Google first announced the rollout of mobile-first indexing in 2018. Backing up their efforts to help website owners prioritize adaptive design, Google provides a free tool website owners can use to confirm design best practices. There’s little doubt local SEO best practices need to include a mobile-optimized website with a responsive web design.
Google has created a mobile-first world with its indexing requirement. However, following Google’s rules is not why your local business should have a mobile-optimized website. A recent survey found that consumers spend four times longer on smartphones than tablets, and Americans now spend an average of four hours daily on their phones.
2022 Mobile Phone Stats:
Mobile-friendly websites are prioritized for mobile search. When your business website has a responsive design, you increase your opportunities to connect with your target audience.
The Mobile User Effect
Local strategies always include some form of mobile SEO because most people use smartphones when they’re looking for local businesses. In fact, John Mueller from Google confirmed your rankings will differ on mobile and desktop due to customized search preferences. Another factor is mobile friendliness.
While mobile optimization may seem like an over-the-top detail, analytics prove a mobile-friendly site directly impacts a local business’s sales. Graffit9 reports that seventy-eight percent of location-based mobile searches result in an offline purchase.
SMART SEO: Search Marketing That Delivers
There are a lot of SEO companies out there that claim to be able to deliver things that just aren’t possible. Two of the biggest lies we see are, “We guarantee you the first spot on Google” and “One-time set it and forget it SEO Solutions.” Both of these statements are unreasonable and can cost your local business organic traffic.
SEO and local SEO are very different strategies, however both focus on attracting potential customers and ensuring an excellent user experience for website visitors. Read about a few additional agency statements we consider red flags; check out this post How to Hire the Best Local SEO Company.
SEO is both a science and an art. At SMA Marketing, we practice SMART SEO which focuses on building a strategy tailored to the specific needs of each individual business’s target audience. With the rise of mobile search, SMART SEO solutions are the only way to go.
While many SEO actions utilize the same platforms, each industry is unique. Additionally, no two businesses are exactly alike. A SMART SEO campaign centers around the specific business and its needs. While some elements of SEO are true for all industries, the ongoing search marketing efforts need a more specific approach. For example, a service-based business should focus on featuring the service areas. A brick-and-mortar or physical location-based business must ensure its location is accurate on Google Maps, Apple Maps, Uber, and other location-based map services.
The next step in creating SMART SEO solutions is measuring your progress. You need to know whether or not what you are doing is working. Too many small business owners chase trends and throw money into short-term campaigns expecting fast growth, but more often than not, their ROI is either very low or nonexistent.
Local businesses should track Google analytics to confirm when digital entities appear in Google searches. Additionally, Insights on a GBP offers information on when Google search and maps connect a query with a Google Business Profile. Measuring your results helps to ensure you protect your hard-earned money and invest in areas that will grow your local business.
To make sure that your strategy will meet your desired outcome, you need to develop goals. These business goals will become the foundation for creating a mobile search strategy that converts. Tie your goals to real business results rather than focusing solely on rankings. Rankings tell only part of the story. With goals set in place, you can begin to look for solutions that will help you achieve these results.
Search engines are smart. No longer can you focus on writing for target-specific keywords and relative variations. Successful local SEO creates relevant solutions for your buyer persona. For many, “relevant” means “what’s trendy.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. “Relevant” literally means “closely connected to.” So, whether you are creating content, writing meta descriptions and title tags, or promoting your content via social media, make sure that it connects with your audience on an authentic level. As Facebook gets into the mobile search game, authentic and relevant mobile SEO solutions will be key to driving and converting more traffic than your competition.
Time Bound Strategies
Because SEO changes frequently, staying on top of the changes is a must. Each year, Google alone changes its algorithm 500 to 600 times. Building time-bound solutions forces you to look at what you have done and determine what to do next. But it’s not just the search engines that change. Users have determined that mobile is their preferred means of searching for products and services online. As mobile continues to increase its impact on search, smart local businesses will look at how users are adapting and plan a course of action accordingly. Our agency runs our SEO campaigns in quarters so that we can ensure we have continued success throughout the year.
While we may have seen mobile search surpass traditional search, this is only the beginning. More and more of our world is going mobile, and the time to put a plan of action into place is now. WebFx reports 97% of search engine users search online to find a local business. Local businesses that embrace mobile search and SMART SEO will see much faster growth and higher ROI than their competition.
How to Improve Local SEO
To help you out with creating your very own SMART Local SEO campaign, we’ve updated our Local SEO offer. The Local SEO Website checklist will help you build a strong foundation for your website. This list has all the “must haves” to ensure that your site meets Google’s best practices. Get your free checklist here or click the button below.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on October 12, 2015, and has been updated with fresh content.