In the space of just three years, mobile’s proportion of web traffic has grown by more than 1,200%. If you take into consideration that this figure doesn’t include the use of tablets (therefore it realistically being significantly higher and on the rise month on month) the importance of these figures speak for themselves.
If you don’t maximise your SEO effectively, and target your marketing to/at your Mobile Market, you are undoubtedly missing out.
Did you know that mobile search engines have different algorithms and bots than those that are used for traditional web search? The ‘mobile’ bots and algorithms evaluate your website from a mobile phone perspective, and rank results and partially based on how well your page will display and work on the phone that submitted the query – whether its Android or Apple. Here is what you need to know about Google-Bot Mobile:
- Google can differentiate between a ‘traditional’ mobile phone (Phones with browsers which cannot render normal desktop web pages) and a smartphone (Phones with browsers that can render normal desktop pages, including the usual/popular choices today, Blackberry, Windows Phone 7, Android, I Phones, etc)
- Google has two crawlers you need to know about: Googlebot, and Googlebot-Mobile:
- Googlebot crawls desktop browser type webpages, analysing relevancy and content, which is the usual types of webpages and content you look at every day, and consider for your everyday marketing techniques.
- GoogleBot-Mobile is specifically for analysing and crawling mobile content. This is the area we are going to focus on today and how to maximise your coverage online.
Mobile Site Maps.
Step One to maximize your mobile SEO, is to create a mobile sitemap. Generally speaking, Sitemaps are extremely important to the SEO process as they provide a list of pages that search engine crawlers can identify or use. For mobile SEO, it is especially important if the build is separate from the main website. One way for this can be done is by using a subdirectory structure, or handheld stylesheet, which are both useful approaches for your link building strategy too. A key pointer to remember, is that you should only include mobile content URLS in Mobile-Sitemaps, even if these URLS return non-mobile content when accessed by a non-mobile user.
Once your new M-Site Map is complete, don’t forget to submit it to Google Webmasters – which is done in the exact same way as you would your usual website Site Map.
Keyword research is ALWAYS important, and should be conducted by the experts where possible. However bare in mind, that search terms and search queries for mobile users differ greatly in their use to the usual desktop variety.
Mobile search query strings (via smartphones) are understandably much shorter and much more precise than their desktop counterparts – by approximately 24%. Along with this, Google provides a filtering option that is specific for mobile search (available in the ‘keyword tools’ area) which includes helping to filter results by local search trends and search volumes.
Ensure that you are optimised for local search (Google places, etc.) and that your keyword selections are more concise.
Coding is Key.
This point is not too dissimilar to one we would make with normal sites and building, however much more weight (and potential damage to your site) is held in mobile.
Speak to professionals, and do your research. Know the difference between different the mobile operating systems – Android and Apple the highest contenders with differences at every turn. Ensure that your site is able to support the majority.
We all know the slightest error in code will have a dramatic effect on-page, potentially resulting in it being a ‘broken’ one. With the ‘right now’ immediate approach to mobile usage, this will have a major knock on effect to your sites marketing strategy, and a lower site ranking in the mobile Search Engine results page if the end user can’t view the data they want and need.
Mobile Specific Sites
If you find that your website is in need of a more “mobile user friendly” approach, invest time into designing mobile specific pages for your business and brand.
To put together mobile friendly sites, you need to put yourself in the end user’s shoes, and think like a mobile user (as realistically, you already are one). A strong, functional design is crucial. Pages need to load quickly, be easy to navigate, and be direct to the point. Slow loading increases your bounce rate (much in the way of regular SEO) having a negative effect on your rankings.
Similar to coding, understand the operating systems is a great help, with what will and won’t work on a mobile platform – an simple example being the use of Flash, which is unsupported on Apple products, and making your page unusable to i-phone and pad-ers alike.
Drive Mobile Traffic Using Social Tools
According to comscoredatamine.com, 7.9 million mobile users access social media (including blogs) almost every day, and 14.7 million users accessing it at least once a month. The chances are, your customers and subscribers will be using their phones to view your data. Ensure that you optimise your social media strategies with interesting and relevant content, encouraging click through to your on site content.
If you check Google’s mobile web index, the majority of the top results are pages from You Tube. One excellent way of driving traffic directly to your mobile site is with the usage of YouTube videos and content, using the URL address of your mobile site as well as displaying a highly visable “call to action” in the videos.
[image via google.co.uk]