Is Your Website Ready To Go Mobile?
In the early days of SEO, optimisation was, at best, based on submitting your site to a search engine such as Yahoo or Excite and filling your text and Metas with keywords. In the coming years, the first algorithms began to surface, based on database-matched keywords. These were relatively easy to crack and some SEO pioneers would build pages based on these cracked algorithms for easy #1 ranking. As algorithms got more sophisticated, so did the SEO’s methods. Fast forward to 2011 and it’s a whole new optimization arena.
Today, the same thing is happening with optimizing content for the mobile market. Nowadays, the internet has become a household essential, and so have mobile phones and other devices. Children of primary school age are seen walking and talking on their phones, most for some years now, while just 15 years ago, a mobile would have been used primarily for business people and early adopters.
Already, using a phone just for texts and calls is a thing of the past. Now that the smart phone and smart tablet have flooded the market, people can get online anywhere they wish. People no longer have to secretively surf the web at work or hog the family computer. It makes sense that SEO for mobile websites will evolve as trends in mobile internet user behavior become more apparent.
Half of all Australians own an internet accessible phone, and 29% of them do so regularly, so it makes sense that with this huge market share, businesses should be considering seeking SEO for their mobile friendly sites.
But, should everyone immediately rush to get a mobile site?
Not all businesses will benefit from a mobile site, let alone SEO for mobiles right now. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t future proof your site, but some types of businesses generate more mobile searches more than others. For example, a few of the top reasons people are using browsers on their mobiles are for:
- Social networking
- Downloading an app
- Checking sports results
- Looking for a supplier
- Weather information
- Movie times
- Maps or directions
So if you are selling something tangible, for example, kitchen renovations and products, then the most benefit you will have from mobile SEO (at the moment) will be a Google Places listing, which when displayed in Google Mobile, shows your address and map, and most importantly – a clickable button with your phone number for quick dialing directly from the browser (varies depending on platform and phone). Social networking can also come into play here, more and more businesses are spreading their brand awareness through socializing with their target market. Facebook, for example is already optimised for the mobile market so all you need to do is add your content.
OK – so where do I sign up?
If you are satisfied that you should go ahead and join the mobile game, and create an App, or create a mobile mini site, then are a few things to think about before calling your developer:
All mobile users are different
There are hundreds of different phones, with different sized screens and different operating platforms to consider. If you build an App, you will have to decide whether to create a version for iPhone and Android and Nokia etc or just go with the most popular, which can change at any time! Likewise with your mobile site – will it load correctly in a Nokia as well as an iPhone? Mobile users are even more brutal in browsing than a desktop internet user is, if your App or site fails to deliver a great experience, then they will immediately go elsewhere.
People use fewer keywords
If a user is standing up on public transport, with a crazy driver at the wheel, your user will probably not type in the same amount of keywords that they normally would at their desk. If looking for a movie session, they’d be lucky to type in “movie times” rather than the title of the movie and suburb, which is why local listings are as important with mobile, as it now is for desk searching. Smart phones have GPS, and predictive search which will attempt to fill in the blanks before you click ‘search’, using Google Mobile as an example.
How many times will this market change?
How long is a piece of string? One thing that you will have to make sure of is that your code is neat and tidy and easily accessible by mobile crawlers. Another reason for this is that this is a relatively new market, and like traditional SEO, you may find that changes are needed to your mobile site or App regularly as phones get even smarter or users get lazier. On analysis, you may find that navigation needs a clean up, or that the page loads too slowly, or content snippets are too long. You need to be able to go with the flow, or risk investing in something that will be left behind.
The mobile web is still in the early days, despite many of us already wondering how we lived without it, and like the traditional internet and traditional SEO, many mistakes of trial and error will be made along the way. Many of the rules of traditional SEO will still apply to mobile SEO; however a more sophisticated coding practice will need to be observed, as well as research on the evolving user and devices. Only time will tell.
If you would like more information or advice about whether your website should go mobile, contact us today.
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White Chalk Road are a specialist Search Marketing Agency based in Perth, with over 20 years’ experience in the industry. As a Google Premier Partner, WCR specialise in SEO, Search Marketing, Advertising & Marketing Automation. WCR help Perth businesses, across both B2B and B2C markets, who need help being found online by their customers.
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