Why is it important
Optimization & Users
Listing & Social Media
Citations & Linking
Analytics & Tracking
Understanding the Browsing Habits of Mobile Users
When optimizing for local search, it's important to remember
that you are essentially optimizing for mobile. Mobile users are on the go, and
they aren't searching for the sake of searching. They're looking to buy. When
you're searching for a restaurant on your smartphone, you typically aren't
doing it for the future. You're hungry now, and ready to eat. This applies
across all mobile/local searches.
Trying to understand the habits of mobile users isn't
difficult; you are one.
What do you search for on your phone when you're on the go?
The most common answers:
Restaurants & Bars
Travel (bus, airfare, taxis, rental cars,
Service-oriented businesses (salons, mechanics, attorneys,
I'd say most local businesses fall into one of these
categories and if you don't, it certainly doesn't mean people aren't looking
for you. Local search is a very business-first segment of the search industry.
If you own a business, chances are someone is looking for what you offer.
So you now understand that people are looking for you, but
do you know how to actually give them what they want?
Mobile browsers aren't looking to browse your website. They
aren't there to read your blog. They're looking for something specific, and in
order to have a chance at converting this visitor into a sale you need to give
them what they want.
local businesses, the browser is looking for:
- A menu
- Operating hours
- A phone number
- Directions or an address
- Pertinent information (dress code, reservation
required, coupons, etc.)
This is, of course, a general list. You know what your
business offers and with a little bit of thought you can probably guess what
people are looking for when they're browsing your website. Put yourself into
the shoes of the user and try to give them what they need.
First you need to understand what people are most likely to
search for in an attempt to find your business. If you run a lawn care
business, the search query will probably be something along the lines of:
"lawn care San Diego, CA"
Remember, local search is often hyper local, so if you live
in a big city you might even drill the search term down further. It could look
"lawn care Miramar"
This is all about putting yourself in the shoes of the searcher
and finding what they'd search for. If you need help, Google has a great keyword
tool that can give you an idea of the search volume for specific keywords.
For smaller towns, you'll search for the keyword that has the most search
volume. For bigger cities - like San Diego - the key is finding a balance
between search volume and competition. It's harder to rank for popular keywords,
so you might not want to attempt "lawn care" in a big city like San Diego until
you have a few reviews under your belt. We'll get into ranking factors later,
but for now, let's take a look at the process.
To start, we're going to come up with 5-10 possible keyword
combinations and we're going to type them in the box above.
In essence, when searching for keywords for local business,
what you're doing is taking a list of search queries and finding one or two
that you'd like to rank for.
There are two schools of thought here:
More Monthly Searches
= More Money
This is true, but more searches generally means more
competition. There is no right answer here, but essentially what we're doing
here is attempting to take a small piece of a big pie as opposed to option
number two, which would be to take a big piece from a small pie.
Less Competition = More Money
This sentiment isn't any less true than the first idea. The
problem here, is that we need to grab a bigger number of the total searches to
make the same dollar amount. In theory, this is obtainable because the
competition isn't as strong as it is with the first set of keywords, but there
isn't as much pie either.
The best marketers know that the real money falls somewhere
in-between these two. We're looking for a keyword that isn't uber-competitive,
but with enough search volume to make it worth our while.
Here's some sample keyword data that we're going to use to
make our decision.
After typing our keywords into the box, and pressing enter, we're
met with keyword data. There are some good options, some difficult options, and
some without enough keyword data to make it worth our while. Avoid options with
dashes, as these don't have enough data, meaning the search volume isn't high
enough to be worth your time.
After looking at the data, as a lawn care professional in
San Diego, I think I'd choose, "lawn care san diego" and "lawn service san
diego" as my target keyphrases. Both of these terms are searched for
semi-regularly, and neither of them look super difficult to rank for.
An additional step you might take here is to check to see
how many Google Places listings there are for each keyphrase. This allows you
to see which keyword should be your main keyword target when optimizing your
page and profile listings.
Optimizing websites revolves around giving the customer what
they want (as discussed above), as well as using your targeted keywords in
vital places. The process is basically a stripped down version of optimizing web
page for non-local search.
Use your keywords! Ideally, each page gets its own keyword,
but the keyword or phrase used is relevant to your main title tag. For example,
the title tag you use on your homepage might look like:
Lawn Care San Diego |
Your Business Name
While the title
tag on a secondary page, might be:
Lawn Service San
Diego | Your Business Name
There are a few best practices to follow when using title
tags on your website. Some of these are:
- Use keywords in descending order of importance
with the main keyphrase appearing on the home page.
- Use one unique keyphrase or keyword per page.
- Use less than 70 characters.
- Use the keywords in the body text and meta
description as well as the title tag.
- Branding goes last (business name after keyword/keyphrase)
Much like the title tag, try to use a unique description for
each page that utilizes your keywords/keyphrases in descending order with the
most important - or "main" - keyword used on the home page.
This string of text is what people see under the link to
your page in the search results so it needs to be descriptive and offer a clear
message to users to entice them to click.
Keep the text under 155 characters.