May 29, 2015

Mobile Devices are Propelling Local Searches

By Nick K.

How often have you gone around town searching for a new local hotspot to check out? How do you decide what to do and where to go?

It wouldn’t surprise me if almost everyone answered with some variation of “I use my phone.” Most smartphone owners use Google in hopes that the search engine will provide some guidance via Maps, Search, and Google My Business.

Earlier this month, Lauren wrote about the importance of local searches and their recent surge on search engines. She made the point that if local businesses can be found quickly and easily, there is a high chance that people will buy from them.

Recently, Google has released their latest search trends, which noted that local searches are becoming increasingly more popular among users.

Reason for the Local Search Outbreak?

One of the main reasons for the local search outbreak is due to the widespread usage of mobile devices. In fact, Search Engine Land reported Google queries which include a location keyword, like “local” or “near me,” have more than doubled this year alone.  In addition, over 80% of those searches were performed using a mobile device.

There are also a couple other factors that attribute to the local search outbreak, including Google’s mobile algorithm, also known as “Mobilegeddon.” Society has also made a shift towards integrating mobile devices into our daily lives. We are always using our mobile devices to acquire information, mostly based on our specific location, and want the information immediately. Not in a few seconds, but now. For example, I doubt many of you have even read through this blog post without checking your phone or opening a new tab to search something else. That’s not a bad thing. It just means Google is keeping up with our short attention spans.

Google’s Response to the Local Search Rise

True to Google’s nature on optimizing and making information more accessible to the user, they have launched a new ad product that targets specific location queries. Whenever a user performs a location-related search, a paid company’s ad will show up above the organic listings.

There is not much detailed information about this new mobile ad format. However, it sounds like whenever you perform a generic search on your mobile device for a local business, the paid advertisements will show up above the organic ones. Do not be alarmed by this change, though, for Google is still trying to find a way to balance how searches are conducted.

All in all, mobile device local searches are on the rise, and they will keep on growing. Now more than ever it is essential for your local business to be optimized and found on Google Maps. At the end of the day, if your local business can’t be found by users, then it essentially does not exist.

Do you think there are any other reasons of why local searches have been increasing so rapidly? Please feel free to share your comments below!  

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