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Best Practice: Mobile SEO

Google dominates the Mobile Search Different studies and market data draw a clear picture: the usage of mobile internet via smartphones and laptops with UMTS connection will soon exceed the stationary Internet usage. Just if the modern user is on the way, he wants to look for a hotel, restaurant, shop etc. spontaneously. Therefore it is not amazing that Google defined the following two topics as key factors for future growth: mobile and local search.

In 2010 Chitika accomplished a research for the usage of the search behavior on the iPhone based on the sample of the traffic acorss its online advertising network. They found out, that Google dominates the iPhone market within the range of the Web search. 97 percent of all searches are handled by Google products. Approximately half of the retrieval queries are generated over the tool bar of the safari browser, 42% over the Google homepage and 9% over Google App. All other search engines were in a hardly perceptible range.1)

The central task of Mobile SEO is the improvement of the mobile ranking. Actually with the mobile search two important aspects have to be considered. Since the user is searching the Internet on a mobile device, the rendering of content should be optimized for these special characteristics. This is an important requirement for Mobile SEO. On the other hand many mobile searches are location specific, because the user is looking for information from the place, exactly where he is at the current moment.2)

With the generation of the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) on a mobile device the Google Places algorithm is very important. Therefore here the requirements for Local SEO, e.g. the optimization for a higher ranking in Google Places, play a crucial role. Thus Mobile SEO should always be considered in combination with Local SEO.3) In the future search engines will use geo locating and recognize via auto detection, where you are to offer appropriate search results.

Mobile search engines

Search engines are using different spiders and algorithms for crawling the mobile web. Google e.g. has launched Googlebot Mobile, which is particularly developed for smartphones and has different user agents for the most common mobile platforms like iPhone, Android and Symbian.4) The basic idea is to offer an optimized search result, which takes into account for the ranking, how well the corresponding page is displayed on the respective mobile platform.5)

Although it seems that mobile spiders play a significant role in the evaluation of mobile sites, this could not be proven in a practical test. When entering the search term “Hotel Berlin” in the Google Toolbar of a Safari browser on a desktop computer and on an iPhone 4 was exactly the same search result. For example, the website of Hotel Berlin, Berlin, was displayed on both devices at position 10, although a mobile page is available. However, it is recognizable, that for Google a prominent display of the local search results has great importance in both SERPs.

Important rules for mobile SEO

Even if the mobile search and the associated optimization techniques do not differ very much from the traditional desktop search, different rules are valid for the Mobile SEO.6) The following points should provide a brief overview of the most important Mobile SEO rules:

  1. keywords have to be shorter (one or two words), because the devices are not suitable, in order to write long texts.
  2. The key-phrases are usually aligned to local of content with high topicality degree. Most frequently the mobile users look for topics like sports results, news, weather conditions or market information.
  3. Since mobile displays are limited in size and users don‘t want to scroll a lot, the search results have to be placed at the top positions (first page shows only the top 4 positions).
  4. Mobile resources generate mobile traffic, i.e. the mobile website should be promoted in mobile search engines, mobile portals, and mobile directories.
  5. The website should offer a mobile spider-friendly code and follow the mobile standards defined in the W3C guidelines, e.g. the meta.txt (similar to the robots.txt in the desktop search and the meta-text) should be used for a description of the content.
  6. Web pages with excessive content and long text blocks should be stripped-down in an mobile version and subdivided into parts.
  7. Predictive search keywords are a welcome support for mobile text input. Appropriate predictive search phrases should be used.
  8. The use of Flash content or Flash navigation elements should be avoided, because Flash can't be displayed on all mobile devices (e.g. Apple mobile devices) and Flash for mobile devices is no longer supported by Adobe 7).
  9. The look and feel of the website should always be checked on the common mobile devices.8) 9)

Conclusion

Mobile SEO is still a very young discipline, but with the rapid growth and use of mobile services it will become more and more important and will continue to develop to a main topic in online marketing.10) Mobile SEO differs in principle not much from the regular SEO, because it is always the objective to achieve a better ranking in the organic search results.

A key task should be to provide a website with an auto detection for mobile user agents. This allows to offer the mobile users as well as the mobile spiders an optimized content for their needs. The main aspects are a very good content rendering and a quick loading process on any mobile device.11)

Resources & Download

Stefan Marshall 2012/05/06 13:12

1) “Chitika Insights Mobile.” Top Two IPhone Search Engines: Both Google. Chitika Insights, 18 Oct. 2010. Web. 06 May 2012. <http://insights.chitika.com/2010/top-two-iphone-search-engines-both-google/>.
2) , 9) Enge, Eric. The Art of SEO. March 2012: Second Edition ed. Farnham: O'Reilly, 2012. 433-438. Print.
3) , 11) Webb, Jenn. “How SEO Applies to Mobile.” - O'Reilly Answers. O’Reilly Media, Inc., 23 Mar. 2011. Web. 06 May 2012. <http://answers.oreilly.com/topic/2577-how-seo-applies-to-mobile/>.
4) Dragon, Alex. “Googlebot Mobile Für Smartphones.” Mobile SEO. Gjuce GmbH, 19 Dec. 2011. Web. 07 May 2012. <http://www.mobile-seo.de/>.
5) Krum, Cindy. “The New Mobile SEO: What You Need To Know.” Search Engine Land. Third Door Media, Inc., 15 Apr. 2012. Web. 07 May 2012. <http://searchengineland.com/the-new-mobile-seo-what-you-need-to-know-40101>.
6) Krum, Cindy. “Chapter 10: Mobile Search Engine Optimization.” Mobile Marketing: Finding Your Customers No Matter Where They Are. Indianapolis, IN: Que, 2010. Print.
7) “Flash to Focus on PC Browsing and Mobile Apps; Adobe to More Aggressively Contribute to HTML5” Adobe. Web. 09 November 2011. <http://blogs.adobe.com/conversations/2011/11/flash-focus.html>
8) , 10) “How to Optimize Your Website for Mobile Search.” Mobile search optimization article 35. Web. 06 May 2012. <http://www.webconfs.com/mobile-search-optimization-article-35.php>.
  • Bookmark "Best Practice: Mobile SEO" at del.icio.us
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  • Bookmark "Best Practice: Mobile SEO" at Google
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  • Bookmark "Best Practice: Mobile SEO" at StumbleUpon
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best_practices/mobile_seo.txt · Last modified: 2012/05/09 18:55 (external edit)