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Mobile SEO Tips: The Ultimate Guide to Mobile Search Optimization
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Continuing with our mobile search theme this week, we wanted to share some mobile SEO tips that marketers can leverage to help enhance their presence with mobile search.  Why focus on mobile?  Well this stat tells it all, a recent study from the International Telecommunication Union suggests that by the end of 2010, the number of mobile phone users on the planet will increase from about 4.6 billion to 5 billion.  As a result you can expect consumers to begin to feel more at ease with mobile shopping.  If anything else people are already using their mobile phones to find timely information whether it is an address, flight information or a restaurant menu.

According to a study from Retrevo, 55% of people aged 18-24 have used a mobile phone to assist in the shopping process.  People, especially digital natives are comfortable in using their mobile phones to surf and to purchase. An eMarketer report from March 2008 suggests that spending on mobile advertising will reach about $19 billion in 2012 with the US market forecasted to reach $6.5 billion during this same time.

Here are some tips to consider when optimizing for mobile search.

Mobile SEO Tips
  1. You need a Mobile Friendly Site - Ensure that you have a Mobile friendly site
    • this may mean creating a mobile version of your site
    • this may mean creating a mobile microsite
    • ensure that you can replicate all of the important functionality that you see on your regular website
    • keep the design simple and clean
    • Use valid XHTML 1.0 code
    • test to ensure that the site will render appropriately across various mobile devices
    • if you are a more robust e-commerce site, consider creating an m-commerce site (mobile site) with
      • mobile galleries
      • product catalogs and shopping basket
      • billing management
      • ease of use/login
    • for smaller businesses, ensure that you set up a mobile site with basic features that include:
      • text, graphics and video
      • click to call
      • custom forms
      • device detection and optimized rendering
      • customized design with branded elements to match your existing web site to help deliver a successful user experience for different mobile users
  2. Own Your Mobile Domain - when designing a mobile site or even if you just want have your mobile domain available for future scalability, try to own your mobile domain.  Consider getting a dotmobi domain.  A .mobi domain is a top level domain approved by ICANN that is restricted for mobile devices and sites.  Visit http://www.dotmobi.org/ for additional details.
  3. Follow Website Accessibility Guidelines - pay attention to W3C guidelines and standards which can be found here.  While a separate, mobile version of the website is not required, if you are creating a mobile site, you want to ensure that the layout is easy to use and view on mobile devices.
  4. Avoid Complex Navigation - this is true for website or mobile optimization.  Keep it simple, you know what it is like navigating a site from your smart phone.  If you are using your phone to find information, you are most likely looking for this information in a hurry.  Make it easy for users to find what they are looking for.
  5. Leverage SEO Best Practices - keyword association is important with any Search activity, whether it is online or mobile.  As a result the need for optimized pages is important if you want to be found by your desired audience.  As part of your mobile SEO efforts, ensure that:
    • Page Titles are optimized with relevant keywords being used by your mobile audience
    • Landing pages are optimized with relevant keywords being used by your mobile audience
  6. Keep on Top of Mobile Technologies -  the technology continues to improve and get better.  Avoid using intensive presentation methods such as Flash and Ajax.  Again keep the design simple.  While we expect technologies to improve, you want to ensure that your mobile site will load fast and provide an output that is useful to the user. Understand all of the options that you have available when implementing and optimizing a mobile strategy.  Stay informed.
  7. Leverage Sponsored Search for Mobile to support SEO - Google Mobile, Yahoo Mobile and Mobile Advertising through Microsoft to promote your brand via mobile ads.  Using Google Mobile as an example, Sponsored search results on Google Mobile work on a pay per click as well as a pay per call basis. Every ad contains a headline and a description with a maximum of 18 characters each. The third line contains the site URL or a telephone number or both. Advertisers can therefore choose to connect to customers via whichever medium - phone or website. In addition, when using mobile advertising with Google, you can:
    • leverage keyword targeting to target specific searches on mobile phones
    • leverage contextual targeting and reach readers of mobile web pages reading about a given topic
    • leverage carrier targeting to target specific carriers
    • target ads based on compatible devices
  8. Consider Multilingual mobile site optimization - this one is fairly obvious
  9. Submit to Mobile Search Engines - this can be done by accessing resources such as this.
  10. Optimize for Local Search - ensuring that your site is well optimized for local search, will mean that people should be able to find you when they are looking for local resources.  Update your profile and include links to your mobile site (if you have one) and make it easy for users to find your business and more importantly "reach out and touch your business".  It is not just about the Yellow Pages anymore.

Notable Mobile Search Engines
  • Google XHTML Mobile Search from Google Mobile
  • Bing for Mobile from Bing Mobile
  • Yahoo! Mobile
  • MSN Mobile Search
  • AOL Mobile Search
  • Technorati Mobile
Mobile Website Design Resources

  • Mobile Awesomeness - http://www.mobileawesomeness.com/
  • MobiSite Galore - http://www.mobisitegalore.com
  • Accuracast - http://mobile.accuracast.com/
Additional Resources
  • MobiForge - A Beginner's Guide to Mobile Web Development  -
  • A Guide to Mobile Web Design Tips & Tricks - http://mashable.com/2009/11/26/mobile-web-design/
  • Mobile Website Articles - http://www.mobilewebsitedesigner.com/articles/
  • Mobile Web Development - Mobile Design and Development - http://oreilly.com/iphone/excerpts/iphone-mobile-design-development/mobile-web-development.html

Labels: , ,

posted by Jody @ Wednesday, March 17, 2010  
  • At 11:38 AM, Anonymous Kristen said…

    Not all companies will benefit from a mobile site. Having a mobile site for some could just be a waste of time. For instance I work for Auto Shipping Network and we have our website www.autoshippingnetwork.com. We ship cars all over the world and I think a mobile site wouldn't sway the company in any direction.

  • At 9:02 PM, Anonymous Caliban said…

    Hi Jody

    This is a really nice introductory guide about getting a basic website up and running. One thing I would recommend to you is the importance of Local searches to Mobile. Google is on the record saying that around a third of all Mobile searches have local intent. By making sure your client has good reviews, is highly cited and utilises emerging Local Social Networking tools such as Foursquare and Gowalla you can maximise your Mobile SEO efforts.

  • At 7:16 PM, Blogger Jody said…

    Great points. Thanks for adding to the conversation. Leveraging good reviews, utilizing emerging Local Social Networking tools such as Foursquare will definitely help maximize your Mobile SEO efforts.

  • At 8:06 AM, Anonymous GuaranteedRankings said…

    Mobile SEO is still in its nascent stage and that means, you need to follow the same SEO best practices as closely as possible.

  • At 4:15 AM, Anonymous Andy Williams said…

    Some really good tips, thanks for sharing.

    Owning your own mobile domain is a great tip and one that is overlooked by a huge number of companies.

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