Small Businesses: Get Mobile or Get Lost

Google performs trillions of searches each year. It’s the way that people are searching which local Oklahoma City businesses need to take heed of. What’s the first thing you looked at this morning? I’m going to take a guess and if you’re anything like me it was your mobile phone. Alarm goes off, you groggily (is that a word?) grab it and turn off the alarm, and low and behold there’s a bunch of news updates. And if you’re really lucky maybe a text message or even a Facebook message just begging for you to swipe them. Jackpot! Then it’s time to begrudgingly stumble to the bathroom and the thought starts to enter your mind about what work emails might await you on this fine morning. To check? Or not to check?

We are attached to these darn devices for better or worse. They travel with us everywhere, we stare at them more than our spouse, and if it comes up missing the level of panic is akin to the Y2K craze (remember that gem?). If not, Google it because it was bananas. The thought that we ever lived without these intelligent pieces of plastic is foreign. I can’t imagine not knowing what my friends had for dinner last night. Or what fantastic exotic vacation my one single friend is having this month. I guess I better ‘like’ it because if I don’t then he might notice and I don’t want to be ‘that guy’. Because then he won’t ‘like’ what I post and if that happens I may not get to a respectable number and people will think I don’t have a lot of friends. Wow! That rant was somewhat therapeutic. Bottom line is that our lives have become defined by these mobile devices that hold the gateway to our virtual lives whenever we want it, and even when we don’t.

We have endless amounts of information on a device that fits in our pocket and is accessible with tap, a swipe, or a voice command. Don’t get me started in Siri. We’ve had our go-rounds. Sorry Encyclopedia Britannica, newspapers, and Yellow Pages. You had a good run.

Hey business owner? Do you sense an opportunity here?
Darn right you do! When’s the last time you uttered the words ‘hey honey, have you seen the Yellow Pages?’. Nah, not going to happen. Dr. Google has you covered. You just type in a few words hit search and the world is your oyster. Heck, Dr. Google will even suggest other things you didn’t even consider. But let’s also be real, with instant accessibility comes a continuous decline in attention span and patience. If it’s not on the first page of your search results chances are I’ll never see it. I guess most people are like you because according to Hubspot’s research 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results. I’m not a mathematician but methinks you want to be on the first page.
So what can a small business owner do? Well, start with some basics. Make sure your website is mobile optimized with the following things in mind:

Speed
Make sure your page speed is on point. Remember how I mentioned people have less attention span now-a-days? Well so does Google. One of the primary things Google considers I whether your website is a good user experience. Slow page loads are a no-go for Google. It also minimizes the number of pages search engines can crawl which can impact how much of your site gets indexed.

Schema structured data
Schema is specific lexicon tags you can add to your site that helps the search engines understand your website and as a result provide more informative search results in the form of rich snippets. It basically provides more context on what your website, or a page of your website, is about. As voice search becomes more prevalent this tactic is becoming increasingly important. Go to Schema.org to learn more.

NAP
No, not a siesta. In SEO we love us some acronyms so you will often hear the acronym NAP in the local search game. It’s simply name, address, and phone number. This info is critical for companies looking to rank for geo-specific searches. Having correct and consistent NAP across local directories is imperative.

Titles and meta-descriptions
Less screen space on mobile devices places even more importance on creating effective titles and meta descriptions. Be brief but descriptive. Remember that you’re competing for attention.

Google prefers responsive design
If you are designing a website or in the process of redesigning your current site you should absolutely consider a responsive design. Responsive simply means that your site adapts to whatever screen it appears on so the content is consistent across any screen.

This is by no mean an exhaustive list. There is much more to a complete SEO strategy than these 5 points but you have to start somewhere, right? Rome wasn’t built in day.

Mobile Search Affects All Businesses
Regardless of what industry you’re in it’s an indisputable fact that your web presence needs to search optimized for mobile in order to be relevant to consumers and search engines. This infographic from Hitwise does a great job of illustrating that:

Conclusion
Despite what your personal feelings are about mobile phones and the role they play in our lives, if you are a business owner you better make darn sure your website is optimized for mobile. If it’s not, you will get lost deep in the search results and miss a big opportunity to gain more customers and grow your business. Don’t guess. Get a free website analysis that will help you identify whether your site is mobile optimized.
Cheers,
Ben Lindner
Vigilant SEO

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