Mobile is booming. Last year, smartphone sales overtook PC sales for the first time, while the number of mobile web searches has increased by 400% in the last two years.
Despite this growth, a recent nationwide survey of micro-business owners by Everything Everywhere found that 46% of small businesses aren’t doing anything to be seen by potential customers using smartphones in their area.
The reality is, as more and more people use smartphones to search for businesses around their location, companies that don’t have a presence on the mobile web stand to lose customers to those that do.
However, by spending just half an hour to take a few simple – and often free – steps, you can make sure your business is easily found by potential customers searching on their mobile phones.
The most popular, and therefore most important services to increase mobile visibility are:
2. Google Places / Google Maps
3. The mobile web
4. Search engine optimisation
Here are some tips for boosting your presence in each of these areas:
There are over 30 million Facebook users in the UK, who are constantly sharing experiences with each other. People search for businesses through Facebook, and often ‘check-in’ to a location to recommend it to their friends. Creating a Facebook Page helps to promote your business, and you can link it to your location so customers can ‘check-in’ easily.
Setting up a Facebook Page for your business:
(For more information on how to use Facebook to promote your business, read our guide.)
More and more people are using Google Maps from laptops, tablets and smartphones. Google Places provides data on businesses to Google Maps users. It’s quick, easy, and free to register your business on Google Places, which effectively acts as free advertising.
Registering your business on Google Places:
- Go to http://www.google.co.uk/places
- Sign up with a business email address, not a personal email address – this is so that any enquiries from customers will go through to the business address.
- Use your main business phone number – this is so that customers can call you on your business phone.
- Be sure to list all of the basic information your customers might need, eg business name and location, opening hours, and contact details.
- You will be sent a ‘verification PIN’ to your business address, or your business phone. Simply follow the instructions provided so you can verify the business. Verifying the listing means you can customise it with information that will help it stand-out, like pictures, videos, discounts etc.
If you have more questions, you can find more guidance here.
People are increasingly using mobile devices to search for businesses, but smaller screen sizes can make websites look cramped and difficult to navigate. A mobile-friendly website makes it quick and easy for people to read about your business when they’re on the go.
Making your business’ website mobile friendly:
- If your website was set up with help from your web provider or a web designer, you should ask them for help first. There may be automatic processes that can help.
- If you’re adapting your site manually – Keep it simple.
- Resize images so they’re smaller, this makes them quicker and easier to load on mobile devices.
- Rethink how the site is laid out – you may need to change it so that people on a mobile device can find information more easily.
- Use the web browser on a smartphone to test how the website looks and behaves.
SEO is how you ensure your website appears in the results when people look for businesses using search engines like Google. The higher up your business is in the results, the more chance there is of increasing web traffic and bringing in new customers.
How to increase SEO for your company website:
- It sounds obvious, but make sure you include keywords for your industry on your website, for example, a florist would want to include variations of the word ‘flower’ (eg flower, flowers, wedding flowers, flower delivery, floral arrangements) and be consistent with the language you use to ensure you’re repeating key words and phrases. However, be mindful of 'keyword spamming', (the excessive addition/repetition of keywords), which is frowned upon by Google. Try to find a balance between text that is readable and engaging, but searchable.
- Each page of your site should have a short but descriptive title.
- Keep updating the website regularly: some search engines will partly base results on how new the content is. If your website hasn’t changed at all in a long time, it may slip down the search engine rankings.
- If you’d like to learn more, you can read about how Google indexes sites here.
(For more information on search engine optimisation, read our guide on how to improve your website's Google ranking)
Mike Tomlinson is small business marketing director at Everything Everywhere