Just about everyone has a smart phone by now, so why is mobile SEO still a poor facsimile of desktop SEO? Even the most basic stats show that mobile SEO is worth paying attention to, as mobile devices accounted for 13% of all searches in June 2012 with 20% of clicks.
The problem is creating a mobile site isn’t easy, and effectively optimizing any given site for a mobile audience relies on several criteria.
- How does your audience behave on your site? – Before you invest time and money into a mobile site, it’s first important to know if you even have enough of a mobile audience to make it worth your effort. Using Google Analytics, you can create a segment for organic mobile traffic, which will allow you to look at the volume of visits, devices used, and the landing pages they tend to hit, as well as what are the most popular keywords. If you know what type of content is most popular with mobile users, you can prioritize it when creating a mobile website.
- Where does your site appear in mobile search results? – Where your site appears in mobile search results is helpful in knowing what content you need to optimize for mobile use. Investigating these statistics, as well as what keywords and pages are already gaining visibility will help you prioritize.
- How does your audience use mobile search? – Knowing how your target audience uses mobile search allows you to make yourself more visible to them and increase your traffic. You can use Google’s Keyword Tool to find the keywords your audience are using, and Our Mobile Planet lets you check how consumers are using their mobile devices.
- How does your site render on mobile devices? – Testing your content on mobile devices is essential when designing a site because if your content doesn’t render correctly, visitors will promptly leave. Using Google’s Getmometer, PageSpeed Insights and the ‘Fetch as Google mobile bot’ in Webmaster tools, you can see how mobile users and bots see your website.
- What content and products are you offering to your mobile audience? – Mobile users are often looking for different content than your desktop visitors are. Identifying what your mobile customers are after, lets you know if you are catering to their needs. Often, mobile users focus more on localized content. If that is true for your audience, are you offering localized content? If you’re not, are you able to create some?
- Do you have the technical capacity to develop a mobile site? – If your website isn’t rendering correctly on mobile devices, you need to consider if you have enough of a budget to make it responsive, dynamically serve content or build a parallel mobile version. Each method has its pros and cons, but ideally you need to use responsive design. That’s not always possible though, depending on technical capacity, budget, and content needs.
- Based on these criteria, decide what type of mobile site you need – Depending on your site’s needs and abilities, you will know how you need to respond to creating a mobile site. David Moth at Econsultancy has a flowchart to use to make it easy for you.
There are different ways to handle mobile optimization, and hopefully this list has helped you identify the best route for you, but there is one thing that is true no matter what. Mobile SEO is becoming more important every day, and ignoring it is only hurting yourself.