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An Unconventional Guide to SoLoMo on the Web [Mastering Search]

Posted on 9.01.2013

:: By Amberly Dressler, Managing Editor ::


Consumers might not actually be buying yet, but they are certainly researching, reviewing and sharing from their smartphones.

This makes social (So), local (Lo) and mobile (Mo) vital to the success of today’s digital-minded enterprises.

Despite this, many enterprises have yet to begin optimizing their SoLoMo presence, even those who it is most suited for. In a recent survey, Glogou discovered that nearly 84 percent of websites operated by Convention and Visitor Bureaus (CVB) are not location aware, 67 percent are not mobile friendly and 89 percent are not fully integrated with social media. This is a real missed opportunity since travelers, especially, use their mobile devices to get online and access local information for attractions, hotels, restaurants, stores, etc., as well as to share their travel experiences across social networks.

CREATIVE

If the travel industry hasn’t adopted SoLoMo, what hope do non-brick-and-mortar businesses have? Plenty, if they get creative. Kaitlin Carpenter of Carousel30 addressed this topic in depth for Website Magazine at wsm.co/rethinkinglocal. In the article, she redefined “location-based marketing” to include brands who may not have otherwise considered SoLoMo offerings.

“With a mobile campaign, you can also think of your consumer as the location,” wrote Carpenter. “Your mobile marketing campaign can designate the ‘location’ as wherever the consumer is using the product, engaging with the campaign and using their mobile device.”

Carpenter details several non-local brands who are creating unique offerings to be where their customers are, including the popular game (and retail line) Angry Birds. This franchise doesn’t have a physical venue, but users who played the game in a Barnes & Noble store during the campaign could access special features. This is one way brands are building loyalty, increasing visibility, driving traffic to their digital properties and creating selling occasions with SoLoMo.

TECHNICAL

Visibility on the SoLoMo Web requires more than creativity. A company’s mobile offerings must also be technically sound and SEO compliant.

“Earlier this summer, Google announced changes to its organic algorithm that will result in higher rankings for sites that comply with its mobile SEO recommendations and lower rankings for sites that do not,” said Brian Klais, founder and CEO of Pure Oxygen Labs. “Until now, the search giant has been fairly forgiving if a website inadvertently sent mobile users to a desktop site or the mobile site homepage.”

For brands who quickly adhere to Google’s new guidelines (e.g. don’t use app download interstitials, don’t serve mobile searchers error pages or improperly redirect them to desktop or irrelevant pages, etc.) mobile offers unique opportunities to increase search engine rankings, as well as convert searchers into socially engaged consumers.

STRATEGIC

Brands looking to maximize their SoLoMo presence should look beyond creative thinking and compliant technical presences too. The companies leading the way in this new era also strategically socialize content and even look beyond Google.

By giving mobile searchers ways to engage with social apps and encourage social sharing, a business, according to Klais, can drive more interaction and create a more relevant and positive connection to its mobile user. Recent studies even show a high correlation between content sharing on social networks and visibility in organic search. The more an enterprise drives mobile-social engagement, the more visible its content becomes for organic brand discovery.

This is especially true concerning Facebook Graph Search. For the unfamiliar, Graph Search allows people to discover information based on data that Facebook has collected from its users over time. Once it is rolled out onto mobile, Graph Search will be quintessential SoLoMo. There are multiple location-based features already, including the ability for users to filter by location or distance. If they are not already, brands who want to be visible on the SoLoMo Web must pay attention, and act accordingly, to this feature that could shake up how consumers discover brands on the go. Discover answers for common Facebook Graph Search questions here.

Creative, technical or strategic approaches aside, the real art of mastering visibility on the SoLoMo Web is to adapt a brand’s experience to consumer demands, providing more relevant interactions. As brands embrace SoLoMo features, consumers can move from researching, reviewing and sharing on their smartphones, to converting (buying, subscribing) in one fell swoop or, rather, search.

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