Along with the fast-changing development of technology is the rapid transition of searching behavior of the consumers. In the old days, people tend to access websites using laptops or computers. But as technology continue to evolve, users are more comfortable searching with their mobile phones. An average user, nowadays, are searching almost everything using their mobile devices – places to hangout, restaurants to eat, school to study – basically almost every necessity of a human being.
As a result, Google formally launched Mobile-First Index which gives priority to the mobile version of the websites in the search ranking. Consequently, brands have started to make a responsive website that will work perfectly on any type of device.
Nearly one-third of mobile searches are related to location, according to Google. Which means that users are doing a local search using of their mobile devices; which also means that if you want to build a local-user-based website, you have to make your website mobile-friendly. Although there may be other efforts outside the website that can help your online marketing, your company’s website is still the alpha of all your digital marketing efforts, which makes the web design an integral part of your campaign. Also, because of the mobile craze in the digital world, almost everything revolves around devices.
Here are some strategies that you can incorporate in your web design to keep your brand’s standing in the local search arena.
Start with the metadata
The metadata plays a critical role in search engine marketing. As much as possible you have to maximise a line of text to be able to sell yourself to search engines and the consumers. Which only mean one thing: your metadata has to be designed to attract the attention of mobile users.
Let your copywriters do the magic of making a Meta Description that will accurately describe your products and services while fitting the allowed space for mobile search descriptions. Other websites tend to have longer metadata which gets cut of mid-sentence. Because of that, the searchers will not have a full grasp of the message that you want to bring.
Desktop Search Result for OOm Singapore
Mobile result for OOm Singapore
You can also use schema markup in your design’s code to improve your local search listing appearance. As a local business, you will schema markup helpful because it allows you to tag various elements that the consumers tend to use when they are making the decision process; you can drill down to more specific details about the location and the business.
Shorter web layout is better
Imagine how small a mobile device is, now think about how many times does it take for a user to scroll before they reach the end of your website? If you are aware of how consumers behave online, you would know that they get bored right away. Which means that if they will not see what they want in about two to three scrolls, they may just click back to the results page – and that can affect your bounce rates.
How to make your website more effective for mobile users? You’ve got to keep it short and straight to the point. As much as possible, use the F type of layout where all vital information should be located on top of the page. If you don’t want to put all the details upfront, you can at least put a link up there for the basics – about, services, and contact. After all, that’s what the consumer is really looking for.
Make your content look local
This is where the personalization of content comes in. If you want users to recognize your website as something from the neighborhood, then it should look like it’s from the neighborhood. Take for example the use of western photos for Asian websites, does it look local? We understand that not everyone will be able to produce custom photos and videos of the local community (but if you can, that will be better), so if you will source for stock photos, make sure that it reflects the local residents.
Same goes with the write-ups on your website. Make sure that it sounds like someone is talking to them the way they talk to their neighbors. Conceptualise topics that will you connect to the people that you are luring – from their habits to their beliefs. Make your web content as adapted to the culture as possible.
Reviews and rating are essential
Most of the time, people who search for information online are also looking for recommendation from other users. In the digital age, reviews and rating are the new “word of mouth”. Sure, it’s nice be part of other websites and be rated there. But having it on your own website makes it more legit and you can also monitor the flow of feedback. If it’s bad, you can address it. If it’s good, it’s a marketing leverage.
With the help of reviews and ratings, other fellow local search users are indirectly communicating with other local search users and exchanging opinions about your company. Also, reviews can gain trust of your customers. A positive review can grab the attention of a busy mobile user searching for a local restaurant nearby.
Create a page for each location
You have options in creating a separate page for each location: (1) create a separate website for each country with their own domain; or (2) create subpages on your main website for each of your location. Either way, make sure that the users will not be confused with the information that they need and that they have an option to access the site for their location.
If you will not have separate website for all your locations, make sure to put an indication (a recognizable one) at the top of the page so the visitors will know if they are on the right page or not. Also, you have to give them an option to change it.
Call their attention twice
You are, basically, aiming for something simple and straightforward. Your website will be more effective for mobile users if they can already get the information that they needed and you can already convince them to do business with you, right? So, this is where CTAs come in handy.
Call-to-actions have to be something recognizable but not too persuasive. The best way is to keep it informative and inviting but not forcing the product too much. You can have a creative tagline in a form of question or a statement, then suggest your product or service. And, it’s better to call their attention twice.
Here’s how it could go: on top of the webpage, you can already address them and call their attention using generic information (or the features) of your company. As they browse through the site, they will gather more details about your product. That’s when you can insert the second CTA on lower part of the website focusing on the benefits that your product or services can bring to them. It stands as an opening and closing pitch.