A Quick and Dirty Guide to Winning New Customers with Hyperlocal Search

9 out of 10 mobile

In the past, hyperlocal search referred to getting local information on demand from your PC. You searched from your desktop or laptop, and local results for news and deals came up.

These days hyperlocal search has gone one step further. You can get that information from anywhere with your mobile phone. And this way of getting information and shopping is hotter than ever.

Here are some stats to prove that:

There’s no denying it: getting your website mobile-ready and geared to deliver local results is as important as ever.

Of course, this means you will have to do things like build a mobile site, optimize it for mobile search, create a mobile-only AdWords campaign, engage the click-to-call function and create a mobile-specific keyword list.

That might sound like a tall order, but this guide will show you step by step what you need to do. By the end of it, you’ll see it’s not really that hard.

So, let’s get stared:

Build the mobile site

Here’s another stat for you from a Compuware study: More than 50% of mobile customers will not recommend a brand if its mobile site is bad. Furthermore, in spite of brand loyalty, more than 40% would actual go to a competitor who has a better mobile site.

That’s huge.

So, your first step is to get your site mobile ready. To get started, let’s check out what your website looks like on a mobile device using Google’s initiative GoMo:

gomo meter

Answer 6 questions, and you’ll get a report on your site’s mobile friendliness:

gomo meter results

Click on “read full report”, and you can get a Google Doc of a detailed report for your site:

gomo meter docs

Naturally, you’ll want to develop sites that can be used across devices. Keep in mind that search engines rank a page based on some common criteria, e.g, screen rendering, site performance, usability and page download speed.

Here is a site that Jakob Neilson uses as an example that gets all of these criteria right:

wp mobile

Creating a mobile site sounds like a lot of work though, right? Would you believe me if I told you it’s really not?

In fact, you can create a mobile site with this free tool:

mobile site creator

Or if you use WordPress, you can use the WP-Touch plugin. Of course, if you have more robust needs, you’ll need to hire a developer.

Use traditional SEO practices

Once you’ve created your mobile-friendly site, your next step is to optimize that site. You can use conventional best practices, focusing on these strategies:

  • Keywords in headlines and copy – Like their PC counterparts, mobile search engines use keywords to deliver relevant search queries. But unlike PC users, mobile users use shorter keywords. Typing on a mobile phone is just too hard. Below, I’ll discuss how to create a keyword campaign focused on mobile users.
  • Page titles – Try to match your titles to the users’ search queries since this is one of the main factors that searchers use to evaluate whether they will click through. The closer you can match, the higher in position you will be…and the more likely you’ll get the click.
  • Page descriptions  You’ve got to nail your meta descriptions to compel a mobile user to click through. Make sure they are short, keyword rich and enticing.
  • Links – Mobile users don’t mind clicking…it’s just that your links need to be clickable. Mobile users like the experience of finding and exploring, so provide value whether you are linking within your site or out of your site.

Like I said, these are pretty standard. So, if you create a mobile site using the WP plugin, for example, you won’t do an optimization for the PC and then the mobile site. You will start from the PC side. So, keep mobile users in mind when you create content. Check out these 9 content strategies to help you.

Create separate mobile AdWords campaigns

Google’s research shows that advertisers who use mobile-specific campaigns get an 11.5% increase in mobile CTR, with a 29% rise in the number of mobile clicks.

With a mobile-specific campaign, you can:

  • Optimize campaign for mobile specific keywords – You can damage your PC campaign if you try to add mobile-specific keywords. A separate campaign will allow you to choose words that work best on a mobile device.
  • Customize ad text to mobile-specific CTAs – By creating text in your ad that appeals to mobile users, you’ll increase conversion. The essence behind this idea is to make requesting by phone front and center.
  • Adjust bids – A mobile-only campaign allows you to set your bids and budget to help you achieve the top spot.

It’s pretty easy to set up a mobile-specific AdWords campaign. You can use either AdWords Editor Tool or do it from your AdWords account. Let’s look at the AdWords Editor Tool first.

