Google reveals the secrets to local & mobile search

7544220538_abc4634cd6_zWith smartphone and mobile device usage on the rise, more people are conducting web searches while they’re out and about. A new report from Google, ‘Understanding Consumers’ Local Search Behaviour’, has found that this emerging trend presents a big opportunity for small businesses to embrace local search optimisation for their websites.

According to the report, 4 out of 5 consumers use search engines to find information about local businesses, including opening hours, address details, and directions. These local searches are proving to be valuable to businesses – the report found that local searches lead 50% of mobile users to visit stores within a day of conducting the search. Google’s research also found that customers who conduct local searches are more likely to convert to paying customers; 18% of local searches on smartphones lead to purchase within a day, compared to 7% of non-local searches.

Consumers are becoming increasingly search-savvy and know that local searches are the quickest way to get relevant results. For example, searching for ‘florist in Stockport’ is likely to get more targeted results than a general search for ‘flowers’. This is especially important for mobile searchers, who often need instant results when they’re on the move.

Even more general searches for ‘florist near me’, for example, will bring back local results thanks to the Google Places feature. This makes Google Places an essential marketing tool for small businesses; Setting up a profile is simple, and can make a real difference to local search visibility.

Google’s latest research proves that local search is a key consideration for small businesses optimising their sites for SEO. Businesses need to choose their keywords wisely, bearing local search in mind. This will put them ahead of many of their local competitors  – whether they lack a local SEO strategy or don’t even have a website.

The report also highlighted the wide usage of mobile devices for search; 88% of people said they conduct local searches using their smartphones. Small businesses without a mobile optimised or responsive website are missing out on a massive portion of potential traffic and sales.

For small businesses in every area, local and mobile search presents a huge opportunity which can be easily capitalised on. With a few small measures – including considering location in keywords, setting up Google Places and ensuring sites are optimised for mobile devices – small businesses can easily gain more traffic and sales through local search.

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Kasey writes about the latest small business and website news for bOnline. Find Kasey on Google+, or follow bOnline on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+

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