Mobile Search Becomes More Localized

mobile searchMost hand-held mobile device users realize how hard it is to search the internet. It’s slow and difficult depending on how many characters you need to use to find what you’re looking for. Yesterday, Google announced a search feature for U.S. mobile device users that will make searches with Google much easier on Android powered devices or iPhones.

With this feature, once you start typing a search term on your mobile device, Google will provide a list of search suggestions that match your entry. Most importantly, these search suggestions will be based on your location. This feature will reduce the amount of time and effort it takes to submit a search to get relevant search results. What they are basically doing is providing optimized search suggestions using your location.

For search marketers that rely on search traffic this is actually a very interesting announcement for a couple of reasons. For one, Google is basically adopting and implementing a business rule that assumes that Google searches on a Android powered device or iPhone should be more focused toward local listings.

Secondly, the impact to search rankings is an unknown at this point if your business is dependent on nationwide search traffic. The question is, how will these search suggestions impact search traffic to your web site? Obviously localized search suggestions will take precedence, but will your listing drop down in the rankings if you are not a local business or organization. 

Using the example in the Google Mobile Blog post about this feature, let’s say that you are a museum in Boston, but the search takes place in San Francisco. If the Google search suggestion feature is emphasizing local search phrases for museums in San Francisco, will it still be easy to find your museum if you’re located in Boston?

It may turn out that localized mobile search has no major impact to national search listings, but it’s still too early to tell. This is obviously something that should be monitored and considered when discussing search engine optimization (SEO) strategies for your company or organization in the near term.

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