Log into Editor Tool, and then click “New campaign”:

editor tool

Then choose a mobile device:

editor tool mobile

Next, choose the campaign you want to copy and add to the new campaign. After that, you can adjust your ad bids and budget.

Tip: Since fewer ads are shown on a mobile device, you can be more aggressive with your bids.

You can also create a mobile-specific campaign in your Google AdWords account if you are not using the AdWords Editor Tool.

Login and click on the “New Campaign” in your account. Choose which device you want to create a campaign for (mobile or tablet):

mobile networks

Now you are ready to copy your existing campaign over to your new mobile-specific campaign. Your next step is to create a mobile-friendly keyword list.

Create a mobile-friendly keyword list

Mobile users engage in search differently. They use technology like Voice Search or Google Goggles. That means they don’t always use their mobile browser.

Another significant difference with mobile users is how they use keywords. Their behavior is different than that of PC users. For example:

  • Use short keywords – Typing on a mobile device is hard, so users take shortcuts. One-word search queries are used the most often, e.g., “coffee”, “boots” or “movies.” They are hoping the local tools of search kick-in at this point to deliver the most relevant listings for these queries.
  • Obsessed with top 3 positions – According to Google’s book, users care more about those spots since the real estate on a mobile device is limited. How important are those positions? Just a drop from the top to second position can lead to a 90% plunge.
  • Hate scrolling – Mobile users want to see everything within their window. So it’s best that your keywords are matched to their requests so you can land in the top spots.

To get started, you can use the Google Keyword Tool, but you’ll have to search with the “Advanced Options and Filters” in order to get mobile-specific suggestions.

adwords mobile

Significant keyword volume is critical to a successful mobile campaign. Ignore keywords without a high volume.

Add phone numbers to your mobile campaigns

Customers who are on a mobile device are primed to call your business. Make it easy for them to do so by adding your phone number to your AdWords campaigns.

mobile ad

Advertisers who use this feature experience a 6-8% rise in CTR, and it doesn’t cost any more than a click to your website.

So, how do you set this up? Follow these steps:

  1. Log into AdWords.
  2. Choose the right campaign: inside AdWords, select the campaign you’d like to add a phone number to. Note, if you want ads shown on high-end mobile phones, click “Mobile devices with full Internet browsers.” You can find this under “Devices” in the campaign’s Settings tab.
  3. Click the Ad Extensions tab. To get the right view, click “Call Extensions.” You’ll have to enable this tab if you can’t see it.
  4. Choose “New Extension.”
  5. Add your phone number and country.
  6. Hit “Save and Continue.”

To enhance performance, you can also see the number of calls received per campaign, ad group or keyword.

Tip: You can make your phone number, and not your headline, clickable when it shows up on a mobile device. Just select “Allow only click-to-calls.”


Basically, in a few steps you can have a highly-optimized mobile site that delivers relevant search listings in your local market and actually converts. This is a superb strategy for anyone who is in a business with a local customer base.

That means coffee shops, record stores, car dealers and florists. And you don’t necessarily need a brick-and-mortar location. You could be a real estate agent or a plumber who works from home. Just make sure you define your market/region/city precisely so the right people call you.

Have you had any success with a mobile-specific campaign in your local market?


  1. Amir @ Blue Mile Media :

    I haven’t made my sites or client sites mobile because most users are from android, iphone, and blackberry and those do a good job of loading up the site on its own and they load fast because these sites are not heavy with links and content that would slow it down.

    I do think it’s good for someone searching on the phone to find an address or number, but google+ places gives that information right in the results since it is a local search anyways.

    It wouldn’t hurt to try though, I’m going to use that link in the article especially since I don’t use WordPress and can’t just use a plugin.


    • Hey Amir,

      Typically when you find something that works for you, you want to stick to it. However you like you said, it doesn’t hurt to try something new every once and a while. Give it a try and let me know how it works out for you.

