60% of small business websites do not have a phone number on the home page. Local searchers want to call you and ask about your products and services, and will most likely inquire about how to get to your shop. Please help them do so. Put that number up
- Make your business listing visible on Google Maps. Local mobile searchers are using map apps; and Google Maps is probably the most used map app out there. To take full advantage of maps, you need to claim and optimize your Google Places listing so that it appears in both local search and Google Maps results. According to Google, Places optimization comprises three steps: completion of listing information, choosing the correct category, and establishing a strong and accurate web presence.
- Ensure a 100% complete Google Places listing. According to the comScore study, the most important type of content that users want to see in a map context are as follows: hours of operation (56%), special offers and coupons (37%), ratings and reviews (33%), and major product or service brands (26%), and website URL (24%). Make sure your listing contains all this information.
- Encourage customers to leave reviews. Some 33% of local searchers want to view ratings and reviews in a map context. It’s just easier to compare businesses this way as they are able to see feedback and location at the same time. So, always make it point to remind customers that you have a Google business listing and that if they like, they can rate the business and write a review.
- Optimize titles and meta descriptions with geographic and product / service keywords. To help search engines easily find your local-targeted content, you need to give them the cue. So, include geographic keywords, as well as product and service keywords, in your meta data. Remember, local mobile searchers are looking for a business that provides the product or service they need, as well as the location of that particular business. That info should be visible to search engines and searchers.
- Write product / service pages. Local mobile searchers need more information about your client’s business. They need to verify whether that particular shop offers the product or service they need. By creating pages that describe the business and its products and services, you are increasing the web pages that can rank on Google for local business searches.
- Implement coupon marketing. Who doesn’t want coupons and discounts? Local searchers do. Use your existing promotions to come up with engaging content.
- Create a location / “how to get here” page. Sure there’s Google maps but if they’re already onsite, wouldn’t it be easier to simply click a page and learn how they can get to the physical store? This page is additional content can rank on Google. It’s also very helpful for potential customers who are conducting a local mobile search.
Who Needs Local SEO, Local Buzz the Most
Most of our online marketing reseller partners deal with small and medium-sized businesses all the time. But there are particular businesses that local searchers – aka, highly likely buyers – are looking for. According to the Local Search Study, restaurants are the most searched establishment, regardless of device used. Some 30% of local mobile phone searches are about restaurants. Local searches for restaurants using PC / laptop (24%) and tablet (28%) are also high in volume. Shops are the second most searched category, especially in tablets (33%).
Services category is in third place for desktop / laptop and mobile phone, and in fourth place for tablet searches. The third most searched business for tablets is health / fitness, which placed fourth for desktop / laptop and mobile phone.
These four categories are hot prospects for online marketing services. If you encounter clients in these categories, be sure to upsell SEO and Local Buzz to them after building a responsive website for them. This way, they’ll get a solid presence both through their website and through external web properties like maps, reviews sites, and social networks. A strong local and mobile presence means they’ll be more visible to local mobile searchers, with 78% of them actually followed-through with an actual purchase.
Do you have clients who want to be more visible to local searchers, especially to a huge number of mobile users who have high buying intent and who actually make purchases? Sign up as an Endlessrise reseller today and introduce them to our Responsive Web Design, SEO and Local Buzz services.