2013 will be the year of mobile SEO; already we are seeing an increasing number of users accessing internet from their mobile devices. Therefore, it makes perfect business sense to optimize your mobile website for mobile search.
Let take a look at some of the best practices for mobile website that you can adopt:
Adopt the Social Media First Approach
Whatever content that is being developed today for the web, passes through social media, that’s because web users spend a lot of time on social media sites, and webmasters ensure that all new content, any new update etc. runs through their social media presence as soon as it’s live. Adopt the same brand of thinking while developing content for your mobile site.
Most smartphone users are connected to social media networks 24/7, so it makes perfect sense to embed social media in every page of your mobile website. If you want to increase the visibility your site and associated content, there is no better way to do this then ensuring that it’s shared across social networks.
Keywords for Mobile Search
In terms of search queries that mobile users type in to find a particular website, their thinking differs from that of users who are trying to find a desktop website. Here, the fact that they are accessing the internet through their mobile devices plays an important role in determining the search phrases they use. Typically, they use short tail keywords, and usually Google’s auto complete query completes the query for them.
This happens because the keypad that is being used by mobile users is small, so typing long tail keywords is not something that they will prefer. Also, mobile devices are often used when the user is on the move.
So, when you are optimizing your Title and Meta descriptions, you need to optimize them for short tail keywords.
Mobile Centric Content Presentation
The way you are presenting content on mobile websites will differ from the way it’s presented on desktop websites. In the mobile domain, content needs to be presented in a way that the user will find it comfortable to read/view. It needs to be presented in a way that fits the needs of users who are either on the move or who are at rest (sitting/standing).
So, the content on your website must be to the point. You don’t have the liberty of desktop websites wherein your content could be detailed, if you want it to be so. Here, the content needs to be brief, clear and at the same time, must be engaging as well. Oh! And somewhere in the content, you will need to fit in your target keywords as well.
Understand and Cater to Mobile Search Engines
A mobile search engine is different as compared to the behavior of traditional search engines. Firstly, mobile search engines are configured to offer content results based on vague inputs, secondly they offer results that are based on the user’s location at a given point of time; and thirdly the presentation of information is based on the browser used and also the device.
As a webmaster, you will need to keep these factors in mind while developing an SEO Strategy.
Targeting Mobile Specific Search Phrases
Mobile audiences don’t use the same search phrases as desktop/laptop users even if they are looking for similar search results. So, your first job will be to understand the mobile specific search phrases that your mobile audience is going to use and create content that revolves around these specific keyword phrases.
So, if you are providing software development services and this is your target keyword in web search, there is a good chance that this phrase will need to be tweaked, if you want to target this service in mobile search.
Remember, understanding the subtle and at times major differences between mobile and web search phrases takes time and is more of a trial and error than anything else. So, be patient, expertise won’t come in a hurry.
Don’t Develop a Site that Just Fits the Screen
The use of mobile websites and their development is constantly evolving; there are still people who believe that all they need to consider while developing a website for mobile search is that it should fit into the screen real estate of the mobile device.
But, that’s not going to make it SEO friendly. You will need to develop to scale, and ensure that you have developed a mobile version of your website to ensure that you offer your target audience the best user experience possible. Configure your web servers so that your site’s mobile version is on the sub-domain of your website.
Minimize the use of Rich Content
The ground rule for making an SEO friendly mobile version of your site is to use the right content only if it’s an absolute necessity. If you think that all those images and videos that you are going to use on your mobile website are going to improve UX, you have another thing coming, because it won’t. All this will do, is make your site difficult to load, and even when the pages finally do load, they won’t be rendered the way they are supposed to.
If you still want to use this content, as a value proposition, then reduce their file size, for better visibility. It makes zero sense for you to use such content to engage visitors, if it doesn’t show up on their mobile devices the way you expect it to show up.
Mobile SEO is still going through its evolutionary phrases. There are many businesses that have made a mobile website a part of their larger marketing plan, but many of them are still not focusing their attention on mobile SEO. It’s a work in progress, but it’s happening steadily. In 2013, I expect mobile SEO to surge ahead and that’s when the best practices mentioned in this article will really come into play.