We’ve talked quite a bit about the quickly growing use of mobile devices to search the web. The latest reports show between 10% to 20% of all traffic on the web, and some popular websites, claim that roughly a fourth of their traffic is coming from mobile devices, if you include tablets.

Of course, this all shows that ignoring mobile web use at this point is not a good decision. Those that are innovating in the field of mobile optimization will have a much brighter future than those that continue to resist the mobile shift. The sooner you optimize your site for mobile use, the better chances your company will do well in the future.

There are two factors that differentiate mobile devices from other traditional computing devices. They both are obvious, but both factors have undeniably huge effects on users’ web experiences. The first is portability. Since mobile users are accessing the web on the go, their current location and activities become important to what they are accessing online. The second factor is screen size. Mobile screens do seem to be getting larger, but they will never go anywhere near standard computer screen size. Take advantage of screen size limitations of mobile users, rather than fight it.

With between 15-20% of all searches on Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. coming from mobile users, how does that change search behavior?

Search Behavior Due to Location

Microsoft’s research has found that 30% of all mobile searches are related to their location, and 61% of searches end in a phone call. Like I said, a person’s locations and activities are clearly important to mobile user’s.

Of course, the recent changes to search engines have made great strides to customize search results based on user’s locations, but you should still make an effort to specify your business’s location on search engines using their web master settings.

The major search engines also look for location signals from the title and text present on a website. If you own a local business, make it easy for them to find these signals. Emphasize the location on the site so search engines prioritize your website in search results around your area.

Can you still take advantage of mobile users’ locations even if your business has more than one location? Of course!

If your business has multiple locations, you should be creating internal pages for your different locations, with a present hierarchy starting from the homepage so that search engines will notice the location specific pages too. You will still have to deal with standard issues such as speed, relevance, and backlinks, but taking advantage of location will help get individual pages ranked based on where your users may be.

Search Behavior Due to Screen Size

Screen size contstraints are a more physical limitation, but it strongly effects how people search and visit pages. The clearest difference between mobile and desktop search is the number of paid results and advertisments. On most search engines, there are far less paid ads on mobile because of the screen size. That means organic results on mobile are more important than on desktop.

Screen size also limits the number of results you recieve at any given moment. On a typical smartphone you can only see a few results at a time. Desktops give users a broad range of results immediately, but on mobile the top three results are key. Mobile users are not prone to research, and they rarely go past the first page of results, so it is important to get your page as high in the rankings as possible.

Search behavior on mobiles are certainly unique from their desktop counterparts, and mobile requires a similarly unique SEO strategy. Of course, desktop is still important, so the best way to approach the issue is by creating a seperate mobile site that is optimized for mobile user experience. The longer you wait to optimize, the more trouble you will have later.

For more, read Paras Chopra’s article at Search Engine Land.

 

The “Pepsi Challange” of the 1970’s and early 1980’s was a classic marketing move that created tons of similar advertising campaigns. In the challenge, Pepsi went to popular areas like shopping malls and had public participate in blind taste tests, in which people seemed to prefer Pepsi over Coke.

Microsoft is now using a similar marketing campaign with Bing. The new campaign, available at BingItOn.com, allows people to blindly compare search results side-by-side on the same page. Microsoft is even claiming people so far choose Bing 2:1 over Google. Microsoft believes that Bing is a higher quality search engine and are trying to convince the public to “break the Google habit.” They are even offering prizes for those who take the challenge.

First, you enter a query or choose from a list of suggested searches, and the site presents you with two sets of unbranded results. Then, you decide which you prefer. After you’ve done this five times, the site will tell you which search engine you chose.

The site doesn’t let you have the full capabilities of either website, but focuses only on basic searching and results.

 

To see the original article:
Bing Offers Own Version Of “Pepsi Challenge” Against Google: “Bing It On”

You may have heard about this, but Bing and Facebook have joined forces, and now Bing is going to start displaying results based on Facebook posts.

Read more

This was something that had been coming, but it was unknown exactly when the date would be.  Yahoo and Microsoft have made an alliance.  It’s called the “Search Alliance”.  Originally it was intended as a unification for paid advertisements, but it’s clear now that the unification is for both paid and organic listings; do a search on both Yahoo and Bing for a keyword phrase, and the results are now identical.

Read more

The news is out, Google is not a fan of Microsoft Windows. The main reason is security concerns, the vulnerability that is present with the hackability of the operating system. Read more

Google’s making some changes to their standard search results, to include a left hand nav bar.  This has made some people (including Business Insider) wonder if it’s to imitate what Bing already has in place – a side panel to have different links for images, videos, etc.

This change will affect how people view results in general, although Google’s advertising approach will likely not change heavily.  We’ll have to see what the response is when they go fully live with these changes.

You can see Google’s words on the new SERPs here:

Today a court order goes into effect to force Microsoft to allow Windows users a choice in internet browsers.  Previously, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer was the default browser installation on Windows.  As of today, that decision is no longer enforced, and users will have a choice to make that many were previously unaware they even had.

One possibility of this outcome is that Google Chrome may now see some increase in use.  Google is doing a heavier push in the mainstream media, so everyday internet users will see the option to install Chrome.  If a lot of them choose this, this will increase Google’s hold over the search engine market, and this will also effect many SEOs in their approach to optimization.

It appears the battle between Google and Microsoft (who’s joined forces with Yahoo) may have only now just begun.  To check out more details on this story, see this article by HighPosition.net.

I got an email from Microsoft adCenter promoting the new alliance between Yahoo and Microsoft.  They’re calling it “Search Alliance“.  The aim is to have their online paid advertising fully unified before the 2010 holiday season, although they did say that they’ll wait until 2011 if they “determine this will be more effective”.

Microsoft bought out Yahoo, so now the primary tool behind both search engines will be Bing, and behind the pay per click (and other paid online advertisements) will be adCenter.  The Search Alliance has stated that each company will “continue to have differentiated consumer search experiences”.  Not sure exactly how they’ll pull that off with the same search engine for both, but they may just mean the search interface.

The support will be broken apart, Yahoo supporting the bigger advertisers, and Microsoft will provide support to “self-service” advertisers.  They are combining their platforms for the advertising audience, so ads put together under this new alliance will reach consumers using either search engine.  The Search Alliance brags that advertisers of all sizes will now be able to have access to a combined audience of nearly 577 million worldwide searchers.

At any rate, this is pretty big news – Yahoo and MS pulling together to battle the mighty Google.  I expect this may be an epic battle.