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Mobile Search Trends Indicate That Local Search Is the Future

How we use the internet has changed greatly in recent years, mostly due to two major contributing factors: the evolution of Web 2.0 social media, and the rapid increase in the use of mobile devices. Internet users are now just as likely to be on their iPhone as their PC, and are using social media and local directory and review sites to influence their purchasing decisions. One fifth1 of all searches on Google uses a location as one of the query parameters and with the continued growth in mobile internet use that figure can only increase. Businesses that don’t take advantage of the local search market may be missing a lot of customers simply because they aren’t taking advantage of the location based web services on offer.

Worldwide, more people have mobile phones than have toothbrushes2. With the development of 4G wireless technology that has given mobile internet users greater web access, Google predicts that this year 1 billion people will use their mobile device for their primary internet access point3. The convenience of having the internet at your fingertips makes mobile devices the perfect way to look for local solutions, and 92% of smart phone users are using their devices to access local information4. There has been a 200% growth in local search5 over the past five years, so it doesn’t look like this trend is going to wane in the near future.

The fact that smart phones are always on and usually in the possession of their owners makes them the perfect tool for comparison shopping between products and the businesses that sell them. One third of all mobile internet users use local search sites and internet yellow pages once a week, while the same number use local search on social media sites daily5. These searches result in sales with over 80% of local information seekers taking action based on the results of their search4. Mobile local searchers want the relevant information about businesses on the spot, such as the address, phone numbers and hours of business, to enable them to make a purchasing decision while the businesses that supply these details will make the sales.

The other side to mobile web connectivity is the immediate access that it gives users to social media networks where they can discuss your business with their friends. Consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a business that is recommended by someone that they know and so having a social media page that is connected to your business location is becoming vital. 61% of mobile web users have said that they take online reviews into account when they are making a purchase although only 29% indicated that they had used that information to make their decision. The reason for the discrepancy is the large number of incomplete business profiles and the lack of reviews for many businesses online5.

Just taking advantage of the opportunity that sites like Yellow Pages Online and Google Places offer to present a complete online business profile on their sites can go a long way towards optimizing your website to be more visible to mobile web users. The importance of ratings and reviews to local web users’ purchasing decisions indicates that the businesses that encourage locals to rate them online will attract more local patronage. It is also obvious that to take advantage of all of this, your company website needs to be configured to be mobile friendly in order to be able to accommodate the new wave of local searchers when they do look for you. Making sure that your business is visible to local mobile surfers is now vital to small business, and a free consultation with Infintech Designs will reveal how your corporate website can be optimized to take advantage of this growth in mobile search.

4.Our Mobile Planet: Global Smartphone Users. Google, February 2012
5.5th Annual 15miles/Localeze Local Search Usage Study, comScore, 2012

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