Is Your Brick-and-Mortar Small Business Mobile Local? 7 Steps To Take Now

Is Your Small Business Mobile Local?

If you have a brick-and-mortar small business that sells products or services to local consumers, I have two questions for you…How large is your local footprint? How aggressively mobile are your customers?

Chances are good that your customers and prospects are already using their Smartphones and Tablets to conduct local searches. In fact, three out of five consumers already use a mobile phone to search for local businesses now. By 2016, mobile local searches will overtake desktop local searches.

Consumers' Local Search BehaviorIn May 2014, Google published a report called Understanding Consumers’ Local Search Behavior. In it are nuggets of great information including how consumers conduct searches based on their location and proximity, the numbers of consumers who take action after conducting a local search, and how important location information—product availability, business address and directions—are for consumers. Check out these statistics in the inforgraph to the left.

Numbers and statistics are great. But, how do you get a piece of the action? Right?

Benefits to being mobile local include improved brand awareness, lead quality, and lift over traditional search programs.

Here are seven steps you can take now to take your small business store to the mobile local level.

 

 

How To Go Mobile Local: 7 Steps to Take

Take Your Website Mobile. A report by BaseKit released in April 2014 revealed a surprising 91% of small business websites are not optimized for mobile use. Not only will a mobile-friendly website help your online results, Google is now sending emails to webmasters who haven’t updated to mobile yet….which could be a sign that Google is planning a new mobile ranking algorithm.  Google offers a Mobile-Friendly Test if you’re not sure about the mobile status of your website. Responsive design, which detects a visitor’s screen size and orientation and changes the layout accordingly, is recommended.

Get Google My Business. Google My Business replaced Google Places and is great for improving your local visibility. It puts your business information on Search, Maps and Google+. It will help improve your search engine page ranking and put you on Google Maps.

Optimize Location-Specific Content. Does your website content contain location-specific content? What location keywords have you used? Location-specific content is usually found on the Contact Us page of websites. But, it’s important to optimize other website content with location keywords and information.

Optimize Local Listings. How visible is your business on local listings? How accurate is that information? Local SEO is about both visibility and accuracy. This means making sure your listing on Yelp, Yahoo, Bing, Foursquare, MapQuest, etc. is accurately maintained. Optimizing local listings takes this a step further by adding content, hours of operation, promotions, images, videos, price menus and more based on your customers’ needs and expectations.

Go Local With Ads. Consumers want to know if you have the product and where you’re located. Ensure that product availability, address and directions appear in your ads across venues.

Gather Customer Reviews.  Eighty eight percent (88%) of consumers trust online reviews. This is huge. Having customer reviews on your website and/or on your Google+ page

Be Consistent and Maintain Presence as Mobile Local. Search engine optimization of your website and local listings is not a one-and-done step. It requires consistency of local information across online venues and ongoing maintenance to ensure that information and keywords reflect what your customers want and look for.

Need help going mobile local? Misaki Digital Marketing can help. Contact me today.

 

8 Digital Marketing Recommendations to Promote Your Business in 2015

Digital marketing recommendations

Now that the holidays are over and 2015 is underway, I thought it appropriate to look at what clients will want to consider going forward for the year. These aren’t so much predictions for 2015, but recommendations for boosting your small or medium sized business visibility and sales.

  1. Optimize Your Local Listings. Thanks to Google’s new local-focused update Pigeon, local search has evolved to be even more important to businesses with brick-and-mortar locations locally. Well-optimized directory listings are a winner for getting the first page for local queries and often appear above the Local Pack of organic results. What does that mean to you? Optimizing your directory listings—Yahoo, Yellow Pages, White Pages, Chamber, etc—is a must for this year.
  2. Secure Your Website. Why? Hackers are increasingly cracking code to get inside websites (i.e. the great Sony email scandal). Google introduced a proposal in 2014 indicting that the Chrome browser, which is used by 50% of internet traffic, will identify sites that are unsecure. To avoid having visitors to your website see this warning, you’ll want to want to upgrade your website from HTTP to HTTPS. There’s time to take of this—Google will implement the warnings beginning in about two years—but there’s no reason to wait.
  3. Optimize For Mobile Devices. Because of the increase in mobile device use, mobile optimization continues to be very important. If you haven’t upgraded to mobile or responsive designed website, now is the time to do it. Not sure if your site is mobile friendly? Use Google’s Analytic Tool to test it.
  4. Step Up Your PPC Advertising. This means better vs. more. Pay-Per-Click advertising users are getting savvy. Good PPC ads require appropriate keyword selection, compelling copywriting, and optimized website landing pages. If you haven’t tipped your toe into PPC advertising, this could be a good year to try it. When PPC is well-managed, you don’t have to over spend to get qualified traffic to your website.
  5. Create and Share Videos. YouTube is owned by Google and videos hosted on the site continue to rank high in search engines. Know how to leverage YouTube videos to drive traffic to your website. That means optimization, engagement and cross promotion.
  6. Don’t Overlook SEO Basics. Google’s search algorithm is as sophisticated as ever, but that doesn’t mean you overlook keywords, meta titles and meta descriptions. Review these to ensure they are still appropriate for your website. Also be smart with your header tags, URL structures, internal and external linking. Update your XML sitemap and test your website.
  7. Pay Attention To Your Digital Content. As a writer by training, I’ve always been drawn to words. Turns out so are search engines. So, pay attention to your digital content so it drives quantifiable leads, sales and branding.
  8. Wearable Technology Is Around the Corner. If you’ve seen news from this year’s International CES conference in Las Vegas, wearable technology is huge. They are being touted as the next great consumer frontier and its projected that 1 in 5 people will have some kind of wearable technology in 2015. These innovations will lead to the need to optimize them…we’ll soon see voice search, real world query optimization and more microdata optimization.

Ok. So that last recommendation is really a prediction.

What are your digital marketing needs for 2015?