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How to Optimize your Site and its Local Listings for Mobile Use

Google Mobile Search April Fool

Photo Credit: Mac Morrison

Imagine your average Joe Schmoe. Joe is driving to work, and he realizes that he wants some donuts. He doesn’t want the drugstore kind, though; he wants to get donuts without getting out of his car.

Until recently, Joe would have to rack his brain to remember the nearest drive-through donut place. Chances are that he doesn’t have any donut coupons with him, and he may not even remember how to get to the place he’s thinking of. In today’s technology-centered culture, however, Joe’s donut finding experience is a lot simpler. He just pulls out his smart phone and searches for “Donuts.” Within seconds, his phone pulls up three options, all within five miles of his location. The first option has four stars, it’s a drive-through, and it offers a 25% off coupon offer for an order of jelly donuts.

Joe clicks on that result, and he’s able to see the company’s list of donuts. He taps their phone number to call them, and he places an order with an employee so that it’s ready by the time he gets there. When he hangs up, his GPS-enabled phone guides him to the store, and he’s able to get his donuts without being late for work.

This all happens in less than 10 minutes. Joe doesn’t have to remember where he’s seen donut ads, where donuts stores are, or how to get to the few donut stores he remembers. He doesn’t bother asking friends, and he doesn’t need to worry about remembering recommendations. He lets his phone do the work, right up to telling him where to turn. Considering how simple this process is, it’s no surprise that mobile local searches are taking over in the search world. Mobile search is fast. It’s easy. And anyone with a smart phone can do it.

Experts predict that by 2014, internet browsing done with mobile devices will outnumber internet browsing done with PCs. Even right now, more than half of all local searches done are done on a mobile device with internet capabilities. That’s big.

Considering the huge number of searches being done on mobile devices, businesses can’t afford not to optimize their site and their content for mobile searches. It may not be 2014 yet, but getting yourself optimized for mobile local searches and mobile applications can put you way ahead of the curve.

So how do you optimize your content for mobile searches?

Optimizing your Listing

Most mobile searches use Google Places to provide listings of businesses near the searcher’s current location. Just as a normal Google search provides only so many listings per page, a mobile search will provide the searcher with a limited number of local businesses from which to choose. That being said, it’s possible that the searcher will never even see your business unless you optimize your listing.

Both Google and mobile searchers value listings with a lot of information. If you’re a mobile searcher, you are more likely to select a business with a lot of positive user ratings over a business with just a couple of reviews. Depending on your situation, you may opt to favor a business that lists their store hours over a business that doesn’t list this information. Google understands that businesses with a great deal of information and positive user feedback are more likely to be useful to searchers, so Google lists those businesses higher on mobile searches.

In short, the best way to optimize your mobile listing is to provide as much information as possible. Make sure that your business is listed on Google Maps, as many mobile applications use this tool to find relevant results for the searcher. Provide your address, site information, store hours, and phone number. In a mobile search, the mobile search application may create easy-to-use buttons with this information, allowing the searcher to call you with just a click. The easier it is for the searcher to find relevant information and contact details for your business, the more likely it is that they will choose to patronize your business.

Positive user reviews are vital to creating a healthy, optimized mobile listing. If a searcher is on the fence about selecting your business, having even one positive review can tip the scale in your favor. You may want to ask current customers to leave good reviews and comments on your listing. You may even want to include the positive testimonies of former clients. Just make sure that your positive comments and reviews are genuine. Google and other search engines can tell if you are creating spammy, disingenuous reviews for yourself. This practice could hurt more than it helps, and it may even get your site de-indexed altogether.

Finally, remember that some mobile search applications bypass Google and other search engines by using specialized directory listings. Proactively submitting your business to relevant directories whenever possible will ensure that your business is listed in these and other mobile “answer engines.”

Optimizing Your Site for Viewers

Mobile searchers are less attentive than desktop searchers. Their focus is usually divided between their search and the other things they happen to be doing—shopping, talking, running, babysitting, driving. It’s crucial that your site be easy for a mobile searcher to read, navigate, and understand. Google has recently come out with a set of guidelines and recommendations that serve as a great guide for content writers and webmasters who are trying to make their sites more mobile-friendly. To convert searchers into customers, however, you should also consider the overall impression of your listing and your site.

Here are a couple of guiding principles that will help convert customers:

1. Offer coupons, promotions, and deals on the landing page of your site. When using a mobile device, searchers are more likely to select a company that will give them a bargain. In fact, studies show that customers are ten times more likely to redeem mobile coupons than traditional printed coupons.


2. Make sure that your site’s font is legible and visible (no grey text on black background). Making sure that viewers can access important information as quickly as possible will help to ensure that your customers follow through and buy, rather than simply giving up and going elsewhere.


3. Get to the point. Make sure that your customers see the most relevant information first. What questions do you get most often? Make sure that the answers are displayed prominently on your mobile site.


4. Format your site so that it is easily navigated. A lot of mobile devices have small, touch-sensitive screens. Make sure that links and buttons are easy to tap, as this will drastically improve your visitors’ experience and increase the possibility that visitors convert into customers.


For more info, check out Angie Schottmuller’s great SEO advice on other ways to streamline your mobile site.

