This is a guest post by Anna Robeson.
The online mobile market is possibly the most rapidly expanding one at the moment – and this almost in spite of current economic outlooks, which still speak of the aftermath of the global financial crisis. The number of smartphone users in the United States literally exploded in 2012 and all experts in the field forecast a similar pattern for 2013. That being said, building the SEO potential of a mobile website is something of a paradox. On the one hand, it is very similar to search engine optimization for desktop sites, when it comes to the broader strokes. On the other, however, there are a few essential differences when it comes to the actual implementation of such a strategy.
1. Research Your Audience
Recent surveys have revealed that most of the webmasters who use Google Analytics for their desktop website will fail to do the same for their mobile sites. As a matter of fact, of the top ranking one million websites around the world wide web, only about 40 per cent of desktop website owners who have a Google Analytics widget installed, as well as a mobile version of said site, will analyze the traffic flux of the latter. This, of course, is not acceptable, since the metrics provided by Google are the essential starter point of any digital advertising and marketing campaign.
It is imperative that you know how your visitors are responding to your mobile site, which pages they spend most time on, and how they reach the site, in order to achieve the best possible performance results.
2. Develop Your Mobile Site
As any web dev will tell you, building a mobile site is very different from developing a desktop site. First off, you need to take into account the type of site you’re handling. E-commerce sites will want to allot a significant amount of screen real estate to their price comparison tool. A site for a brand that also has offline stores should prominently feature a ‘store locator’ tool, for people who browse on the go. Face it, when you’re checking a commercial site via mobile, it’s either for price comparisons or location seeking, most of the time. Beyond this, publishing platforms also need to be streamlined for easy access to information, as well as improved readability on smaller screens.
3. Optimize Judiciously
The actual optimization process needs to be refined according to the devices you’re targeting. Remember that tablet users had best be directed to the desktop version – while smartphone-friendly sites need to be careful how they treat Googlebot. In most cases, using the ‘m.’ version for your mobile URL will also keep things ‘cleaner’ from Google’s perspective, by avoiding tricky redirects, while also helping you manage your traffic stats with more ease.
Lots of newbie mobile site developers and webmasters are concerned about infinite loop, when it comes to putting a mobile site up online. In other words, they worry that their mobile site should not provide a link to the desktop site and vice versa, for fear that the mechanisms behind the interface will fail to subsequently redirect according to the device being used. Which brings us to the final point:
4. Keep an Eye on Those Metrics
The final point somewhat goes without saying, but it’s worth mentioning nonetheless. Website metrics should be under constant monitoring, since, with time, they will do two things for you, the webmaster.
- Firstly, they will give you clear hints on what remains to be done, toward the goal of full mobile SEO optimization. Say you notice pages that get a high bounce rate from mobile users. You will need to look into that and find a way to make that content more easily accessible.
- Second, metrics will help you monitor your progress toward each landmark, turn by turn, be those landmarks related to hits, clicks, social media activity, or conversion.
Remember that when you’re doing SEO, either for mobile or desktop sites, your ultimate goal is traffic. It is, however, very important to segment your progress toward your desired threshold, in order to avoid getting sidetracked along the way.
About the author
Anna is a blogger and social media strategist, with a mind for conversions and analysis. She has worked with some of the best SEO Agencies out there and has top tips and recommendations on how to tell the good apart from the average.