How To Master Mobile SEO In 2014

Feb 12 2014, 12:18pm CST | by

How To Master Mobile SEO In 2014

The mobile trend is big and is going to continue getting bigger. It’s one of the most common predictions about the changing world of business and communication. From strategic moves made by the big brands to the rise of smartphones, mobile has already taken a fair share of recent headlines.

But in the midst of all the trendiness, the substance of “mobile” tends to be lost. You know that a mobile strategy and mobile-optimized content are important, but you may not know what separates good mobile content from bad – in other words, how to do proper mobile SEO.

Yes, mobile SEO needs to be different from its desktop counterpart to succeed. But the good news is that strong mobile content is still rare enough that you can draw attention just by doing things the right way…at least for now. So, make 2014 the year you stop just doing mobile, and start doing mobile the right way. Here’s how.

Focus on Accurate, Dependable Pages

Google, unsurprisingly, is on the forefront of mobile page ranking, and has already laid a few ground rules for judging proper mobile SEO. Most of its particulars focus on dependability and accuracy. Since mobile is still in its early years, there are many common mistakes that Google is trying to root out.

When optimizing content from a mobile perspective, pay close attention to the basics:

  • When embedding videos and images, check to ensure they play correctly on mobile devices.
  • Make sure your redirects go to the right mobile page (preferably the right page instead of just your home screen, which is annoying for any user).
  • Avoid having any type of mobile 404 or unavailable content.
  • Make sure no interstitial, click-to-leave ads appear on mobile sites, even if they appear on desktops.

Pruning away such issues is both common sense and the best way to get better mobile rankings.

Know Your Options for Mobile Content Serving

Mobile optimization” is a buzzword, but like all buzzwords it needs some serious detail-oriented planning to turn it into success. Mobile optimization is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Several different possibilities exist for optimization, and you need to weight them differently based on the type of website you have, as well as your target audience demographics. Here are the different options for mobile optimization:

  • Responsive design uses the same code across desktop and mobile versions, but automatically moves the content into a mobile format when accessed from a mobile device. This reduces the number of errors and is by far the easiest approach if you build your website using responsive design from the get-go. But if you have an existing, complex site with lots of text and intricate menus, it can be difficult to re-build it using responsive design, and responsive design doesn’t always translate well to mobile devices.
  • Dynamic Serving detects whether the content is being accessed from a mobile device or a desktop, then serves different code depending on what is used to access the content. The URL is kept the same in either case, which makes it easy to offer a unique mobile solution, and maintains SEO value. Mobile sites need to be functional, minimalistic, and intuitive to create a good user experience. Separate coding is the ideal, albeit expensive, approach.
  • Separate mobile sites use both separate coding and separate URLs. This is ideal if you want to offer unique mobile features, if your mobile site has a markedly different focus, or if you need to separate the two sites for other development reasons.

For more information on creating a mobile-optimized content strategy, see my article, “10 Steps to Creating a Mobile-Optimized Content Marketing Strategy.”

Know Your Audience

This is a conceptual issue, but it’s also an important point for proper mobile SEO. People treat mobile devices differently than desktop computers. The same person will search for different things in different ways. Keypad issues and the on-demand and “mobile” nature of mobile devices mean that peoples’ search queries are quite different when they search from a mobile device as opposed to a desktop device. This was actually the reason behind Google’s launch of its Hummingbird algorithm. For more about that, see my article, “Google Hummingbird: A Mobile Content Marketing Strategy Just Became Essential.”

It’s also important to remember just how small mobile screens are. Users aren’t interested in large blocks of text, because they often can’t easily read it. If people have to zoom and reposition the screen, it’s discouraging and can cause them to leave the page. This is the top reason to consider a separate optimized site where you can streamline content and use large text or smartphone-friendly media. Over the next year, this type of small-screen optimization will become the norm for all online companies, not just the bigger brands.

Consider Different Tactics for Voice Searches

Just as people use different search queries on their mobile devices, they also use different search methods. Voice searches usually are posed in the form of questions, so voice-input search queries tend to be longer than the average search, and tend to be questions. “What are the movie times?” “Where is the nearest pub?” and “Where can I find a gas station?” are all common examples.

Capitalize on this trend by including geographic indicators in your content (to help with localization) and creating more content that answers common questions that you expect your audience to ask.

Understand the Importance of Time

The time factor of mobile searching is far more important than in desktop searches. Desktop (and, to an extent, tablet) search is comparatively casual, conducted when people have some time to carefully view results. Mobile searches often happen on the go and in the midst of conversation, with people wanting exceptionally quick answers. Supply quick answers and search functionality on your website for the best results, and work on performance: less than one second load times are ideal.

Use New Capabilities/>/>

Mobile SEO has the potential to be much more inventive than desktop tactics. Here are some ideas:

  • Use the latest mobile options whenever possible.
  • Incorporate location-based services.
  • Offer proximity and scannable coupons for new promotions that give people reasons to pull out their phones and pull up your site.
  • Offer instant store locators if you thrive on in-person sales and click-to-call features if you take orders or offer information over the phone.

Google’s latest mobile Playbook offers a plethora of additional ideas on innovative additions to mobile SEO. For more resources on mobile SEO, responsive design, and creating a mobile content strategy, see this collection of mobile SEO resources.

Image source: howtomobile.apps.gov (public domain)

Source: Forbes Business

 
 

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