Google says that 40% of mobile search has local intent, meaning that people are looking for information on products and services in their immediate vicinity.
This is a huge opportunity for businesses such as restaurants, hotels and bars that consumers may be looking for at short notice.
Similarly, shoppers may be looking to compare prices while in-store or looking for the nearest outlet of their favourite brand.
With this in mind, I searched for hotels, restaurants and women's clothes in my immediate vicinity to see whether brands that appeared in the local search results were making the most of mobile traffic.
Best practice for mobile landing pages
In order to grab the consumer’s attention and improve chances of conversion, mobile sites should:
- Make sure users know your USP. Do you have the lowest price, free delivery or a click-and–collect service?
- Use clear headlines, with large fonts and concise language. Use urgency and emotion rather than flowery details.
- Avoid using large graphics that take ages to load.
- Be useful. Take advantage of the user’s location and provide immediately actionable information.
- Make sure the landing page links to mobile optimised content.
Benefits of optimising sites for mobile search
As discussed in more depth in our post about mobile search and PPC, Microsoft says that 70% of PC search tasks are completed in one week, while 70% of mobile search tasks are done in one hour.
This means that mobile search needs to be considered separately from desktop to account for differences in search behaviour.
While mobile conversions are still low compared to desktop, it’s vital for brands to offer consumers a user-friendly mobile experience. If they don't, a competitor will.
Furthermore, having a mobile optimised landing page can positively impact a site's Quality Score. This score then affects how each site shows up in search rankings and how much search ads cost.
Essentially, higher Quality Scores typically lead to lower costs and better ad positions. Therefore, brands could be penalised for not having a mobile optimised site.
So, using the above best practice criteria, I search for the following three terms…
One of the closest hotels that Google flags up is The Hoxton in East London. The landing page fits into a single screen so there is no need for any scrolling, and presents five options that are all useful for mobile customers.
The address and telephone numbers are both shown at the top of the screen allowing the user to access a map or make a call in one tap.
To make a reservation, The Hoxton only asks when you want to stay and how many people are coming before you can check availability. There are then only three more screens until the booking is complete.
This is a great example of a quick and easy-to-use landing page that displays all the information that a mobile user is likely to be looking for. It doesn’t present any unnecessary barriers or options, thereby reducing the likelihood for users to abandon the site.
While The Savoy’s landing page isn’t too bad, it could make a few tweaks that would make the site easier to use.
The telephone numbers and email address are well placed, but though the address is positioned at the top of the page you can’t actually click on it.
To locate the hotel you need to click on the ‘Maps and Directions’ tab, which then links to a map that is almost impossible to decipher on a mobile screen.
The ‘Check availability’ function is also positioned at the top of the page, but for ease of use they could have made it a more eye-catching icon.
On the plus side, it requires a minimum amount of information to find out if there is a room available, although there is a lot of form filling to actually confirm the booking.
Dorothy Perkins has a good landing page, presenting users with a search function, store finder and sale information at the top of the page.
This is perfect for mobile users, as it is likely that they will be looking to check prices of a specific item or find out where their nearest store is.
The store finder can find your location using GPS, then displays the opening hours, address and contact details for several stores in your vicinity. The product search function is very fast, even when using 3G, and presents the user with a list of options including pricing information.
Monsoon’s landing page not only looks awful, but also it doesn’t offer any of the functionality that mobile users would expect to see.
The one good aspect is that the delivery charges and free returns policy are prominently highlighted, but it’s done so using a horrible red font.
It’s also not apparent if the text is clickable, then when you do click it you wish you hadn’t as it links to an absolutely mammoth page detailing delivery information for every global location that Monsoon posts to, including a list of its own click-and-collect stores.
The landing page also doesn’t link to a store locator or display any contact information, and the search function doesn’t appear to work correctly.
My standard search term when testing retailer sites was ‘red dress’ and all returned relevant results, except Monsoon, which instead displayed blue trousers and a white bridesmaid dress.
The Volupté Lounge’s site initially goes to a desktop site before reverting to a mobile optimised page, but it has obviously thought about what mobile users want and the first option you are given is ‘Find Volupté’.
This links to another page that allows you to make a booking through the mobile site, call or email the restaurant, or locate it using Google Maps.
The landing page also links to other useful information, such as menu details and FAQs.
Overall it’s a great example of a mobile landing page, giving quick access to the kind of local information that mobile users will be looking for.
While a vast majority of restaurants don’t have mobile optimised sites, those that I looked at have generally done a good job of it.
It tends to be restaurant chains such as Nando's and Yo Sushi that have created mobile sites and both these examples put a restaurant finder and menu details at the top of the page.
Equally, both sites were stripped down to only include information that would be relevant to a mobile user.
Consequently, my nomination for an example of a bad restaurant landing page is Casa Nostra, which appears in the PPC links despite being eight miles away in Wimbledon and then links users to a desktop site.
In general, most of the brands that have optimised their landing pages for mobile users have done a good job. It was far easier to find good examples then it was to single out brands that are getting it wrong.
Clothing retailers and restaurants in particular tend to offer convenient, well-designed mobile sites with prominent links to relevant information. Nearly all the restaurants and retailers had a store finder at the top of their landing page, which is a key function for mobile users.
That said, the number of sites I came across that didn’t have mobile optimised sites was surprising. Restaurants seem to be the worst offenders - the vast majority of the companies appearing on the first page of Google link to desktop sites. This is likely to cause users to abandon their site and turn to one of their competitors.