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Mobile Search on the Rise: 5 Takeaways for Local Business

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Mobile search patterns are steadily growing in numbers. The increase is only going to continue with the proliferation of mobile devices, smartphones, tablets, iPads and the like. It means more people are connected to the internet while on the go, and those people are likely searching for information about local business destinations.

What does that mean for local businesses? Even if you do not sell anything online, you need an online presence so that your business shows up in those mobile search results.

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Some Facts About Mobile Search:

An ongoing consumer behavior study by BIA/Kelsey  gives us insight into consumer search behaviors and supports the idea that there is definitely a growing trend in local business based searches. The study revealed that nearly all consumers (97%) use online media to shop locally. While not all the searches are done while mobile, portable devices are even being used while at home to conduct searches 77% of the time.

According to a Google and Nielsen report, mobile device users stated convenience or speedy access as to the reason they performed searches on their mobile devices while at home or work with a computer present. There is some speculation that many mobile search behaviors that occur while at work are done to avoid detection, monitoring, or blocked searches in the work place. At least 28% of those searches result in a conversion and 73% of those searches resulted in some follow up action, such as: sharing the information, an additional research, visiting the company’s website, calling or visiting the store, or a purchase.

Which types of sites are used to execute searches for local businesses? While other methods are still being used, they are on the decrease while visits to search engines and navigation sites increase.

  1. 90% use a search engine
  2. 48% use the online Yellow Pages
  3. 42% use comparison shopping websites

For more than half of all mobile device users, the No. 1 function via their Web browser is search, Mediapost reports on the latest local search-usage study of about 3,000 users of local business Web search by comScore, Neustar’s Localeze service and agency 15 Miles. Here are some other important facts uncovered by the study:

  • Mobile visits to search navigation sites have increased over 25% in the last 9 months.
  • Nearly 86 million Americans search for local business information on their mobile phones.
  • More than 50% of those who conduct a local business search do so while mobile.
  • On a weekly basis, 56% of those who use local search sites primarily for local business information use them across all devices.

Five takeaways for local businesses to cash in on the mobile search revolution:

  1. Optimize your online business listing and website so that you come up in local searches. It is worth investing the time and money into a combination of a website, social media listings, and online advertising so that the growing number of mobile searches will find your business and the information they need about your business when they are looking for it.
  2. Believe it or not, most local business listings do not even display the accurate information. Jump ahead of the curve and taking a few minutes to insure that all of your business information is listed correctly in the local section of the major websites. Claim all of your listings for Google Plus, Yahoo Local, and any other local directory listings that you can find when searching online for your own business.
  3. Make sure thatyour website has a responsive design – meaning that your website can be read and navigated by mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. This is especially important since tablets will outsell PCs this year, and more than half of all cell phones are smartphones.  If you are first having your website developed make sure that it has a responsive design; if you already have a website and it does not have responsive design, consider a redesign.
  4. Including online sign up for appointments or reservations on your website will increase conversions and also provide an added convenience of allowing them to make appointments at their convenience. 19% of consumers surveyed made appointments with a local business through the business’ website and that doesn’t include restaurant reservations; Cornell University research shows that over half of those surveyed made restaurant reservations online. If you do have an online reservation system you have the potential to double your bookings.
  5. Embrace social media. Get social with the community: build followers, host events, and engage with local consumers in an effort to stay top of mind.

 

Eric Thomas enjoys writing about business and marketing topics. You can follow him on Google, Facebook and Twitter.

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**Disclosure of Material Connection:
Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally or believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials.”

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