Localize Your SEO for Mobile Web Users

The number of people using smart phones and browsing the web while on the go continues to increase. Within the next few years it’s predicted that smart phone usage will grow at even faster rates. Eventually, it will be hard to find a cell phone that isn’t “smart”. So, what does this mean for SEO?

The search habits of smart phone users are typically different than the search habits of someone using a desktop computer. There is a higher percentage of “right here, right now” type searches on a smart phone, which means that local search has become even more important. Smart phone users no longer need to plan out their day before leaving the house; they can make plans and find information as they go. “I’m hungry, right now- where can I eat?” “I need to find directions to the closest convenience store, right now- where is it and how do I get there?”

This kind of search behavior means that it’s extremely important to have a local search presence. You may be located only a block away from a smart phone user and offer the best homemade ice cream in town, but if they type “Anytown, USA ice cream shop” into their browser and you don’t immediately show up, you’ll lose that business to someone that was better prepared.

The first step to optimize for local search is to incorporate local terms, such as the city, state, and neighborhood into the group of targeted keywords that are used in meta tags and throughout the content. The keyword “ice cream shop” becomes “Anytown ice cream shop” or “Anyneighborhood ice cream shop”. Include your physical address, mailing address, and phone number on every page of your website. Using local keywords will help to drive a more targeted audience to your website.

It’s also important to submit a business to local directories. Basic listings to the Google, Bing, and Yahoo! local directories are free to submit to. They typically rank well in the search engines and show your location on a map, which is very important for people that are searching locally and want to find you quickly. It’s important to submit to other local listing sites as well, like Yellow Pages, Local.com, and Yelp.

These strategies should be implemented on all business websites, not just local mom and pop shops. Even if you cater to a national audience, having locally optimized pages of your website establishes that you have a physical location. Some people are still wary of what they see online and this contributes towards gaining their trust.

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