Recently, Google has been improving the relevance of local search. They’ve also been aggressively increasing the importance of mobile-friendliness in its ranking algorithms. Google is prioritizing mobile so actively, that by late 2017, it will completely remove non-mobile-friendly sites from mobile results AND lower your desktop search rankings.
If your website is not ready for these changes, you will miss out on valuable traffic. Here are a few steps you can take to optimize your website and paid search campaigns for local and mobile search.
Test Your Mobile-Friendliness. Your website should mirror the pleasant experience you want the customer to have in person. Make sure your pages have fast load times and updated links. According to Google, 53% of users will abandon your website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Check to see if your website is mobile-friendly with Google’s Mobile Test.
Encourage Google Business Reviews – Not only do online reviews play a strong role in consumer purchase decisions, the quantity and quality of your Google Business reviews play a significant role in how Google ranks your business domain. All other things equal, a business with a higher number of positive Google reviews will outrank its competitors in Google Search results every time.
Set Up Google My Business – If you haven’t claimed your Google My Business listing already, do so ASAP – it’s free and one of the best things you can do to improve local visibility. This will allow you to update details for your business as well as manage and respond to your Google reviews.
Check Your Online Business Listings For Accuracy. A recent survey by ConstantContact found that almost 50% of small businesses have incorrect online listings. If your business information is not uniform across all platforms, not only will it confuse customers, Google will penalize you by lowering your ranking on Google.
Don’t Limit Your Contact Info To The Contact Page. Include your business name, contact information and business locations on every page of your site. In addition to making you easier to reach, it will raise your organic search engine rankings locally.
Paid Search – Organic search optimization is important, but it will only get you so far. Even with a solid SEO strategy, ranking in the top search results can be challenging and takes time– especially if you are in a competitive industry, such as home building. A well structured and managed Ad Words campaign will allow you to appear at the top of Google for relevant local search terms.
a. Identify Mobile & Local Keywords – Users search differently on mobile vs. desktop; mobile searches tend to be much shorter when compared to desktops, while voice search has led to a increase in conversational search phrases. In your SEO and SEM campaigns, target a mixture of shorter keywords and conversational phrases. Also, your Search Terms report in Analytics and AdWords will you the exact searches that triggered for your ad or website to show. Try combing select Search Terms report keywords with your own list of local keywords for the best mobile & local search optimization.
b. Local Feel – To optimize paid search for local, it’s important that your ads have a local feel. Local searchers want local results – serving ads with a local feel will increase click through rates, increase your quality score and drive down you cost per click.
c. Location extensions – Adding location extensions to your paid search campaigns is one of the best ways to increase your local search presence. Location extensions help customer find you more easily and give you the ability to appear on Google Map search results as a paid advertisement and pin.
d. Click-to-call ads: Click-to-call ads are a great way to optimize paid search for mobile and eliminate a step for buyers by allowing them to click on your ad to call you and start a conversation.
When people start searching for a new home, one of the first places they go is Google. Therefore, visibility on Google is paramount for any homebuilder or business that wants to stay competitive. If you want to start winning local and mobile search to get your homes in front of the right audience at the right time, contact Group Two to get started!
By Bill Doughty –
Digital SEM Specialist