  2. JLT Creative :

    With the rate at which mobile viewers are increasing, website owners need to make sure that their sites are visible on mobile searches. It is simply an aspect that most people cannot afford to overlook anymore.

  3. David@BlastAM.com :

    Well written Neil! Setting aside the issue of whether a given site is better served with a mobile-specific site or a responsive design, this post does a fantastic job of outlining why there needs to be mobile optimization.

    Sadly, there are still lots of people who don’t see understand the need for mobile optimization. This post should do well to help some of them see the light of day.

  4. Steve Wiideman :

    @David I think it’s just the opposite. Being mobile-friendly and being optimized for mobile are two completely different things, with completely different costs.

    My challenge as with many of my clients is the time and cost involved in creating a made-for-tablet version of a website, as not everyone will download an app.

  5. darssh blog :

    Totally agree with Steve.

    A website, made mobile friendly via any method, let’s say responsive design will still need to be mobile optimized!

    Making your website mobile optimized is to think of a complete new design that will engage mobile users more.

    Take an example of blogger, they set a meta view port for mobile users and have a new design for them. Blogger thinks that users with mobile devices will have a good experience with a website specially designed for mobile.

    However, as told by Neil, local searches helps your business stand out of the crowd nowadays.

    Enough said, I have to tell all my clients who have a local business, about this blog post.

    – Darshan

  6. Jiten Waghela :

    Hi Neil,
    Nice post regarding Mobile web presence and how the importance of optimizing will gain you good ROI for your business.
    This days Local Search has become more important so its necessary to make a mobile site. Thanks for guiding us.
    Cheers !!!

  7. An eye opener post.. Thanks Neil.
    And your site looks sleek in its mobile theme.
    But how do you avoid duplicate content issues when you have a mobile as well a desktop version of everything?

    • Amir @ Blue Mile Media :

      This was something I was wondering about as well. I was thinking maybe you can block the mobile site from getting indexed and when it is detected the browser is mobile, it redirects to m.examplesite.com or whatever URL your mobile site is. I could be wrong but I don’t see why you would need a mobile site to be indexed.


  8. Namita Patel :

    Nice post. I use WP Touch and like it, despite some limitations.

  9. marriage blog :

    definitely mobile search is going up due to advancement in mobile phone technology. People prefer to search a lot on their touch phones as they are always carrying their mobiles. Mobile search will only go up from here.

  10. Nice Post Neil, I am on blogger and google automatically handles Mobile Sites too..

  11. Bitmantra iphone development :

    Right after going through the post I started making my mobile website through the beautiful tool you suggested.Thank You so much.

  12. Larry James :

    Nice post about the importance of having a mobile theme. I use the free Carrington Mobile WordPress Theme that automatically displays when the request is from a mobile phone. It is all automatic no muss no fuss. And it is free.

  13. Jyoti Acne Treatment :

    I was ignoring the mobile version of my website. Now you have given a wake up call. Thanks.

  14. London Heathrow Arrivals :

    Great blog post, it’s very important to have a mobile version of your website these days with the huge growth in smart phones.

  15. Hi Neil.

    Can you tell us how your able to make your side bar banner (Michael Arrington ) follow you as you scroll down?

    I think thats a awesome technique.


  16. I can’t find the place with the 90% stat about mobile use, please help.

  17. Akoe property services :

    Good post I had a mobile site but it looked shocking, my website is ok for the I phone but I think I am gonna try this go no app, thanks

  18. tery @ Latest Jobs in UAE :

    Very effective points you have introduce to us especially I Like (add phone numbers to your mobile campaigns) point, now I’m going to update my site. Thanks

  19. These days hyperlocal search has gone one-step further. You can get that information from anywhere with your mobile phone. And this way of getting information and shopping is hotter than ever.

  20. Sheyi | Ivblogger.com :

    I completely agree with the mobile site aspect. It helps a lot. Some company are missing out on this big time….


