You don’t have to be a fortuneteller to know that eventually, the majority of internet traffic is going to come from mobile devices like smartphones and tablet devices. This means that soon (if not right now), there is going to a serious shift in the way that people are searching for things on the internet. With this shift, an additional shift toward local, geo-specific searches is also currently underway. In order to make sure you are taking advantage of this, there are few things you need to do and keep in mind. Keep reading to find out how to make sure your site is optimized for local SEO and how to leverage your mobile site.
Why Is Mobile SEO Important?
When it comes right down to it, a search query on a search engine is a problem. When you use a search engine to find the nearest grocery store or the best way to clean your oven, you are trying to solve a problem or answer a question. Think about the last search you conducted, what was the reason for that search? Did it involve something related to a location or local business? Did you perform the search on your smartphone or tablet device? If you did, you are like 61% of mobile users who performed local searches from their device according to a 2012 study by Localeze/15miles Fifth Annual comScore Local Search Usage Study. This is a number that is only going to increase as mobile devices become more prevalent in our everyday lives.
According to a 2012 Nielson report, 41% of mobile users in the U.S. currently use smartphones. This means that nearly half of the people in the United States use a smartphone capable of making searches on web browsers. This is where having a separate mobile site can become crucial. A mobile site is optimized for touchscreen smartphones and tablets and allows users to have an optimized experience while using these devices. If your target audience falls within the demographic that uses mobile devices to find you, NOT having a mobile site can hurt you. So, if you currently don’t have a mobile site, now is the time to create one!
Nowadays, any web developer experienced in modern web technologies should be able to help, but here are few things to understand:
- Basic SEO best practices that apply to all websites still apply to mobile sites. This includes proper use of H1/H2 tags, meta titles and descriptions, applicable and robust content, and site maps, to name a few. If you need a refresher, read about the 5 best SEO tips you keep ignoring.
- Remember that the whole point of a mobile website is that it is optimized for that small screen experience. Make sure you format content and design elements accordingly and account for a touchscreen experience.
- Having a separate URL for your mobile site is no longer necessary. If you make sure you properly implement a rel=canonical tag, you can point mobile browsers to the mobile version of your site. This will make sure that all of the link juice, PageRank, and other elements of your main site stay with your mobile site as well.
- Sometimes mobile keywords change and sometimes they don’t. It is always recommended that you do some keyword research when you create a new site. This is not different for your mobile site. You might find that people search using entirely different keywords to find your site while on mobile browsers. However, you might find that they are exactly the same. Either way, you should know and optimize your site accordingly.
- You can access Google Analytics for your mobile site. There is a great way to track the progress is your mobile site through Google Analytics. Under the “Audience” section is a subsection called “Mobile.” This will list all of the analytics for mobile traffic.
Do Mobile and Local Go Hand in Hand?
If you haven’t gathered already, the answer is a resounding yes! Mobile search and local search are the new SEO power couple. In addition to making sure your mobile site is optimized with general SEO best practices, it is also important to make sure it is optimized for local search as well. Remember, 61% of mobile users are making local searches. If we do a little math here, 61% of 41% of the total US mobile subscriber base gives you approximately 60 million smartphone users who are making local searches based on comScore. That’s a lot of people making local searches.
By doing the following, you will make sure your mobile site is optimized for local search as well:
- Claim your local profiles. If you’re not already listed on Google+ Local (formerly Google Places), Yahoo Local, Bing Place, Foursquare, Yelp, and others, you are missing out the best local search optimization tactic!
- Find local and regional directories and resources. These pages are some of the best ways for search engines to recognize your local prominence and start ranking your site for geo-specific keywords related to your site. These can include local news sites, local chamber of commerce sites, and local organizations related to your industry.
- Take advantage of microdata. Microdata, like schema.org is a great way to increase your local SEO push. This microdata allows search engines to access additional information that can provide richer browsing experience for users.
- Make sure your local address and contact information is each for people and search engines to find. Many times, people struggle to find the contact information of local business, which can create a very frustrating user experience. In addition, if search engines cannot find this easily this information (for example, your address in an image instead of text), you can miss out on a key opportunity to help your local SEO efforts.
- Conduct a little local competitive research. The best way to know how to beat your competition in search engine rankings is to figure what they are doing and do it a little better. Remember, good artists copy and great artists steal. Try to take what is working for your competition and put your own spin on it.
With this combination of tips between local and mobile search, you should be unstoppable. Make sure to incorporate both sets of tips into the creation of your mobile site and be ready to become the king of local mobile search. Keep in mind that with any other type of SEO, this is also not an overnight solution or quick fix. It is something that requires diligence and continued efforts. However, we are confident that these tips will help get you started.