Are mobile rankings the new Yellow Pages for local businesses?
The Yellow Pages was one book, one easy way to find everything. Everyone had one.
It used to be so much simpler. When you needed something, just grab the phonebook. I remember the exact place my parents kept the phonebook underneath our landline phone. And I can remember my parents yelling, "Where's the phonebook?" if it wasn't put back exactly in that place. It was the magical index for whatever you needed. Just check the phonebook. There it was. Clear. Straightforward. Flip through a few yellow pages of listings, then call the one you like. Everyone had a phonebook. Ahhh, simpler times.
Good luck even finding a phonebook these days.
There aren't many people left who have a good old-fashioned thick, giant, paper phonebook in their homes anymore. More than 50% of U.S. households don't even have landlines anymore, according to a recent report by the US Health Department on wireless substitution.
With only 6.5% of American homes being landline-only, your fingers may have to do the walking somewhere else.
So, how do people find the nearby businesses and services they're searching for?
Think back to the last time you needed something. Where did you look? The most likely answer is that you typed in your search on Google, according to research. Since 2016, the majority of those searches on Google haven been taking place on mobile devices.
People are more connected than ever to their mobile devices. It's the first place they turn.
People are glued to their phones. Most people don't leave their house without their smartphone. It's a beloved, addictive instrument of contemporary living. And the importance of mobile for traditional brick-and-mortar businesses cannot be overestimated, according to recent data in the Google/IPSOS study "Understanding Consumers' Local Search Behavior":
- 72% of consumers who searched for local information on smartphone visit a store within 5 miles.
- 50% of consumers who searched for a local store on their smartphone visited the store within a day vs. 34% who searched on computer/tablet.
"Local searchers are ready to act. Many visit a nearby location within a day and complete purchases at a higher rate than consumers who conduct non-local searches," according to Google
Google has gone mobile too. The search giant increasingly favors mobile-friendly sites. The coming mobile ranking index will change everything.
In the recent StatCounter article "Mobile and tablet internet usage exceeds desktop for first time worldwide," the increased mobile traffic stats and the importance Google places on mobile websites are examined. Aodhan Cullen, chief executive of StatCounter, advises small business owners to get the jump on the coming Google shift to Mobile.
"This should be a wake up call especially for small businesses, sole traders and professionals to make sure that their websites are mobile friendly. Many older websites are not," counsels Cullen.
"Mobile compatibility is increasingly important not just because of growing traffic but because Google favours mobile-friendly websites for its mobile search results," according to Cullen.
- Without a user-friendly mobile site, Google's algorithm is designed to lower your search engine rankings
- Google has already announced plans for a mobile-first index, read their post Google Webmaster Central Blog
With insight, you're ready for action:
You can read statistics about the importance of Google and mobile for local businesses. But you probably don't have to go that far. Think about your own habits. Put yourself in the place of your clients and customers. You probably already know the answer to connecting with more people looking for your business. You're looking on Google. So is everybody else, mostly using mobile devices. Will your website rank in the mobile-first world? Find out with a complimentary mobile content review.
-By Melissa DuShane
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