The following is an editorial by Alan Smith.
Editor Note: This is an excellent post about how to optimize your site for mobile devices. It’s yet another frontier online entrepreneurs have to explore — and conquer — in order to grow. And, it provides a wealth of opportunities for freelancers who operate in the SEO niche — from programmers to content providers.
I know practically nothing about mobile SEO, so learned a ton reading this. I’m sure you will too. Thanks Alan for such an in-depth, easy-to-understand tutorial.
Have You Ever Thought about How to Optimize Your Mobile Site for Search Engines?
Many might not be thinking in this particular direction – right now. For many, optimizing their sites for desktops is good enough to reach out to their audience. But believe me, that’s not exactly the scenario prevailing today.
The emergence of mobile technology (eg, smart phones and mobile websites) can no longer be ignored, as the statistics I’ll present here will illustrate.
The Importance of Mobile SEO: Some Statistics
According to a smart phone user study conducted by Google, mobile web users contribute 25% of all web searches made across the world. Another study conducted by Compuware says that a business with a bad site on the mobile is not recommended by almost 50% of users. Around 60% of total online customers search products through their mobiles before actually making a purchase.
Half (50%) of product searches made through a smart phone have resulted in a sale. 51% smart phone owners use products or services offered by a business which has a separate mobile site and almost 77% of mobile users visit social networking as well as search engine sites.
More than 90% of searches made through smart phones lead to an action in the form of viewing a business, contacting the sellers or utilizing their services or products.
Convinced that you need to start thinking about having a “mobile SEO” strategy?
Mobile SEO vs.Traditional Desktop Optimization Strategies
For most businesses, the answer to the question might be mobile SEO. But smart phone users behave in a distinctive manner compared to their desktop using counterparts when it comes to the keywords and keyword phrases they select.
Image Courtesy: Spinx Inc.
Mobile Technology Users and Keyword Searches
Even if the keywords match in some cases, they may be intended for a different purpose altogether. This means doing an in-depth research of mobile keywords compared to the research of traditional keywords for desktops.
Besides this, mobile users need a whole lot of scrolling. Many don’t like this because it becomes troublesome to look into a website and dig out the relevant data from the appropriate sections of the site.
FYI, the SEO Copywriter Training Class Has Been Completely Updated. Cost will increase on June 1, 2013.
How to Make a Mobile Website Search Engine Friendly
Even though there are many strategies present for search optimization of a mobile website, it is always beneficial to go for traditional strategies to increase your mobile site rankings.
- Starting Headline, Body and Ending Summary should have relevant mobile based keywords.
- Page Title is extremely important, as it is the first thing that a user sees in the search engine. Keep the nearest matching title related to the queries on search engines.
- Page Description should have relevant content which a user is actually looking for.
- Outbound Links or Hyperlinks should be provided to the users to allow them access to in-depth information from cited sources.
- A standard HTML Code should be used to support several mobile operating systems. This is even helpful to restrain from a broken web page scenario.
- Mobile websites should be Portable in all cross-platform smart phones, operating systems and web browsers.
- Website Parameters such as rapid download speed of a web page, rendering screen components, performance and site elements usability can help to enhance mobile search optimization.
- Important content gets removed from a page by using a Cookie Cutter Template which leads to trans-coding a web page. This should be avoided as it can result in vague navigation, broken or incomplete pages and even poor usability. Ultimately this can have disastrous results such as lesser visits and rankings.
- A CSS version of a mobile site should be triggered via detection of a user agent whenever a mobile user accesses a website. Tools such as a WPtouch plug-in for WordPress automatically do this on your behalf.
- The users should be provided with an option to get out of the formatted CSS mobile site version.
- GoogleBot Mobile shouldn’t be blocked as through this Google will check your Doc type to see whether it is XHTML or compact HTML.
- Rendering of images should be in pixels or percentage factors.
- Inbound links or backlinks shouldn’t be so long as to get obstructed in terms of a mobile view.
- Call to actions should be on the top left corner rather than the top right because they might not then be visible in the mobile version.
- The number of clicks for a mobile user should be minimized as much as possible by positioning the pages in a proper flow for the site navigation purpose.
- Mobile optimization should be tested towards the end using various tools like W3C mobileOK Checker in order to validate the mobile site or even MobiReady to check the loading time of the mobile site.
Important Technical Points to Consider While Creating an Ideal Mobile Website
A mobile based website shouldn’t be complicated. It is not only important to follow certain strategies; more than that it is essential to have a website that supports the above mentioned strategies.
Ideally you need to scan your website before starting with the actual development process. There are certain areas of a smart phone-based website which should be looked at to ensure that it not only pleases you aesthetically, but that it performs well for your customers also.
Mobile Websites and Content
Not all information on a desktop website should be included in the mobile version as the data might get messed up, making it frustrating to even surf.
