John Doerr of KPCB calls it “SoLoMo“. Others call it by different names. I see it as the holy grail of our digital marketing future.
I’m talking about Social – Local – Mobile SEO/search marketing… the exciting golden triangle of unification and synergy created by billions of people armed with mobile computing devices who are seeking and finding instant gratification, wherever they are and wherever they go.
The business case for this evolution is clear. The writing is on the wall. And unless you, as a business owner, adapt quickly to this change, you’ll be leaving money on the table!
Mobile SEO that is focused locally and integrated socially will drive relevant, quality traffic that converts far better than any other option – and the volume of this traffic is set to grow exponentially in coming years.
Mobile Search Is Not About Technology
Mobile Internet devices have crossed 10 billion in 2010, with over 5 billion cellphones in use, 1.08 billion of them smartphones.
Expert predictions are that in 2014, mobile Internet usage will overtake desktop usage. Even today, over 50% of all online search activity happens from a mobile device. But…
It’s not enough to have a “sniffer” script detect your visitor’s Web browser and serve up a mobile version of your website. Mobile optimization is not just about presentation. It is about understanding the psychology of a visitor who discovers your site from a search performed on a mobile device.
This isn’t something new. Your prospect still wants pretty much the same things. What has changed is the tool or medium she now uses to find those solutions to a problem. And the behavior is reinforced by the ease with which she can not only find it, but also have it validated by her peers through the power of mobile social networking!
Imagine a young man who searches for a fancy gadget and finds an electronics shop nearby that stocks it.
Not only can he now step into the showroom, inspect the instrument, and test it out – he can also pick up his mobile phone and shoot out a question or comment about it to his mates on Facebook, Twitter or Google+and have their feedback on it instantly.
He can point his mobile phone’s camera as he tries out the gadget, and at the click of a button, have the video posted to YouTube – where others can comment, opine or advise him on what to do.
Collaborative decision-making, with expert and peer validation of a buying choice, has never been so instantly, globally and inexpensively available ever before.
Businesses that don’t understand this paradigm shift in buying behavior are at risk of being decimated by agile, social-savvy competitors.
When you know how mobile device users will interact with search engines to find what they are looking for, you’ll be able to design landing pages that engage and draw in your prospects by meeting them where they are, give them what they want, and (by intelligently analyzing the intent behind their keywords) push the appropriate psychological triggers that close a sale and boost your profits.
Ideally, optimized mobile landing pages will answer the unspoken questions inside your prospect’s mind as they surf the Web in search of solutions!
Focus On Intelligence, Not Technology
Only few online businesses are correctly making this shift. The vast majority are obsessed with investing millions into marketing methods and technologies that are doomed to deliver abysmal results.
Smart SEO strategies to exploit the “social-local-mobile” revolution is more about gaining better intelligence than focusing on cutting-edge technology.
Specifically, you need better keyword intel. Long-tail keywords used in mobile search can provide priceless information about buyer intent. They leave clues about what you should provide them with on the landing page.
If a search phrase contains a generic word (like “hotel”) combined with a location name (like “Oslo”) then you’ll know what the searcher needs, the expectations from your site, and what hook will convince him/her to take the desired action.
Or if a searcher looks for an item of clothing (sweater, jeans, etc.) in a physical store, you can tell if they not only want to read about the product online, but also want to try it on for size – so you can then try and satisfy this desire promptly.
The hardest lesson to learn as a business owner is this. You don’t have control. You can’t demand that your customers act in a certain way. But you can watch, listen, and act.
That way, you can influence and persuade prospects to take the desired action (buying, signing up to your list, recommending you to others, sending referrals etc.). A flashy new “mobile store” won’t help with your conversion rate in the same way that “keyword intelligence” will.
Watching businesses neglect the importance of data driven marketing is painful (and bizarre). It is so simple and obvious to take a close look at what’s working and do more of it – while cutting down on what doesn’t work!
Yet why don’t more businesses cut out wasteful marketing? Why does search marketing get only a small fraction of the overall marketing budgets? Why do businesses slap on SEO at the end, rather than integrating it right from the beginning?
It’s almost as if business owners enjoy sabotaging their own chances of success, by constructing the edifice that’s their marketing strategy on a foundation of quicksand… where it will slowly but surely sink and die.
This is a good reason to have your SEO strategist involved right from the planning phase, and deeply engaged in structural and content based decisions about your Web presence.
Any winning SEO strategy today will incorporate local search, mobile and social marketing. If it doesn’t, you need a new strategy. SoLoMo is the future – at least for another 5 years. And on the Web, 5 years is an eternity!