Yet another entry into the ever-lengthening glossary of digital marketing acronyms, LoMo (Local and Mobile) occupies an important niche in your business’s SEO performance. It’s critical that you’re able to capture local and mobile search traffic, since 53% of mobile searches have local intent - people are looking for services nearby and you have to optimise your output to catch their attention.
Directions to the pub. Taxi numbers. Nearby nightclubs. Nearest takeaway curry. Searches for doctors, for decorators, for couriers and painters; people are using their phones as a local directory, and they’re looking for services in their area.
This trend has been growing over the past few years, and we’ve been tailoring our client’s keywords to include phrases like “near me”, “nearby” and “closest”. Most of this is done through indicating to search engines that their business specifically operates in a locale, using locational keywords and addresses - Bristol, Ashton, Clifton, Gas Ferry Road etc. Plenty of businesses have already jumped on board, taking advantage of the opportunities hyper-local marketing provides, and if you want to capture this valuable local traffic you’ve got to improve your LoMo strategy.
Optimising your LoMo
There’s only so much space in a search results page, and there’s even less room on mobiles. Desktop searches will usually display seven results “above the fold” (i.e. visible without scrolling), whereas only three are immediately visible in the ‘map pack’ on mobile. This makes it all the more important to optimise properly, as competition is fierce for this valuable three-pack. Not only does this display your business prominently, but it also provides a powerful set of tools for drawing users in; look what happens when you choose one of the results
As soon as the listing is selected, the searcher can immediately get directions, visit your website or call you, just by tapping an icon. This is great for engagement, and really helps to convert searches into customers. Reviews are extremely important here as well, as 84% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Don’t be a LoMo lamo
So capturing local mobile search is important - there’s lots of it, and it’s very valuable. But how? What can you do to get into the coveted top spots?
Mobile-friendly web design: Seriously, if your site isn’t responsive by now you are way behind. You might as well just write “Mobile users go home!” in huge letters all over your landing page. Your very first move should be to make sure that your site looks good on mobile, and that it’s easy to use. It’s not rocket science; a few key elements of responsive web design can be implemented pretty quickly, and Google even provides a usability score.
Moreover, mobile friendliness is a specific mobile ranking factor these days and has been for well over a year. Google will not return un-mobile friendly websites in mobile results at all, and has recently announced that its implementing mobile first indexing.
Google My Business: The My Business platform makes it easy for Google to match real-world businesses with their digital counterparts. Creating a fully fleshed-out profile will let Google identify your business, and create all those juicy call-to-action buttons that make it so easy for customers to reach you. Try to encourage customers to write a review, since a nice big row of gold stars next to your name always makes a good first impression. You’ve also got to ensure that your details are consistent across your entire digital presence; if your contact page lists a different phone number to the one submitted to Google, your SEO performance will suffer. Contact and business info on the whole needs to be consistent everywhere. The reason for this is Google is scouring the web to try and confirm that it’s got the right information. It’d be like agreeing with a group of friends that you’re all going to the pub at 6:30, but then when you ask each individual friend to check what time, one might say 6:00, another 5:30 and another 6:30. Which one’s the correct time/info?! Google runs into the same problem when it sees conflicting or contradictory information in directories, GMB and your website.
Listen to what they’re saying: Voice search is taking off in a big way; it now accounts for one in five of all Google app searches on Android, and usage has more than doubled in the past year. There are a lot of people asking Google for answers, so the keywords in your content need to account for how people will phrase questions vocally. For example, I typed “Pubs near me” in my earlier query, but I might ask “Are there any pubs near me?” on a voice search.
At the end of the day, this is good all-round SEO strategy, applied to local search. There are no magic bullets in SEO, and you’ll need to maintain the rest of your website in accordance with best practices: develop links with reputable local businesses, keep your site updated and make sure the content is always accurate and relevant. If you want to go deeper, we’ve created a Local Search checklist to help you climb the local rankings.
By Jon Payne, founder and technical director of Noisy Little Monkey
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