  21. So mobile marketing is the next big thing, wow. However not for every demographic.

  22. Great article Neil. Once you’ve got your web & mobile sites you’ll need something like HandsetDetection.com to shuffle mobile visitors across to your mobile site. (Disclaimer : I work there).


  23. One of the biggest items I stressed when developing a site for my friends’ salon business was that it needed to be optimized for mobile – I’m glad they went with my suggestion because we’re seeing a TON of mobile traffic especially coupled through Groupon promotions.

    We haven’t rolled out an AdWords campaign as of yet but thanks for reminding me to keep it separate from desktop.

  24. Thanks for the piece of information, Neil! Indeed, with the explosive growth of the internet and smart phones, i am not surprise to see these stats. Look around us, there are people on the train, sitting in restaurants all holding their mobiles and surfing the net to buy things or read for information. I believe that the growth would continue with more people getting access to the internet in the developing countries.

  25. I just had my site upgraded from an online catalogue to an e-store. I guess i need to start planning the next upgrade. 🙂

  26. Hi Neil! Great tips and learned few new techniques from the post. Thanks for sharing great information.

  27. David - Boundless Opportunities :

    Hi Neil,

    This is a great post as usual there is so much information to learn. I hope to implement this also.

  28. Software Testing :

    Is there any specific tool which helps in designing a website for mobile phones?

  29. Amaze Article Neil…
    Super helpful.. We have just launched our website and were trying to get our mobile store.
    Really helpful tips at right time for us..
    Thanks Again..

  30. Ladders Uk Direct :

    Just as I get to grips with building websites for computers and laptops the goal posts get moved hahah. typical. Im with mr software testing… Whats the best way to make a website mobile phone friendly?

  31. Online Mastering :

    I actually have one of the few sites that won’t benefit much from having a mobile version of my site. my users require the ability to listen to samples of my work in an environment where they can listen critically to the audio…not on tiny cell phone speakers. In addition, the service i provide requires planning on the part of the client. not something that can be done “on the fly” on your mobile phone.

    • Stick with what works best for you and your business. Just don’t be afraid to try something new or you might miss out big time.

  32. Ladders Uk Direct :

    my website is an online retailer for ladders and access equipment. Just a static html site for now…. Ill be looking to upgrade the site over the next year anyhow so i may as well just wait til then. Although its very intresting to see the amount we use our phones nowadays.

  33. yes the interenet worlkd is being taken by storm from the mobile industry now! you made some great points which has convinced me to add this to my website!! i’ll check back and let you know how it goes:)

  34. Many company and website are still missing mobile compatibility of site with aspecto to GUI and SEO. But I think soon all will take this as a priority 🙂

  35. Mobile is dominating the world hence we need to build an sites which should be suitable to make friendly of the users

  36. oo it really works. by this method i have increased traffic on my site. because most of my targeted public uses mobile phones to access the internet. thanx for sharing this

  37. Selena Spice :

    I agree that the future of Internet is in mobile traffic. Thanks for sharing this article Neil.

  38. Wow I can’t believe that “Sixty percent of customers review a product on a mobile before buying.” That’s a pretty ridiculous stat!

  39. Hi Neil, Gr8 post as usual.
    Thanks for sharing the mobile site stats. That’s cool.
    I want to ask a question, Which types of businesses will get the Most Benefits of this Mobile site ? Service providers or Products suppliers ?
    and what about Small Business owners ? Should they opt for this option ?

  40. Hello!

    Hi!,,,,Good post I had a mobile site but it looked shocking, my website is ok for the I phone but I think I am gonna try this go no app, thanks for this post!,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  41. po

  42. british gas customer services :

    Right here is the right blog for everyone who wishes to find
    out about this topic. You realize so much its almost tough to argue
    with you (not that I really would want to…HaHa).

    You certainly put a new spin on a topic that has been discussed for
    years. Great stuff, just wonderful!

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