The use of mobile devices has ushered in a new era of freedom when it comes to getting the information we need at the precise moment we need it. Google has even coined a term to describe this behavior: micro-moments.

This post, Take Advantage of ‘Micro-moments’ Mobile Search Trend, was first published on WebMarketingToday.

“Micro-moments occur when people reflexively turn to a device — increasingly a smartphone — to act on a need to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something,” Google said.

Local business owners can capitalize on this mobile-inspired, micro-moments trend by taking the following ten actions.

1. Create a Mobile-friendly Version of Your Website

Creating a mobile-friendly site for your business is a necessary and vital first step, for three reasons:

  • Smartphone users want information delivered quickly. Non-mobile-optimized websites inhibit the search and discovery process, leading mobile users to go elsewhere more than 60 percent of the time, with little chance that they will return;
  • Mobile users are more likely to purchase products or services from a business that has a mobile-friendly site;
  • Google rewards and demotes sites based on their mobile-friendliness.

The article “Make Your Website Mobile-friendly Now; 3 Ways” explains the impact that a non-optimized website can have on your business and prescribes three ways to get a mobile version up and running quickly.

2. Optimize Your Site for Local Search

Google reports that mobile search queries containing terms like “near me,” “closest,” or “nearby” have increased 34 times since 2011 and nearly doubled from last year. 50 percent of consumers who conduct local searches on their smartphone go to a store within 24 hours, and 18 percent make a purchase within a day.

Clearly, local businesses not only need to optimize their sites to be mobile-friendly but also local-friendly as well. Many of the steps outlined in this article can help.

3. Claim and Verify Your Business Listing in Local Directories

We’ve sounded this drumbeat numerous times, but it’s worth repeating. List your site in local business directories such as Google My Business (GMB), Bing Local, Yelp, and Citysearch. These tend to rank highly in search results and are likely to be the primary way consumers find you.

That is particularly true of Google My Business, for the following reasons:

  • Google owns 66 percent of the search market, according to comScore. Some even suggest that market share could be as high as 80 percent;
  • 83 percent of Google users access search on a daily basis;
  • People conduct more searches using a mobile device than a desktop or laptop computer;
  • Google My Business listings appear in the 3-pack, on Google Maps, and in Google Plus.

I cannot overemphasize the need to claim and verify your GMB listing. If you claimed your listing in the past, re-verify it, as Google has indicated it may un-verify inactive listings.

4. Ensure Your NAP is Correct Across the Board

Google factors the correctness of your NAP into its search algorithm. Incorrect or inconsistent data can hurt how well you rank. Use directory listing services such as BrightLocal or Express Update to correct inaccurate information.

BrightLocal is a directory listing service that can ensure NAP accuracy.

5. Update Your Site with Fresh Content

Blogs tend to rank well in search results and are a primary way to provide fresh content. Include local information in posts when appropriate.

Blog content doesn’t just have to center around your business either. Write about area activities and events, feature non-competing local businesses, and talk about the community itself. Not only does this signal Google that yours is a local business, but it also provides a valuable service to residents. Create a content calendar to help you stay on track.

6. Advertise on Facebook and Google AdWords

Facebook now offers Local Awareness Ads, which enable hyper-targeting. Google AdWords uses ad extensions and that focus on locations.

Facebook Local Awareness ads provide hyper-local targeting.

Take a portion of the advertising budget that you’ve traditionally devoted to the Yellow Pages or local print media, such as newspapers, and allocate it toward digital. Carefully monitor results to ensure you’re getting positive ROI.

7. Integrate the Use of Social Media

Don’t think of social media as a “channel,” but rather a “layer” that integrates with other forms of marketing. Add social sharing buttons on your website and syndicate blog posts to a Facebook business page and Twitter feed. Professional services companies should incorporate LinkedIn into the mix as well, by creating a Company Page.

Maintain a local emphasis by using available targeting options. For example, Facebook, in its posting interface, lets users add a location, narrow the News Feed audience based on location, and select demographic options that include city and state.

Facebook offers a number of targeting options in the posting interface.

8. Develop a Mobile App

More and more, searchers are turning to mobile apps to find information, so it might make sense to create one of your own. That doesn’t mean that you need to hire an app developer necessarily. Several services, such as Como, provide app-building platforms that are relatively easy to use.

Como is a mobile app-building platform.

9. Advertise on Local Apps

If you prefer not build a mobile app, consider advertising on apps with local intent, such as Pushlocal, Foursquare, Facebook, and Yelp.

10. Get Customer Reviews

I’ve repeatedly harped on the need to get customer reviews, for good reason: Customer reviews help build your brand’s reputation and factors into Google’s 3-pack decision-making process. Make gathering reviews a routine practice.

Do not allow the shift toward micro-moment decision-making among mobile device users to affect your business adversely. Take the actions outlined in this article — none of which is difficult to implement — to ensure your business is found at the moment when mobile users need you most.