The smartphone was and is one of the most popular devices for online browsing in the UK. This means that businesses need to ensure their SEO strategy is effective for locally performed searches on Google, to avoid missing out on potential customers.
According to the latest Ofcom report, the UK is now a smartphone society. Ofcom’s 2015 Communications Market Report found that two thirds of people in the UK now own a smartphone, using it almost two hours per day on average to go online. This is a rise from 39% who said the same in 2012, and 90% of 16-24 year olds now admit to owning a smartphone.
A third of respondents said that they believe that their smartphone is the most important device for accessing the internet, in contrast with the 30% of respondents who said the same for their laptop. This is a marked reversal from the year before, when 40% said that their laptop was the most important device for accessing the internet, whilst only 22% said the same for smartphones.
Tailoring online assets to mobile platforms
This means that companies need to make sure that their online assets are tailored to the needs and habits of smartphone users to ensure they’re not missing out a huge proportion of their audience.
The majority of online users will use Google to find businesses, therefore, you need to ensure that when a user searches for your company name or industry in Google; positive and relevant content appears on the first page of the search.
Once upon a time, companies could follow basic SEO principles to ensure their online assets ranked for the first page of a search for their industry. However, earlier this year Google rolled out a mobile-friendly update, which means that online assets must be specifically optimised for mobile platforms for them to appear in the first page of Google searches performed on smartphones.
This is why companies need to ensure that their online assets are optimised for local SEO. Econsultancy defines “local SEO” as the following: “Local SEO is focused on providing results that are relevant to a searcher based on their current location. If I search for ‘best steak restaurant’ on my desktop right now, Google would provide me with results that are nearest to me.”
You can see why this would be important for small businesses with an area-specific target consumer base. If a user is looking for a service that’s within easy travel distance, they may type the name of their town, village etc. into Google to ensure relevant results appear on the first page of the search.
A ComScore survey has shown that this is becoming an increasingly popular practice among UK smartphone users. This data reveals that 88% of smartphone users now execute local searches. Furthermore, 56% of “on the go” mobile searches were conducted with local intent, and 78% of local-mobile searches resulted in an offline purchase being made a few hours later.
Optimising for local
This means that you need to ensure your online assets are optimised for local searches if you want them to appear on the first page of a mobile search for your company’s name/industry. There are several things you can do to ensure your online assets attract the attention of local searches:
- Include local information: Your assets include the local information potential customers need to know about your business, such as your address, telephone number, contact information, opening days/times etc. You should make sure your local information is consistent across your various online assets to utilise this strategy effectively.
- Generate local content: Google likes fresh, relevant content, so make sure your content is relevant to searches performed locally. If, for example, you’re a baker and there’s a bake sale happening in the area, you should blog about it to create a relevant, locally-minded blog post.
- Invest in review management: If your local customers leave good reviews of your business, it will organically appear in the first page of a locally-minded Google search for your industry. You should invest in a review management strategy, so that you can convince your customers to leave positive reviews on sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor.
- Perform local charity work: News outlets love charity work. If you do charity work in your community, local news outlets will write about your business. Google trusts local news outlets as relevant sources of area-specific information, so these reports are highly likely to appear highly in locally performed searches for your firm’s name/industry.
- Upload photos: You should upload photos of your business which are optimised with its location. This will provide you with another avenue to provide users with relevant local information on your business that Google values.
Online reputation management
People are using smartphones more than laptops, and they’re using them to find local services. This means that as a business owner, you need to invest in online reputation management to ensure that your online assets appear on the first page of local searches for your firm’s name or industry.
If you want to find out more about Igniyte’s online reputation management services please contact Simon Wadsworth on 0203 542 8689 or email firstname.lastname@example.org in confidence.