As anyone doing business on the Web today knows, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is critical. It’s the only way to make your online business presence stand out from the hundreds or even thousands of competitors in your niche.
Worse yet, the parameters for making your Web presence stand out to the search engines is ever changing, as algorithms are tweaked and tweaked some more and as user habits change in the process.
One huge change has been the adoption of mobile. It’s a change your business can’t afford to ignore.
Points About Your Mobile SEO Strategy
1. It’s An Absolute Necessity
Guess what? It doesn’t really matter whether you think mobile is important or not. Search engines have recognized mobile content as critical. They are already working on ways to search that content more effectively.
By failing to create content that is optimized for mobile, your Web presence effectively falls behind others who are working to get their content recognized by search engines like Google.
In a post on the official Google Webmaster Cental Blog, Webmaster Trends Analyst Pierre Far explains:
“Every day more and more smartphones get activated and more websites are producing smartphone-optimized content. Since we last talked about how to build mobile-friendly websites, we’ve been working hard on improving Google’s support for smartphone-optimized content. As part of this effort, we launched Googlebot-Mobile for smartphones back in December 2011, which is specifically tasked with identifying such content.”
So creating content that is optimized for mobile search provides one more way for Google to find your website. Is it an opportunity you can afford to pass up?
2. Using Proper Redirect is Key
Redirecting users to the version of your site best suited for their device, be it lap top or mobile, is an important part of optimizing these days. It’s important both because it affects user experience and because it impacts how Google sees your site.
On the customer side, a recent research study on the official Google Think Insights Blog reports:
- More than 96% of consumers visited sites through their mobile phones only to realize that these websites weren’t designed for mobile.
- More than 48% of these consumers reported frustration.
- More than 75% of users prefer a mobile-friendly site.
- About 74% of them are likely to return to the site if it’s mobile friendly.
- At least 67% of these users are likely to buy from the site if it’s mobile-optimized.
Now, let’s look at how Google sees things.
Redirects help Google understand how your various Web properties are interlinked together. The result is that redirects and user-agent detection are now a part of basic setup for mobile renditions and SEO.
The official Google Developers section has these instructions:
“When a website is configured to serve desktop and mobile browsers using different URLs, webmasters may want to automatically redirect users to the URL that best serves them. If your website uses automatic redirection, be sure to treat Googlebot and Googlebot-Mobile just like any other user-agent and redirect them appropriately.”
3. Responsive Design is a Good Solution
When it comes to your mobile SEO strategy and optimizing your website for mobile, one good solution is responsive design. Basically, a responsive Web design is one that “responds to” and resizes itself based on the device of the user.
There are a few reasons why Google recommends this approach and why you should consider taking this route:
Performance: Responsive design approach is the fastest way to go. Redirects can be slow and in the world where nanoseconds count for conversions you should consider avoiding redirects.
Easy sharing: It’s not complicated to share a single URL in social media.
A single URL: One URL is good for SEO.
4. Ironing Out the Kinks is Imperative
An important aspect of mobile SEO is the experience visitors have when visiting your site via a mobile device.
The official Google Developers site has this list of common problems:
- Slow page speeds: Slow loading time is especially an issue with smartphones given the characteristics of mobile data networks. Google has some suggestions to get your mobile site to load faster.
- Irrelevant cross-linking: If your site serves visitors on a separate mobile URL and links to the desktop-optimized version of your site, be sure not to link your smartphone page to something irrelevant like your desktop version’s landing page, for example.
- Interstitials for app downloads: Be careful how you promote apps on your website and make sure it doesn’t affect how the mobile version of your site is being indexed.
- Faulty redirects: If you redirect users from your desktop optimized site to your mobile site, be sure you aren’t sending users to an irrelevant or incorrect page.
5. Maximize Visibility of Mobile Content
If you have separate Web and mobile versions of your site, don’t keep it a secret thinking search engines might label it duplicate content and penalize you.
Instead, in a guest post on Search Engine Media, Bryson Meunier, director of content solutions at Resolution Media suggests:
“If you want maximum visibility for your mobile content, and to be truly optimized for mobile search, the best practice is to make it clear to the engines that you have a mobile site, optimize it for mobile queries and make it essential to mobile users, and then trust the engines to return it when they think it’s relevant. Don’t block the mobile site from being returned in desktop or smartphone results, as it’s relevant to more than just the search engine’s mobile index.”
As with all other aspects of mobile SEO discussed here, consult your Web developer to see how these suggestions can best be put in place on your website.
Bottom line: As mobile devices become more and more popular, failure to create a mobile SEO strategy and optimize your site for mobile will put you at a greater and greater disadvantage.
Be sure your content is easy to access on every kind of device a visitor might be using. You’ll help improve both traffic and customer conversion in the process by bringing more potential customers to you online.
Mobile User Photo via ShutterstockMore in: Blogging, SEO