Mobile SEO: 5 Key Concepts to Understand For Local Business Success

Take this SEO advice and put it in your pocket: forget about desktop SEO. Seriously. Since more than half of all Google searches are conducted over mobile (and it looks like those numbers are climbing), focus your energy on building a powerful and well-crafted mobile site. If you’re a local business, you want your neighbours to find you on the go. Who knows, maybe your future customer just walked past your storefront, smartphone in hand.  Follow these five mobile SEO hacks to boost traffic, see higher conversions and eventually see dollar signs for your local business.

1: First, the Obvious: A Mobile-Friendly Site

Plain and simple, Google will punish your rankings for not having a mobile website. It can be hard to keep up with Google’s algorithms, but if you don’t want to be a slave to its ever-evolving rules, then hopefully you’ll just use common sense. If more than half of all search engine queries are performed on mobile and your site isn’t compatible on all platforms, you’re doing yourself and your business a major disservice. If your website was built in the last few years by a professional web design firm, chances are you’re safe. But if your website is living in the stone age with boring, unresponsive design that isn’t mobile friendly, you may want to consider revamping your online presence.

2: Create a Mobile Site for Impatient People

We live in a world where it’s possible to purchase a flatscreen TV while simultaneously waiting in a doctor’s office. Our smartphones allow us to multitask in ways that most of our grandparents still can’t understand. For that reason, compounded by society’s growing impatience and need for instant gratification, 40% of users will abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. If that doesn’t scare you, remember that Google will penalize a mobile site that is slow to load. If this sounds like your website, expect your rankings to drop significantly, if it hasn’t already. Enter Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs). Since Google is rewarding websites that utilize AMPs, it’s worth some exploration. The AMP Project is an open-source initiative that simplifies mobile content using specific JavaScript and HTML code in order to significantly speed up loading time. If you have a local business, ensuring your website is responsive for people on the go can significantly improve your rankings.

3: Make Your Website Searchable on Local Listings

This is sort of obvious, but it’s amazing how many local businesses refuse to take this step toward online visibility. According to MOZ, creating a local listing on as many sites as possible with all your current and correct information greatly increases your chance of ranking high. If you haven’t already done so, get cracking! Don’t be choosy—create listings on as many sites as you can, but make sure your information is accurate. Be sure to include your business name, full address, website, email, and phone number. Make sure to comply with each website requirement in terms of business verification and please, please, be consistent and correct. Do I sound like a broken record yet? Don’t hesitate to give you listing some pizazz with flattering images of your logo, storefront, and products. Tip: categorize your business properly. Googlebot won’t know how to index your business properly if your alpaca farm is listed under a flower

4: A Strong Social Media Presence Boosts Mobile SEO

This is your chance to really connect with your community. Since your website mostly consists of static webpages and your blog doesn’t exactly foment direct dialogue with your customers (comment section notwithstanding), show your involvement in the community by posting local events to your Facebook page, offering in-store discounts, and tweeting about local happenings, e.g. “Going to the Christmas parade? Warm your tootsies with any hot beverage before noon and get 50% off.” The more immersed you are in the community, the more locals will recommend you as a neighbourhood mainstay. Remember that your social media popularity will directly affect your search rankings.

#5: Reward Check-ins and Reviews

When it comes to young local businesses, nothing beats free publicity. And when it comes to your website, a quick way to ensure word of mouth is to encourage online reviews. The more reviews your business has, the more likely you’ll be relevant on search results. If, for whatever reason, a customer complains on a review site like Yelp, be sure to respond politely. Other customers will see that complaints don’t fall on deaf ears and that you are quick to fix the problem if you can. Ever heard the phrase, “if it’s too good to be true it probably is”? When it comes to local businesses, many want to know everything about you before even stepping through your door. Some of us are also skeptical of a business that hasn’t been rated yet. Better to have an average 3.5-star rating from 1000 customers than a 4-star rating from 10.  And don’t forget to thank the positive reviews as well. After all, a happy customer is likely to return if they feel appreciated.

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