As Cara has backed up with stats in the first post of this mobile SEO series, Mobile is growing and is something all businesses online need to consider. As part of this mobile SEO blog series, I'll be zooming in on how location is often at the heart of mobile search, especially when it comes to the service industry.
Local Mobile SEO strategy, in my opinion, comes down to a well optimised Google+ business page which dominates mobile search results page real estate in any local orientated search. Making sure your business has a verified Google+ page with correct information will defiantly meet the objectives set out by Google+ for business: Be found by customers across Google and make it easy for customers to get in touch.
I am going to approach this local mobile SEO post with two different type of local mobile search queries and how Google+ business pages fit in:
Example as shown below: search query on mobile for "iProspect Ireland" is dominated by the Google+ business snippet featuring the name, address, contact details and address. A user can click to call, see opening hours, open up the location on map or easily click through to the site.
A Think With Google Mobile Path to Purchase study found that consumers commonly look for a store’s location on mobile and 71% used a store locator via mobile to find a store. Not having your business set up on Google+ (which is connected to Google Maps), means prospective customers will not have the ease of quickly finding relevant location information via Google Maps when conducting a mobile search for said business.
Example as shown below: search query on mobile for "Dentists in Dublin 2" is again dominated by the Google+ business snippets featuring the businesses that in the location that match the mobile user's search query. If for example a dentist in Dublin 2 is not set up or set up correctly on Google+ for business, then they will have no visibility for such a search query.
What’s more? Location proximity matters to mobile consumers with 69% of consumers expect businesses to be within 5 miles or less of their location.
So now we know that location does matter when it comes to mobile search and these type of search queries share one element in common; the mobile SERP is very much dominated by Google+ for business elements.
Google recently re-launched their local Google+ local product with the new Google My Business platform which encourages businesses to get onto Google+ and reap the beautiful benefits mentioned above; “Get your business on Google for free, Be found by customers across Google, Make it easy for customers to get in touch.”
You can easily create a Google+ page for your business, verify the business address, connect it to Google maps and enter in important business information (phone number, website, opening hours etc) and add images. This can all be done through the Google My Business Platform.
Often Google will automatically generate a Google+ page for your business but quite often business owners do not verify their own page, missing out on sharing important information with potential customers. By creating a verified Google+ local profile, you are also giving a listing on Google maps which is also valuable for mobile search because it is both featured highly in the SERP and local search on a smartphone also happens with map apps such as Google Maps that use Google search.
1. Google+ for business Objective 1: Make it easy for customers to get in touch –> Mobile search query “Business name+Location"
2. Google+ for business Objective 2: Be found by customers across Google a "Service type + location”
If I am out in Dublin and I want to call for example, Milano Italian restaurant on Dawson Street to see if they have a free table at 7pm, I will take my mobile out and search “Milano Dawson Street”. Before the days of Google+ for business integration onto the search results page, I would have had to go onto the Milano website (which isn’t all that well mobile-optimised) to find their contact details which happen to be hidden down in the footer. To get their phone number I would probably call the number out to a friend to take it down and then ask for it back and make the phone call. HOW TEDIOUS!
With the integration of the Milano Dawson Street Google+ page as shown in the below screenshot, I can simply click “Call” to get it contact. Additionally, if I am not too sure where they are located, I can again simply Google “Milano Dawson Street”, click the map and be given directions in a matter of moments.
However, one thing that is wrong with how Milano Dawson Street’s Google+ business page is set up is that their website is set to the Milano.ie homepage and not the separate Dawson Street location page. If a business has multiple locations, like Milano, it is ideal that the website URL assigned to each location's Google+ page is the individual location's landing page.
I don’t know if my enthusiasm for these benefits is unique to people like me who work in search and are aware of Google+ or if I should even be enthusiastic because it ultimately drives organic traffic away from your site. As an SEO, I want to show clients a growth in organic traffic, not a decline once we implement Google+!
Google+ insights are the saviour here. You can see how many phone number clicks, map clicks or clicks to your website Google+ has driven in this neat and easy to use dashboard. Hurrah! Unfortunately, you cannot see the breakdown between mobile and desktop or on SERP click or on Google+ page click, but it still delivers the amount of leads driven to your business through Google+.
My method of finding business information while out and about has changed and I rely solely on Google+ to find a businesses' location or contact details. I have found myself infuriated when a business I am trying to find or contact is not set up on Google+, meaning I have to usually go onto their non-mobile friendly site and attempt to find these minor details.
2.Google+ for business Objective 2: Be found by customers across Google a "Service type + location”
These “service + location” search queries are very much at the focus of local SEO. As mentioned above, local intent is very much often at the heart of mobile search. We might not realise how often we conduct such local intent searches. Looking back over the last couple of months, I have been searching for local services on my mobile such as using Google maps to find hairdressers near the iProspect office, I have searched for “iPhone screen repair Dun Laoghaire” after smashing my screen, Italian restaurants nearby while out with friends and many more related searches. This obviously does not include searches for known business names of which I am seeking information about as I explained just above.
A well optimised Google+ business page will ensure your business is appearing when the service + location query match your Google+ details and of course if your business is located nearby.
An important aspect of local SEO, which of course covers local mobile SEO too, is ensuring NAP elements are correct and consistent. This means ensuring name, address and phone number. An example of how inconsistency can result in a business possibly missing out on potential customers is shown below.
Local mobile search example: “Dentists in Dublin 2"
This example proves the importance of having correct NAP elements (Name, address and phone number) on a Google+ page for relevancy. If I conduct a search for “Dentist Dublin 2” on my mobile while sitting in the iProspect office road on Harcourt Road, Dublin 2, I am shown these results:
I was fully expecting the Harcourt Dental Clinic located right below our office was going to come in top, but it didn’t even appear in the Google+ map pack!
Did Harcourt Dental Clinic not have a Google+ page? I did a brand search and up popped their own Google+ business page. Why were they not appearing for a Dublin 2 related search term? I checked out their listed business address on their Google+ and there it was, it was listed as “14 Harcourt St Dublin, Ireland” not “14 Harcourt St., Dublin 2, Ireland” as stated on their website. By simply not including Dublin 2 in their address, they are not appearing for broad Dublin 2 related search queries.
Obviously many other factors come influence the local mobile rankings for these "service + location" searches such as location, reviews and factors influenced by the Google Pigeon algorithm. However, despite all the ranking elements that come into affect, a local business does not even get a chance at featuring on prime local mobile SERP real estate without being set up on Google+. The importance of Google+ for business has been highlighted as both an effective and measurable way of driving customers, leads and enquiries. While I have highlighted the importance and benefits of Google+ for business, I have also shown through the Dentist in Dublin 2 case that a Google+ page with incorrect information can result is the possible loss of a substantial amount of potential leads, enquirers or customers.
Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below or feel free to tweet at us at @iprospectirl.