Mobile marketing is already a huge, multi-million dollar industry, and it’s only getting bigger. Getting on board with and optimizing for this growing trend will help to secure your local business’ success not only now, but in the future as well!

What do you think about mobile optimization? What mobile optimization techniques have been effective for you?


comScore: Mobile Shopping is on the Rise


Have you ever made a purchase from your Smartphone? If you answered yes, you are among the 38 percent of smartphone owners who have used their mobile device to purchase something.

A new study done by comScore shows that mobile shopping is on the rise.

The most popular products purchased on a smartphone includes digital goods, clothing/accessories, tickets and daily deals. Maybe that’s one reason Daily Deal sites have exploded so much this year. It’s easier than ever to purchase a deal right from your phone and according to these stats, people are doing just that.

“Fueled by smartphone adoption, mobile is becoming a central part in the shopping funnel for many consumers,” said Mark Donovan, comScore senior vice president for mobile. “In September we saw two-thirds of all smartphone owners perform shopping activities on their phones, including comparing products and prices, searching for coupons, taking product pictures or locating a retail store. Considering there are currently 90 million smartphone owners in the U.S., retailers without a well-developed mobile strategy are not only missing a tremendous opportunity with these customers but also risk becoming obsolete in the minds of these digital omnivores.”

The chart pictured above shows where people are when they purchase something via their smartphone. Home came out on top at 56%, with Out Other Places (restaurant, school) and Work tying at 42%.

Mobile shopping is changing the way businesses do business. The retail world is changing and businesses need to jump on the smartphone bandwagon to snag a piece of the mobile sales.

Do you frequently purchase items from your mobile phone? If yes, what?

Smartphone and Tablet Use to Surpass PCs by 2015


With the ever growing popularity of tablets, and smartphones getting smarter by the minute, it’s no surprise what a new study has found.

According to new data from International Data Corporation (IDC), more users will access the internet through mobile devices than through PCs or other wireline devices by 2015. Smartphones are outselling the simple cell phone and tablet sales are exploding, as are the development of them.

The new study says that internet access through PCs will first stagnate and then slowly decline over the next few years.

Here are a few interesting pieces of information the New Media Market Model found:

  • Worldwide, the total number of Internet user will grow from 2 billion in 2010 to 2.7 billion in 2015, when 40% of the world’s population will have access to its vast resources.
  • Global B2C ecommerce spending will grow from $708 billion in 2010 to $1,285 billion in 2015 at a CAGR of 12.7%.
  • Worldwide online advertising will increase from $70 billion in 2010 to $138 billion in 2015, with its share of total advertising across all media growing from 11.9% to 17.8%.

Does this new data surprise you? For all of us who make our living online, a piece of that $138 billion of online advertising sounds nice doesn’t it?

Image: SXC

Only 12 Percent of Smartphone Users Access Check-In Services


Are you a frequent user of smartphone check-in services like Foursquare or Gowalla? I don’t use them because personally, I don’t want people to know where I am. I guess I like going incognito.

Come to find out, I’m not alone. A recent study by Pew shows that only 12% of smartphone users use theses check-in services.

The study shows that 59% of smartphone owners use their phone to access social networking sites, and 15% use their phone to access Twitter. As for sending photos, 80% and sending or receiving texts was 92%.

So, what do you think this study shows? Are check-in services’ popularity slowing down, at a stand still or just getting started? To me it seems when someone first starts using these check-in services it’s fun and exciting, but after awhile, it just gets old.

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!


40 Percent of Mobile Phone Users Own Smartphones


The growth of smartphones continues to be on the rise according to a recent study released by Nielsen. The data shows that 40% of mobile phone users own Smartphones.

As far as the operating system, Android OS comes in first place with 40%, while Apple iOS is in second place, with 28 percent. Be sure to check out this map to see which state you live in – Android or iPhone.

The survey also covers possible future trends with those who say they want to purchase a smartphone in the next year. One-third said they would like an Android device and another one-third said they would like an iPhone. (I personally just went with an Android device and love it.)

Android is in the lead as the “Next Desired Operating System” with those who typically purchase the latest technology first.

As for the “Not Sures”, those are  people who purchase the latest technology gadgets later on and who don’t see its value as much as the “Innovators”.

Why do you think there’s a slight swing (40% as opposed to 32%) to an Android device with the “Innovators”?

Android is Top Operating System in the U.S.


Nielsen released news today that Google’s Android operating system is the largest smartphone system in the United States. Android has the largest share with 39%, followed by Apple with 28% and RIM with 20%.

Apple still holds the title of top smartphone manufacturer in the United States, with HTC, Samsung and Motorola following behind.

Nielsen put out a similar report in March stating that Android was at the top, so this isn’t new news about them grabbing a top spot from someone, but rather an update that they’re still numero uno. Although it’s share is bigger now than the March report stated, which was at 29%.

Here’s a visual from Nielson which gives you an idea of the current standings.

So tell us – what operating system and smartphone do you use? I use the Android operating system on my tablet and so far love it. As for my smartphone purchase, I used to own a Blackberry and am carefully considering what my next purchase should be. Any advice on what I should choose?

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