Tips for Mobile SEO
Establishing a mobile SEO strategy should not be overlooked, but since many website designers and owners began with the desktop-friendly approach, it can be difficult to adopt a new philosophy.
Describing mobile as a new SEO philosophy may sound intimidating, but is not extremely difficult to implement. Overcoming this challenge is worth the time and money because of the long-term advantages that will be enjoyed.
A mobile platform requires a completely different user experience, thus mobile seo requires a different way of thinking. The easiest way to get started is to think like a mobile user and compare mobile optimized sites to those that are not. Right away observations should be made on the difficulty of using the non-optimized website and how this could lead to a higher bounce rate.
With a better understanding of the mobile user experience it is now time to conduct research and find out how many users your website has and how they found you. Yes, that is correct, your website probably already has mobile users and you have not even begun to implement your mobile strategy yet...that is a win for you already.
To find your mobile users go to the audience mobile devices section of Google Analytics. This section will list the operating system, provider, device and screen resolutions that are being used. Armed with this information, a decision can now be made on the configuration of your mobile website. Google supports three configurations for smartphone-optimized websites:
- Responsive Design: All devices serve the same set of URLs with each URL serving the same HTML to all devices by using CSS to change how the page is rendered on the mobile device.
- Sites that dynamically serve all devices on the same set of URLs, but each URL serves different HTML and CSS depending on whether the user agent is a desktop or a mobile device.
- Sites that have separate mobile and desktop URLs.
The best configuration for smartphones users and SEO is a responsive mobile website. In mocking up your mobile website here a couple quick tips:
- Mobile and social media go hand in hand - it is best to take advantage of this early on. By including social media buttons on every page of your mobile website, it will make it easier for mobile users to find your website and encourage social shares and engagement
- Think back to the experiment when comparing optimized mobile sites to non-optimized mobile websites. Mobile users prefer bold, inviting images and graphics with a clean user interface. Smartphones have come a long way, but users still have to deal with a small screen and shouldn’t have to strain their eyes when looking at your website
Now that the design of the website is coming along, it is time to think about keywords. This is where your Search Scientist hat comes into play because mobile users enter keyword queries differently and Google Autocomplete plays a big part. Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) provides great data that will help you optimize your content. GWT provides a filter that allows you to see only mobile search queries and see how your site appears on the SERPs for mobile. GWT can me be combined with the mobile function of the Google Keyword Tool to give you insight on how mobile users currently find your website and to determine how they find you after your mobile SEO strategy is implemented.
Bonus Tip: Everyone wants to increase traffic, but we are not always sure how to do it. Consider this statistic: 46% of consumers are unlikely to return to a mobile site if it didn't work properly during their last visit. Apply that statistic to your desktop website and think if 46% of your new visitors didn't return. This is how important it is to have an optimized mobile website and implement a mobile SEO strategy. What is your favorite mobile website and which companies have mobile sites that keep you coming back?