Ranking. Mobile search. Point of Interest (POI)

Point of interests on mobile search

Whenever we search on mobile devices our behaviour changes. Our search sessions, for example, are much shorter and more conversational than desktop searches. Search engines need to find out what the user intent is by calculating explicit and implicit keywords. In a nutshell, if we do not clearly state a location, for instance, [restaurant] then this is an implicit query and search engines will focus more on the closest POI rather than ranking web sites or locations further away.

Mobile web search screenshot

Search engines calculate explicit and implicit intent then rank results

Researchers, two of which are from Microsoft, found that searchers often click on POI up to 3,000 meters away. This indicates that that we are not always interested in the nearest POI. Although search engines can calculate to some degree of accuracy explicit and implicit keywords they still do not know how to calculate user interest and to do so will come up with more privacy issues, see location itself below.

For local search to be more precise web search engines would have to use GPS, however, due to privacy issues this is not always possible. In fact the EU might target locational data after Google’s right to be forgotten dies down.

Local search engines, thus affecting the SEO industry, do not really account for popularity within points of interest. Yes, reviews help. But this is still not representative and can be problematic to take into account the oldest, traditional pizza house in Rome, for example.

POI and SEO: 5 top tips

  1. Build lots of citations in order to boost local SEO signals
  2. Make use of social media to utilise locational data. Social media explicitly ask for location-based data, for example, Twitter. Your network can be analysed in geographically and therefore it is possible to gain a list of potential local sources who may link out to you which can also strengthen locational data signals. You can further improve this be creating pearl growth by finding similar local follower and pushing them content they are likely to link out to — the local SEO link. Although we do not know how much weight this factor has on localised rankings
  3. Use schema to enhance signals and increase click-through rates
  4. Get positive reviews. More reviews. And, eventually, even more reviews. But be careful. If you get a sudden surge of reviews it can trigger a negative, penalty like, signal
  5. For any local SEO campaign research geographic keywords and get in tune with local dialect

It is clear local SEO is the future of search least not forgetting its popularity. In fact 78% of local mobile searches result in offline purchases. Go, rank, locally.

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