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Have you noticed?  Mobile Search Optimization is becoming increasingly critical in the online world.  In case any of you have been wondering about the impact and importance of Mobile Search, and what to do about it, this article should bring you to some very clear conclusions on the matter. I will also give you some general information on the best way to go about optimizing your website for Mobile Search.  How and when you implement that information is up to you, but I suggest you don’t wait very long.

Everyone agrees that modern mobile devices have changed the way we interact, keep track, stay organized, play games etc. But the sea change toward mobile leaves most of my business clients with many unanswered questions, such as

  • What has the impact of mobile devices been on the way we browse the internet?
  • What are users looking for when they type in a search query on their smartphone in contrast to their computer at home?
  • And most importantly for you, how can companies, large and small, take advantage of mobile search optimization?

The first thing you should know about mobile search is that the impact it has made in all these areas has been enormous, and it’s still growing rapidly. By the year 2014 it is estimated that smartphones will be the most popular tool for accessing the internet, and search will obviously be a high percentage of the time spent on those mobile devices.

The Facts about Mobile Search

Here’s another interesting statistic. According to Google, 95% of all smartphone users have searched for local information, and local searches currently account for about 40% of all mobile searches. This is something that any business, especially small businesses who deal mostly locally, should take notice of.

What’s even more interesting is how these users are acting upon their searches. Roughly 61% of users have called a business after a search, 59% of these have visited a physical business location following a search, and 90% of these users acted within 24 hours.

The Increasing Importance of Long Tail Keywords

One of the key things to take note of is the differences in search queries from desktops to smartphone. Mobile search queries are typically longer and more descriptive with more keywords. That seems crazy to me, since I hate “thumbing” a bunch of stuff into my Droid Razr Maxx. But I’m old school…I learned to type on an IBM Selectric (yikes, talk about dating myself), and I will never be comfortable for long without my keyboard.

The difference is that for most mobile users, these people know what they want, they’re out and about looking, and they’re ready to act. The website that’s coming up highest in those mobile search results, with that smooth simple and professional user interface, offering a clear call the action is going to win their business.

Are you convinced yet of the impact and importance of Mobile Search and the need for Mobile Search Optimization? You were before I wasted 10 minutes proving it to you, right? So what small steps can you take in 2012 to start getting more out of mobile search? Well here a few simple steps to start implementing right away.

  • First and foremost, build a mobile website. Over 55% of users say they don’t recommend businesses with poorly-designed mobile sites. Of those, 40% have switched to a competitor’s site after a bad experience. You want your site to operate as much like a phone app as possible.
  • Make sure you have a clear call to action. It is very important to have a “Call Now”, “Email” and “Find Us” buttons at the forefront of your site. Remember, these people are ready to take action and these buttons will encourage them to contact you or show them your physical location.
  • Mobile use steadily grows throughout the day into the evening, so if you are open late, include that info on your site.
  • Mobile Search Queries are generally longer and more descriptive, so while the actual results are almost identical to desktop results, users are searching differently. Optimize your site for this by adding “long-tail” keyphrases to your title tags and more detailed descriptions with more keywords.
  • Not only are a high percentage of mobile searches local, but local results are more likely to show regardless of whether or not the user actually included a location in the search. (Here’s a good reference for local search optimization, by the way.)
  • The SERP’s are almost exactly the same from mobile to desktop, so high rankings for your desktop website should translate into high rankings for your mobile site. But the window of opportunity is smaller. It takes more to get “above the fold” on a mobile screen than your desktop or laptop, for obvious reasons.

Mobile Search Takeaway

To succeed at Mobile Search make sure your website is optimized for a mobile device, your local search optimization is first rate, and your organic SEO includes plenty of long-tail, specific keyword phrases.

For hands-on training that includes local and mobile search optimization, check out one of our 5-day SEO Workshops.