According to Google, around 40% of web searches on mobiles include a location in them. People are looking for 'pizza in Pittsburgh,' 'Boston termite control,' or 'Dallas dentist.' This is because they use their mobiles to find local services. If you want them to find you, your business has to be there.
Google has offered local search for mobiles since 2005. It works just like PC local search but with a few differences. The results are simpler and focus more on maps and driving directions.
But as mobile searches have grown more popular and local keywords have been increasingly used in searches, it's now offering much more. The search engine now uses the GPS capabilities of smartphones to deliver location-specific results. Search results and ad placement are automatically tailored to your physical location.
Know Your Place
First of all, make sure you're listed in Google Places and other location services like Yelp, Foursquare and Bing Local Search. These sites are all huge and play a major part in search results. If you're already listed, claim your listing so you can control it.
Fill in your profile completely and optimize for relevant keywords. Google Places gives your listing a 'score,' and if it's not filled out, it'll be low. This adversely affects your ranking in the search results.
Add plenty of photos and information to your profile. Highlight your specialties and the things that set your business apart from others in the area. This is the kind of information people are looking for. Also, ask your customers to leave good reviews for you.
Your Mobile Site
Make sure you've got a mobile version of your site. Optimize it for location-specific keywords. A great way to get traffic to your site is to offer mobile coupons. They click a button and get a deal. This can be the deciding factor when somebody is trying to choose between your business and a similar one.
Click to Call
A mobile-only feature that's gaining in popularity is click to call. You put a button on your site and when they tap the button, their phone makes the call. This is much quicker and easier than having to dial the number. For lots of mobile searchers, when they find a business they like, the next step is to call them and ask a few questions. Click to call makes it easy for them to do this.
Local Extensions for AdWords
If you're using Google AdWords, take advantage of local extensions. This feature automatically attaches your address to your business, which means that your ads get shown to people who are searching in your local area. If they type 'pizza' into Google search, they'll get ads that contain both the keyword and location extensions.
More and more, people are looking for the services they need on their mobiles. Google has responded by offering services to connect them to your business. Take advantage of these services by optimizing your sites and profiles for local search and you can get great local advertising without spending a dime.