iOS 9 is Going Local: 6 Tips To Getting Optimized for iOS Search

By | Inbound Marketing, Mobile, News, Search Marketing | No Comments

“Location, location, location” is no longer a mantra for those in real-estate alone. Apple is turning marketers’ heads with its latest mobile operating system, iOS 9, to be released this fall; this time, having a stronger focus on local search. Just like with any major update (we might recall Google’s Mobilegeddon earlier this year) brands and businesses have a brief opportunity to implement changes in an effort to rise to search stardom, or they may sink between the cracks.  

For the first time, mobile app content will be integrated into search, providing an opportunity for users to connect with location-based content. Apple Maps, a local search platform for millions, will implement features to enhance location detail and provide local business search results, as well as detailed public transit information.

These changes could prove to be a great opportunity for local business to be brought to the forefront; having store locations and other important information displayed in Apple Maps though Siri, Spotlight, and Safari search.

Your site may already be marked, “mobile-friendly”, but there is a narrow window to get your site and apps optimized for iOS local search in time for the update. Here’s what to look for to be sure you’re up to speed:

1. Check your location data

Getting your business on Apple’s radar is just the beginning. Check to see that your location data is up to date and visible to its web and app crawler, Applebot. Keep your location data consistently visible and include a store locator feature for you app or website.

2. Provide rich results

Make your content richer by using images, reviews, actions, and adding metadata wherever possible. Keyword usage is an imperative practice as well but be careful not to “over-stuff” and to stay relevant to the content topic. Applebot will ideally recognize it and reward you for having ample, relevant information to scan.

3. Index your best

Improve your “engagement-to-shown” ratio by indexing your best content with a focus on local search. Always index positive user-generated content, as well as content that provides any information on location. Avoid duplicate content by using the same identifier for the same item across multiple APIs.

4. Use schema

Help iOS return more of your information results to users by making sure to markup your website with schema. Two actions are currently supported by iOS; calling a phone number, and getting directions to an address. There are plenty of resources available to help you implement schemas to build out your SERP real estate with more detail, as in this example:
schema-seo-rich-snippetsImage Source

5. Know that speed is a factor

Check the amount of time it takes from from tapping a search result to the content displaying in your app. Apple will be measuring it as well and using this information as a ranking factor.

6. Get user-generated content

Let your users speak for you. Incorporating ratings, reviews, and testimonials will help to give your content a more local focus. Allow users to engage in these actions via your app, website, and social media platforms, and your content will be more likely to show up in search results.

The new iOS 9 update provides the chance for local businesses to be seen in a new light. By taking the necessary actions to implement changes to your site or app, your local business or brand can stay ahead of the curve and gain a competitive advantage over the big players in search results.

What changes are you making to be ready for iOS 9 local search?

Share and comment below!

Mobile User Experience Matters To Your Users & Google!

By | Mobile | No Comments

mobile-usageWe no longer live in a world where people say, “It’s nice to have a mobile device.” Now it’s, “I can’t function without a mobile device.”

Mobile usage is growing worldwide every day. It was predicted by eMarketer that in 2013 the average adult would spend approximately 5 hours and 16 minutes online, with 2 hours and 19 minutes of that total time being spent on mobile devices. eMarketer also estimated that 73.4 percent of Internet users accessed the web from a mobile device in 2013, and it foresees that percent rising to 79.1 this year.

With so many people using mobile devices for any and everything they need, it’s no surprise that Google is taking special interest in ensuring sites are mobile-friendly for users. Google cares about its users and strives to give them the most valuable sites and information they can to help them experience the fullness of the web. So if your site isn’t optimized for mobile devices, don’t think Google won’t notice.

In June 2013, Google announced its plan to roll out numerous ranking changes in the somewhat near future to address websites that are misconfigured for mobile users, and in October, Google started taking action.

Google wants to improve the search experience for mobile users, and you want to adhere to what Google and your mobile users want. To do that, you must make sure your mobile users aren’t experiencing certain issues.

A typical problem is faulty redirects, where a desktop page sends mobile users to an unrelated page on the mobile site. A lot of times users leave the site out of frustration if that happens. Sometimes users stay if they really want to find that correct page, but that takes them time and most are annoyed the whole time they’re looking for it. Other problems include serving 404s, unplayable videos and page speed.

redirect example

These problems are fairly easy fixes. To avoid irrelevant redirects, redirect mobile users from a desktop page to its equivalent mobile-optimized page. If there isn’t a mobile-friendly format for their page, take them to the desktop page because that’s better than sending them to a page they didn’t want. Don’t serve 404s or give users an error page. Redirect them to the right URL or show them the desktop version if there isn’t a mobile one. Don’t have videos users can’t play when visiting your site on a mobile device. You can avoid this by steering clear of software that most mobile devices don’t support, like Adobe Flash. Provide fast, not slow, page speed. Make sure a page’s loading time is quick and optimized for mobile devices.

If mobile users experience any of these problems with your site, then Google will drop you in its mobile rankings. But if you make your site work on all platforms, Google takes notice and will do its best to make sure your site ranks above ones that frustrate users and don’t work on specific platforms. When your site is mobile-friendly, your users will be pleased with you and your rankings will be up where they should be, which means a better chance of receiving more traffic to your site.

Don’t Need A Mobile Strategy? Think Again!

By | Mobile | One Comment

I came across this graphic yesterday while putting together a newsletter for one of our awesome clients and felt it needed to be posted on our blog.

As I talk to prospects and clients, I hear on a regular basis, “I don’t need a mobile strategy, my target audience doesn’t use mobile devices to find what we offer”. I’m not going to lie, I’m guilty of playing into this as well, but it’s not true. Case in point: my dad is in his late 50’s, is an electrician, has a Kindle Fire and is getting his first smart phone in the next few weeks. I guarantee he will be sitting in his truck ordering electrical boxes and wire on his phone by the end of the year. It’s just too easy!

The problem is, two of the sites that he would probably order from (or at least look product up) are awful when it comes to ease of use on a mobile device. See for yourself… and

I don’t care who you are, what you do, or who your target audience is, it is going to be critical for all businesses to have a mobile strategy in 2014 or you’re competitors will eat your lunch.

Here are some points in the graphic that really stood out to me:

  • Mobile internet usage will overtake desktop internet usage (that’s scary)
  • 81% of U.S. cell phone users will have a smartphone by the end of 2014
  • 75% of mobile users use their mobile device for shopping
  • 53% of American consumers use their smartphone to access the search engines as least once per day
  • 52% of all local searches are performed on a mobile device
  • 71% of mobile users expect web pages to load almost as quickly or faster than web pages on their desktop
  • 74% of consumers will wait no longer than 5 seconds for a web page to load on their mobile device before going elsewhere

If those seven points are not enough to get the ball moving, I don’t know what will. I hope you enjoy the rest of the graphic and if you need help with a mobile strategy, don’t hesitate to reach out.

mobile usage infographic