The focus should be on incorporating decision- or action-based information. A good example is the Domino’s Pizza website. It leads the user directly to the selection and buying of a variety of pizzas.
The Importance of Eliminating Pop-ups and Flash Animation on Mobile Sites
In a desktop environment, it can be a very fruitful to gain conversions or subscribers through pop-ups and flash clips. But in a mobile version, it is a nightmare for smart phone users. Make sure to turn it off through various tools as they disrupt the surfing environment of the user.
Availability of Sufficient White Space
Mobile displays are very small to accommodate a lot of stuff. Hence only the important things, accompanied by a good amount of white space, should be used.
Consistent Website across Desktop and Mobile
Same type of colors, styles, fonts, logos, etc. used across both the sites will establish a sense of uniformity, hence trust, among users. Even size and performance should not get affected.
Priority is Directly Proportionate to Usability
Interaction and accessibility are the key factors that should be kept in mind when it comes to usability, eg:
Is the text displayed properly?
Is scrolling necessary to view all information?
Should the size of buttons and links be large enough?
Is data related to personal details properly displayed?
You should ask yourself these –and many more — questions. Directly ask the user where possible – and really listen to what they say.
How to Test Your Site for Mobile Readiness
Different tools like MobiReady, W3C MobileOK Checker, and Gomez Mobile Readiness Test etc. should be used to test a mobile site on various platforms and screens.
Everything Should be Accessible
Many users expect to see all the information related to their products and features on your mobile site. So it is important to include a link on your desktop website in an integrated form into your mobile site. Typically, the bottom corner is the ideal place to do so.
Cooking Tracking on Mobile Websites
Most mobile websites prohibit cookie tracking from a third party. This results in loss of various analytics programs. So it is better to opt for an investment in a tracking system from the first party that allows you to serve all the cookies which are necessary.
The Importance of Understanding the Mobile Site User’s Psychology
You need to know the mindset of a mobile user; it differs completely from that of a desktop user.
Mobile users put in shorter tail keyword phrases and keyword searches to find what they’re looking for. Hence, the Meta description and Meta title tags should be optimized for shorter queries.
Think from Sociological Perspective
The content that is developed should be entertaining enough to the users keeping social networking activities in mind.
Everybody is keen to get associated with social networking platforms today, so it’s always best to have embedded links of social media on every page of your mobile site. This will result in more engagement, traffic, exposure and conversion.
Proper Display Increases Viewing Capabilities
A vertical menu view should be preferred so that it becomes easy to maneuver a website and navigate the site easily.
A Scaled Version Won’t Help
A fully revamped version of the desktop website in the form of a mobile website should be created. A desktop website shouldn’t be adjusted to accommodate a mobile screen. Web servers can be utilized to use a sub domain for a mobile site such as “m.yourdomain.com”. Twitter is a very good example of such a site.
Links Should Be Properly Positioned
A link to the desktop site should be present on every page of your mobile site. Two good examples of this are American Express and Subway.
Provision for Calling Up Directly
Customers should be given a convenient option of calling you up directly. A good example of this is GoDaddy.
Rich Content Should Not be Compromised with Speed
Too much of rich content in the form of high end videos and images should be reduced to not only accommodate mobile sites but also to ensure less time to load effectively. This results in high end visibility of interactive content without compromising on performance. Coca-Cola is a classic example of this.
The Development of Mobile Web Apps (Applications)
Applications should be developed for a mobile site only if they are required to be included. If the site allows the visitor to use an application in the form of a business tool or a resource several times, only then should an integrated application be developed.
For example, Bank of America’s mobile site has many transactions that are executed daily. Mobile application is a must for such a site, but for many others, it doesn’t make any sense.
Conclusion: Mobile SEO
My objective here has been to help you understand the importance of getting your mobile business site optimized. I have also tried to encompass various optimization strategies related to smart phones or mobile search. Using statistics, differences, strategies and checkpoints can make your mobile site a great success. I am glad to share this article with you and hope you like it too.
What Say You about Mobile SEO?
Your suggestions and feedback are always welcome. You can even share more on this if you have anything to say in the comments section below.
About the Author: Alan Smith is an avid tech blogger with vast experience in various IT domains, currently associated with SPINX Inc., Los Angeles, California-based website design, web development and internet marketing company. Follow Alan on Google + and Twitter.
P.S. Exactly one week to go to sign up for the SEO copywriting class in Jamaica. There’s still time!
Learning SEO is about so much more than learning a new skill; it’s about changing (taking control of) your life! Proof? See average salary of SEO writers in graphic just below.
P.P.S.: Avoid freelance writing dry spells by making extra money as an affiliate marketer: Learn how to earn $50-$150/day online pretty seamlessly in the best-selling ebook, How to Make Money Placing Ads on Free Classified Ad Sites.
Copyright © 2013: All material on this site is copyright protected and cannot be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without the editor’s written consent (linking to is fine).