It is not only important to work harder but smarter. With the staggering increase in the number of mobile users, mobile SEO is the need of the hour.
World’s population today stands at 7.1 Billion. 39% of this total population uses internet (including on smartphones and smart devices) as opposed to 16% back in 2005. The advent of social networks has further fueled the usage of internet especially on smart phones. Around 25% of organic search visits to Google come from smartphone users. There has never been a greater need to focus on websites for mobiles, and hence on user-design and Search Engine Optimization efforts geared especially for mobiles.
User behavior on Mobiles-
Search engines and sites should notice if the access has been made from a desktop/laptop or smart phones. Let’s start by looking for certain user traits visiting sites on mobiles-
- Mobile users are usually hunting for knowledge, like, for example many of us come across some concept we don’t know and we immediately take out the smartphones out of the pocket and begin searching.
- They are usually looking for reviews/pricing on the go. May be looking for competitor’s prices or online prices while they are in a store.
- They normally make more use of voice search as opposed to desktop/laptop users performing voice search.
- Mobile users hate delays and love responsive and fast sites. They can’t tolerate sites that take unreasonably long to load and therefore there’s a greater possibility of an increased bounce rates for slower sites.
- Mobile searches are normally location-dependent. For example, I may look for a store nearby my home town.
Given all these traits, especially the page load time, voice search and the dependency on location, focus on mobile optimization has become imperative.
Success factors for mobile optimization-
These factors stem from the mobile user traits, and the characteristics of the device itself. These traits lead to specific SEO efforts for mobiles. The number of mobile users are increasing manifold. Meaningful content and responsiveness are the key to any success for mobile optimization. We list a few items that must be checked before building high expectation in terms of mobile traffic and client conversion-
- Keep the content precise and meaningful. You must focus on providing unique and fulfilling mobile experience when someone visits your site. It should be always be remembered that your mobile site is also a place to build or strengthen your brand image. Make content specially for your mobile site. Try not to use the same as on your regular site. It’s a platform like none other, in words of Avinash Kaushik, Google Evangelist.
- Do not forget to submit the mobile sitemap to Google Webmaster Tool/Bing just like you would submit for a desktop website.
- Given the screen size constraints, titles should be limited to 60 characters and the meta descriptions to 100 characters.
- Recommended is to host the mobile site on the same domain as the desktop/laptop site or if it is hosted on a separate domain, remember to get it indexed. Google has a specific crawler for mobile optimized sites.
- Test the load time for your mobile site, and if not reasonable make efforts to lower the site load time. This is useful in bringing or retaining your prospective/current readers/clients. Just think even you as a mobile user would hate to spend minutes waiting for a site to load. Mobile users are always mobile, so make sure you give them as soon as they need it.
- Use Google Analytics (GA) to study your audience/demographics and keep a track of your progress. GA provides segmentation of your traffic coming from mobiles/desktop/tablets. This will help you in making the right decisions from time to time, and ensure you do the right optimization for the right device.
- Google is all intent on providing excellent user-experience. The use of responsive web design is preferred as then it is easy for Google to index, crawl and organize. Responsive Web Design allows great user-experience for the same site on variety of devices. It also eases the effort on part of SEO plans.
The use of smartphones has led to yet another revolution. Further, with the announcement of Hummingbird, the focus has greatly shifted to mobile optimization. The success factors or the action items listed in this post are easy to start with, and would give sound foundation to extensive SEO plans. In today’s world, don’t let your mobile sites disappoint your users. Make it lively, interactive, responsive and fast. The future belongs to those who embrace it today. Let us know, how far you are with your mobile optimization efforts.