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    Why should your business pay attention to local SEO and social media optimization?  Based on a recent search study’s glaring numbers, local establishments will need to up the ante to compete for local search results.

    Local Searches on Mobile Devices Soar

    Mobile searches are on the rise, according to a recent local search study from comScore, Nuestar/Localeze, and 15 Miles.  A few statistics tell the story:

    • Mobile search accounts for the number one function on mobile browsers
    • 56 percent of mobile users need local info on the go
    • Visitors to search sites saw a 26 percent increase in 10 months (mobile searches)
    • 87 percent increase in local searchers via mobile apps in the past two years

    Businesses should also know that mobile searchers are closer to making a purchase.  Greg Sterling notes from the study that 78 percent of mobile phone searches and 77 percent of tablet searches resulted in a purchase.  Only 59 percent of PC searches ended in a purchase.

    While mobile searches increase in numbers, the same can’t be said for PCs and laptops, which saw a 17-percent decrease in local searches, with a five-percent decrease in non-local searches.

    Is Facebook the Future of Local Searches?

    As local searches rise across the Internet, the study revealed impressive numbers regarding Facebook, the social media giant.  With the following results in mind, it seems like businesses will need to take local searches on Facebook seriously:

    • 92 percent of searchers looking for local business information on social networking sites use Facebook (second and third are Google+ and Twitter, respectively, at 23 and 21 percent)
    • Facebook is the second-most used app for local search, behind only Google Maps and ahead of the likes of Mapquest, Bing, and Apple Maps

    These are significant figures.  With Facebook beating out other apps in local searches, Nearby and Graph Search offer an interesting opportunity for businesses.  While there is no comparable number in this year’s study, last year’s study found that 49 percent of mobile owners used apps to find local information.

    Facebook is closely behind the leader, Google Maps (35 to 24 percent on mobile phones, 25 to 23 percent on tablets).  It could be poised to take over the mobile app world for local searches in due time.

    The Moral of the Story

    The takeaway point is clear: Local businesses need to optimize listings, especially on Facebook, to appeal to local searchers.  Mobile users will use local search tools to find a nearby business – those lagging will be left behind.

    Take to Facebook and make sure that you have a page for your business, as well as additional locations as needed.  All information, such as the address, phone number, photos, and website links should be present.  Branch out on Google+, Bing, and other sites to create a consistent presence that welcomes mobile users.

    Taking these steps will improve your local SEO, SEO, and social media presence.  It will, quite literally, put your business on the map.