- Category: July 2012 - Search Marketing & Analytics
Most internet users go to the sites they want to visit via search engines, even if the URL is familiar to them. This makes Search Engine Optimization (SEO) such a critical factor for conversion rates, for both the classical and the mobile web.
To make your content appear on top of the ranking, the content of the site has to be easily accessible and readable for crawling.
Is Mobile SEO necessary?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comprises of every action which makes web sites appear amongst the first results of natural listings. Mobile SEO is new and it seems that users are behaving differently on the mobile web, a though, at first sight, there are no big differences between traditional and mobile SEO. Just like for desktop SEO, on- and off-page needs to be optimized as only well-structured content leads to better search rankings. Optimizing the source code is as important for mobile pages, which raises the questions if mobile SEO is really necessary and if, that is so, what are the differences?
Keeping it short: Mobile search is different
Mobile users make use of the web differently with specific goals, such as for shopping and comparing, for finding test results and other information. The actual purchase of the product still mostly takes place on the desktop or in a store. Especially important issues like e.g. insurance contracts will be concluded via traditional web.
Mobile search demands for fast and relevant search results and therefore tools like Google Goggles, Gesture Search and Voice Search are extremely useful as they make mobile user interact differently with the web.
Compete with Google with your own App
Due to the smaller screen of smartphones, landing in the top 3 or 4 within the ranking in search results becomes crucial. Mobile search will not provide any different results compared to desktop search, but the pages the user will go to from there will in part be mobile pages that are structured differently.
Mobile SEO doesn‘t just mean optimizing of mobile sites, it includes apps as well. Apps can be small search engines. Web sites offering a lot of content can build their own search engines in the form of an app and compete with Google for specific topics. Mobile users will use a weather app, rather than searching via Google or entering the URL of a weather site. Research showed that 54 % of iPhone users spend more time with apps than with the browser.
Tips & Tricks for Mobile SEO
1. Take a look at traffic data: Every company that wants to be reached by mobile users should check on how high the bounce rate and how much mobile traffic there actually, how many users leave the site due to poor mobile performance and poor mobile presentation. These numbers will show whether it makes sense to optimize a web site for mobile.
2. Check the keywords: Research has shown that users of mobile devices use different keywords for search than desktop users. Thus, the keywords for a mobile site can differ from the keywords of a regular web site. In order to appear in the top rankings in mobile search, mobile should be optimized with short head keywords, which will lead to more traffic than ultra-long tail keywords. There content should be minimized for mobile, as users are more reluctant to type if they are on a mobile device, compared to the desktop.
3. Offer a mobile site: In order to properly depict content on mobile devices, you should have a separate mobile web site. For mobile friendly or mobile dedicated sites, easy usability, simple layout and high performance is key. „Mobile friendly“ describes a site which is compatible to be viewed on a mobile device, whereas mobile dedicated pages also take into account and make active use of technical differences like the use of GPS, motion sensors and touch screens. Depending on mobile traffic, it might be worth to switch to responsive design. In order to be reachable on your site at any time, a mobile site which is adapted to fit different screen sizes, with easy to read content and user friendly layout, using responsive design, is highly recommended.
4. Get local: Mobile users are searching for the shortest distances and quickly accessible content. Keywords combined with the names of cities are a frequent search. Price comparisons, reservations and product information are the most frequent searches. Location Based Services (LBS) is an interesting issue as well, and getting into the top ranks of Google Places is highly attractive for local businesses. There‘s still a lot of potential here, since one third of all searches for a restaurant come from a mobile phone.
5. Last but not least: avoid Flash: The iPhone operating system iOS does not yet support flash.