Aqueous Digital

Mobile is shaping our future more than you might think, and removing ‘free’ from Google’s vocabulary

The thing about mobile traffic is that local really does become local. It doesn’t matter where you live, local is where you are standing at any point in time

As an example, local to me is my house and where I live but when I come to work in Runcorn, local is a completely different place. In fact, I don’t know the local environment near my work half as well as I know the local environment near my home. It stands to reason really as I come to work, spend all day here and then go home. Generally, I don’t feel the need to venture out for anything.

So when I want to find a local restaurant, or locksmith, or car valeting company in Runcorn, I have to start searching.

If I use Google to search from my desktop it already knows where I am based on my IP address, but other search engines struggle as they don’t geo locate me in the same way.

On a mobile, everything changes.

My mobile GPS coordinates are available to my phone and as such they are available to my search capabilities on the phone. Google knows this and cleverly uses this data to send me results which are truly local.

image courtesy of SEO Roundtable

This means that if I happen to go to London for the day, or Southampton, or Edinburgh, then I can simply use my phone to find the services I need locally.

Google have been developing a lot of functionality recently around the local services, the local pack in the results and as we wrote a few months ago, the way that local information will later be used to monetise these listings for Google.

In the US Google are testing a new set of filters which are aimed to improve the way this looks, as you can see on the right.

Key here is that you can further filter the results you see so you can include or exclude businesses based on your own criteria such as distance, opening hours or ratings.

At present this is only a test but our expectations are that this, or something like it, will soon become the mainstay of the local offering from Google.

Google knows that vast numbers of searches are done daily for local goods and services and the better it gets at delivering and refining these results the more opportunity it has to introduce its advertising platform into these results. Of course, it may first need to define exactly what it means by ‘top rated’ so we all have a chance of getting there, but that is just a minor point.

The reality is that as the original organic listings were supplanted by advertising, so will the local pack.

So enjoy the good times for now as Google delivers your free traffic. It won’t last forever.

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