The Importance of Mobile to Local Businesses on Google+

mobile friendly freedom

Being mobile-friendly, provides freedom!


Google has upped the anti in the mobile-friendly game, and announced that come April 21, 2015, website’s that pass the mobile-friendly test (that test is available here) will be given priority in their search results pages.

Google Webmaster Tools-mobile usability test

Google Webmaster Tools-mobile usability test

In addition to the Google mobile-friendly test provided above, you can check your Google Webmaster Tools account. Google provides a link to test your mobile usability, and if your website doesn’t pass the test, Google will provide you additional details to help you get mobile-friendly fast. Many thanks for my friend William Rock, for bringing this tool to my attention.

I’ve spoken with many people, who would like to know how much search traffic is coming from local people. According to Google research:

Appearing on smartphones is critical for local businesses. 94% of smartphone users look for local information on their phone and 84% take action as a result, such as making a purchase or contacting the business.

What this means for local businesses, is that if you’re not mobile-friendly by the time the Google search algorithm updates on April 21, your competition will be receiving the traffic (both to their website and to their store) that you are leaving on the table. What does this mean for your revenue? Only you know the specifics of your local business, but for many small to medium sized businesses, losing out to competition represents thousands of dollars a month in lost revenue.

How Does Google+ Relate to a Mobile Optimized Website?

For businesses using Google+, those who follow you will see your content in Search. This is a massive benefit for businesses considering the use of Google+. Basically, the default Google search is personalized. Personalized search means that you’ll see results from those you have in your Google+ circles, right along with the normal web search results.

With Google’s new mobile-friendly update on the horizon, being seen in search by those who have you and/or your business circled, will directly relate to your website’s ability to provide an optimal mobile experience. For example, let’s say a local person starts a web search on Google and sees your Google business page in their search results. Several things can happen.

  • Your business may appear on Google Maps directly in search results
  • Your business page posts may appear directly in Google search results
  • Your business page may appear as a Knowledge Graph result directly in search results

Any of these possibilities (and more) will and often do lead a potential customer to your website. Many times that potential customer will be on a mobile device, and it only takes a few seconds for them to leave your website (never to return) if their experience isn’t mobile-friendly.

How Does Google Search Relate to a Mobile Optimized Website?

An increasing amount of Search traffic is coming from a mobile device, some estimates are up to 60%. In addition, in the past year alone, “Total mobile engagement on social has grown 55%” according to a recent ComScore study.

78 Percent Of Local-Mobile Searches Result In Offline Purchases

78 Percent Of Local-Mobile Searches Result In Offline Purchases

For local businesses, the need for a mobile optimized website becomes even greater. Another recent ComScore study found that 78 percent of local-mobile searches resulted in an offline purchase. For more on local search and mobile traffic, see this Search Engine Land article.

What are Local Mobile Searchers Looking for?

Again from Search Engine Land, we find another study showing that 88 percent of smartphone users use their devices for local searches. People who make mobile searches locally are looking for:

  • store hours
  • directions
  • addresses
  • product availability

Most consumers (4 in 5) want local ads, customized to where they are and here’s what people want to see:

  • addresses
  • the “Get directions” link
  • a phone number
  • a call button

How can Local Businesses get Mobile Optimized?

Responsive design can be a good option. However, many responsive sites aren’t as optimized for mobile as they should be. Sometimes they are slow, or don’t display information as well on a mobile device as they do on a desktop site.

Another option, one which ensures that your website is providing an amazing mobile experience, is to have a mobile first website available for your mobile traffic. This means, displaying a mobile version of your site when people visit you from a mobile device.

Basically, you should be providing a mobile version of your website specifically intended for your mobile traffic. If you have a good in-house developer, with experience in mobile website design, great you’re almost there! However, if you don’t have a mobile website developer in-house, feel free to reach out to me by filling out the form below, and I’ll help you get setup with a mobile first website quickly.

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