Mobile Search Engine Optimisation (Mobile SEO)
The opportunity represented by mobile search is, quite simply, enormous. Whilst statistics inevitably vary, Yahoo indicates that some 50% of users of mobile devices will perform searches. Google also indicates an explosive growth in searches from mobile sources, some 500% over the last couple of years.
In general terms, SEO requires a properly structured site, with relevant, unique, high quality content and a decent inventory of inbound links from high quality sites. For mobile SEO, the principles remain largely the same but with a number of specific considerations.
Leveraging the new channel
Clearly it is now imperative that organisations optimise to ensure they are not missing out on what seems to be the fastest growing channel in today’s digital marketing landscape. As smartphones and tablets continue to grow in both prevalence and sophistication, the value of this channel can only increase.
Relatively few organisations have, as yet, implemented mobile-optimised versions of their sites. For those that choose to do so, there is an immediate opportunity to add highly targeted traffic.
As with mainstream SEO, relevance and the quality of information is absolutely critical. However, mobile SEO must actively address a further driver, namely that of location. There are some suggestions that as many as a third of mobile searches are location-sensitive. This makes sense when you consider the context in which the search is being performed, with many users looking for the “nearest” shop, restaurant and so forth.
Different business types will require different local presence. SEO Perspective has many years of experience in formulating and implementing local SEO strategies for clients. From restaurants and fast food outlets through to garages, local trades and services, the requirements of each business are unique.
East of access
Few things are more disheartening than trying to use a standard site on a 4 inch mobile device. The technology to optimise for portable use has existed for some time but has yet to be widely adopted. Pinch zooming in and out, trying to navigate variable width formats and download enormous graphics all contribute to a poor mobile experience.
SEO Perspective works with clients to create mobile-specific versions of their sites. Most tend to employ a fixed width approach, ensuring that scrolling is restricted to a simply up and down process rather than a confusing omnidirectional activity.
Other layout optimisation for mobile SEO usually includes standardised information at the top of the page, with mobile-optimised logos and a simple navigation menu, together with carefully crafted promotional graphics.
Multiple user agents
Not only does this improve the user experience and time on site but it is also of benefit to the search engines, with a positive effect on your rankings. Mobile devices use a variety of user agents, information about which is included in the requests these devices send when requesting pages from the internet.
The search engines work on the sensible assumption that they should deliver results from sites which should work well on the device in question. A search engine can determine whether a search came from one of the mainstream browser, an iPad, an iPhone, an Android smartphone and so forth. Thus, properly optimised mobile sites should prevail in searches made from mobile devices. Logical but all too often ignored.
Mobile site optimisation with XHTML or WAP
SEO perspective will work with you to understand the web technologies you currently employ, your technical capacity and, thus, the most appropriate mobile technologies to use. In practice, decent optimisation including compliance with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards is of far greater importance than the technology choices, each of which has pros and cons.
Properly constructed, W3C sites can be efficiently optimised for mobile use by adjustments to the cascading style sheets (CSS). In some cases it may make sense to optimise the site for multiple device usage. In others, it may be necessary to create an entirely new mobile SEO version of the site. The experts at SEO perspective will work with you to determine the most efficient and economically sensible approach.
Mobile domains – .mobi and .m
The .mobi top level domain (TLD) was specifically conceived for mobile sites. Some businesses have, however, elected to use a mobile subdomain in the form m.site.com, identifying the user agent and re-directing the request to the relevant version of the site.
The choice of domain structure will be determined by a myriad of factors including branding, international presence and your current hosting environment. We can work with you to identify the most appropriate choices.
Text versus graphics
Although text remains essential for any SEO strategy, mobile SEO may also require specific graphics and multi-media. The small screen sizes of mobile devices tends to drive demand for multi-media content. Text can be hard to read on a 4 inch screen whereas a suitably optimised video and carefully designed imaging can improve user engagement and time on site.
Mobile paid search
With lower levels of competition, mobile paid search may represent an attractive opportunity in many sectors to leverage traffic at attractive rates. The Google mobile “click-to-call” function is also ideal for sites where there is a direct call to action, with Google claiming an uplift in response rates of between 5 and 10 per cent.
SEO Perspective can work with you to ensure that your mobile SEO strategy accommodates not only suitable technical migration but that it accommodates the very different points in the buying process at which users tend to engage on mobile devices; the need for a properly conceived multi-channel approach to fully leverage mobile SEO; the use of mobile applications “apps”; and the unparalleled growth in targeted traffic that this channel is likely to drive over the next few years.