local websites Archives - MiShop.local

Is your website mobile friendly?

Is your website ready for the 21st April Deadline?

The next Google ranking change is critical for your business

Don’t be left behind with the new Google mobile friendly search ranking update! Google has announced that a website’s mobile friendliness will be an official ranking factor in their mobile search algorithm as of April 21, 2015.

Simply put, if your website is not optimized for mobile devices, that is responsive or with a dedicated mobile site, you will see a drop in traffic after the 21st of April. So if you’ve been meaning to get around to optimizing your website for mobile, now is definitely the time.

Why is this so important for your business?

Search on mobile is popular

  • 80% of internet users use a smartphone to access the internet
  • 47% of internet users use a tablet to access the internet
  • The number of mobile searches surpassed desktop searches in 2014

Search on mobile drives business

After performing a local search on a mobile device:

  • 51% of users visited the business
  • 48% called the business
  • 29% made a purchase from the business in-store
  • 24% made a purchase from the business online

Sources: eMarketer, SmartInsights, MERKLE | RKG, Google

Can Google find your website after April 21st?

You can easily test if your website will make the cut come the 21st of April with Google’s free Mobile-Friendly Test.

If you don’t get a green light from Google, don’t worry, help isn’t far away. When you trust MiShoplocal.co.uk to build and manage your online presence, you can be confident that your website will be responsive or mobile friendly and perform well in search results for many reasons beyond just being mobile-friendly.

Why you should choose us

Build your online presence with MiShoplocal.co.uk and you’ll be sure your site is professionally built with search engines in mind.

Our websites include:

  • 100% mobile-friendly responsive design
  • Professional SEO
  • High online conversion
  • Great customer support

CALL US TODAY TO GET STARTED! Tel: 01273 987498

Google doorway pages update – impact on local businesses

This week Google announced An update on doorway pages revealing that they will soon launch a ranking adjustment that could impact on ‘Sites with large and well-established doorway campaigns’. So what could this mean for small service area businesses and franchises?

Of course, it’s impossible to know until the adjustment is released but lets look in more detail at what Google are trying to achieve and this in turn may help to understand the outcome.

Firstly, what is a Doorway Page?

Generally Doorway pages are designed for search engines, not for human beings. Sometimes they automatically redirect to the desired page using Javascript and server side redirection.

Other Doorway pages are more like landing pages in that they have navigation, design and minimal content similar to normal website.

For more detailed information check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doorway_page

In the announcement Google say, “We have a long-standing view that doorway pages that are created solely for search engines can harm the quality of the user’s search experience.”

They give the following as examples:

  • Having multiple domain names or pages targeted at specific regions or cities that funnel users to one page
  • Pages generated to funnel visitors into the actual usable or relevant portion of your site(s)
  • Substantially similar pages that are closer to search results than a clearly defined, browsable hierarchy

Their definition of Doorway Pages can be found here

The problem is, the Google examples cause confusion for service area businesses and franchises as they highlight “pages targeted at specific regions or cities”. It has long been a common practise for this type of business to build location specific pages covering the areas that they service.

If a company has multiple branches or locations with their own unique address and phone number details, then these ‘Location Pages’ are quite straight forward and valid. In fact Google provides clear advice and technical recommendations for this here – Location pages for local businesses and organizations

They encourage that “each location’s or branch’s information should be readily available on a webpage” and the information should include the address, phone number and opening hours and presented in an easy-to-understand format utilising schema.org structured data markup.

So what happens when a business has a single location but has a service area that includes other nearby towns? Again, it is common practise to build specific landing pages focusing on the areas or towns/cities that they cover. This could be seen as slightly spammy but is a practical solution for local services to be found in organic search.

Will these single location websites be penalised with the release of the Google doorway pages update? It is highly likely that websites that have cynically produced multiple cookie-cutter location pages, with no regard to duplicate content or relevancy to the visitor, will be affected.

Conclusion

We hope that the new Google doorway pages update will not affect your average small service area business such as plumbers and electricians. The key will be to keep service area landing pages to a minimum, just the main towns in the area and make sure that the content is unique, relevant and tailored to that specific location.

The location area pages should be linked clearly from the top level navigation using a title such as “areas we service” (do not put a big list of links to locations or postcodes on each page).

Coming up with relevant content for each page is difficult but worth the extra time and effort. Things to consider are local testimonials, articles on completed projects in that area with photos and local staff information.

How to create high performing local franchise websites

Local Franchisee websites can perform better in local search, be more engaging and drive customer conversion.

Franchises operate locally and as such need an online presence that captures and engages consumers locally. Locally optimised websites can perform better in local search than traditional location finders or landing pages on corporate websites.

Small locally focused franchisee websites can perform better in local search than big franchise websites that use ‘franchise locators’ and franchisee landing pages.   They can also be more effective in driving customer conversion.

What makes a high performing local franchisee website?

Locally optimised URL

for example; www.yourfranchisename-brighton.co.uk

Locally optimised title tag:

Local franchise + keyword + cit

For example:  ‘Your Franchise Name’, plumber, plumbing services, Brighton.

Mobile optimised (Mobile Responsive):

Over 50% of web search is now done on mobile devices.  Non-responsive websites are penalised by search engines as they do not provide a favourable user experience.

NAP Anchor:

(NAP = name, address, and phone) should be consistent with all local listing sites and presented in schema micro-format.

Local Phone Number for “Click to Call”:

Customers searching for a local business online show a strong preference for local phone numbers. More people are using “click to call” when using their mobile phone to search for local services. However, our research shows that 78% will not call a 0800 number (or any number beginning with 08) using their mobile phone.  Far better to use a local number to get the customer to call you there and then.

Local content:

Use local content to differentiate local franchisee sites.

It is difficult to create totally unique content for every franchisee website particularly when they should all be ‘on brand’.  It is easier to intersperse brand content with local references such as locations, points of interest, news or social events.  This not only avoids the issue of duplicate content, but will improve your local search performance.

Call to action and simple lead forms:

Goes directly to the franchisee or franchise lead management system.

 Service Area Businesses (SAB):

Business such as plumbing, cleaning, home care, etc, should offer “service area location pages” on the website and optimise them for key locations.

The temptation is to just list lots of towns in the service area, but this isn’t very effective.  You need to create locally optimised pages for the key locations that you service. (Call us for more advice on websites for Service Area Businesses).

As franchises grow, the tendency is to move towards a centralised ‘corporate’ site that tries to serve every franchisee.  This is perfectly understandable, however it does not necessarily serve the franchisees.  A corporate sites tries to be “everything to everyone”, but in doing so, this can diminish the very strength that all franchisees have –local presence and knowledge.