Written by: Drew Lyon Austin, Texas
By 2011 more than half of the US population will be using smartphones. Smartphones are Internet-enabled mobile devices that allow users to browse websites, perform searches, check email and access just about anything they could on a standard Internet connection. Hardware improvements such as larger screens, more responsive touch technology and longer battery life have made the mobile Internet experience highly usable and appealing to smartphone users. Website owners need to adapt for mobile browsing AND mobile search.
Find out the 5 questions to ask yourself about mobile website optimization…
1 – What are you doing to optimize your website for mobile browsing?
When you access a website on a mobile device one of two things will happen. You’ll get a scaled down version of the full site that’s difficult to browse without constant zooming and un-zooming OR you will get a mobile version of the website designed specifically for viewing on mobile devices. The mobile version typically simplifies the browsing experience by organizing information into a single column layout and improving navigation. Here is an example of each:
Which one are you more likely to use?
2 – What are you doing to optimize your website for mobile search?
More mobile web browsing equals a large increase in mobile searches. Furthermore, studies have shown that 40% of mobile searches are directed towards local information. People use their smartphones to find the nearest sushi restaurant or figure out where to get the best hair cut, for example. For this reason alone, it’s critical for local businesses to improve visibility in the mobile search space. But mobile search optimization goes beyond just ranking your website in search engines.
For the most part, traditional SEO will also increase keyword rankings on the mobile version of Google, Bing and Yahoo. However, optimization for mobile search takes into consideration all of the ways people access information on mobile devices. To optimize your website for mobile search you need to improve visibility in local directories, social recommendation engines and on mobile applications. Preparing a mobile search optimization campaign involves researching mobile search platforms relevant to your business and promoting your website across each.
3 – Do people search differently on a mobile device?
Yes, research has shown that people do display different search habits on mobile devices. Keyword searches are usually limited to fewer words and search result pages are consolidated into a single column layout. Because of reduced screen size only the first couple results are visible without scrolling–making top placement even more important in mobile search engine results.
4 – If I were a mobile Internet user, how would I find your website?
Since you probably have a smartphone yourself, here’s a quick test you can do…
Use your phone to search for your website through several different paths (search engines, local directories, applications)…
Were you able to easily find the website?
Visit your website on a mobile device and ask yourself these questions…
Is the text legible? Can you quickly navigate to new pages and sections? Are you able to immediately perform the desired action (contact, buy or access specific information)?
If the answer to any of the above questions was NO, then you could benefit from mobile optimization.
5 – As a Search Marketing Company, what is our stance on mobile optimization?
Our search engine optimization campaigns include optimization for mobile search. Clients not only see increases in traffic from traditional search but also an increase in visits from mobile devices. Google analytics allows you to easily segment and track website traffic from mobile operating systems.
As an additional service, we will develop a custom version of your website that is easy to browse and navigate on mobile platforms. This mobile version will automatically be displayed when people access your website from any mobile device. If you want to promote a specific product or solution, we will develop a custom application with it’s own unique feature set. Custom application development is available for iOS devices (iPhones) and Android devices.
Mobile search and mobile web browsing represent the two biggest areas of growth in Internet usage. Make sure your website is optimized and ready as mobile browsing and searching continues to become more prevalent.