2009 was supposed to be the year of the mobile. We were going to see everyone switching to mobile sites and leaving their regular ‘ole sites behind (bit of an exaggeration, maybe). But marketers were wrong, and they’re buzzing about 2011 being THE year that mobile will change unlike we’ve ever seen before.
Remember a few blog posts ago, I had mentioned that the current US population is 311 million? Based on the information in the Nielson Media Universe Chart, that means 73% of us use mobile phones (that’s a lot of talking), and, 36% of us use the Internet from our phones.
It wouldn’t be fair to compare the number of mobile users that use the web on their phones to the past, because technology has changed so much over the past 10 years, including the introduction of the iPhone, Blackberry, Droid and other Smartphone’s. But, we do know that the total number of US mobile users in 2000 was 97 million… that’s an increase of 135% over the past 10 years!
Are you starting to see the need for your company to take advantage of mobile marketing and a mobile website? Before you jump in, these are 20 things I think you should know about mobile SEO…
- Avoid duplicate content by redirecting useragents to the correct site (mobile v. traditional) by creating a handheld.css and iPhone.css stylesheet
- iPhone users report seeing the same results that they’d see on their home computers
- Other Smartphone users report seeing different search results than normal search shows
- Click-through rate and bounce rate tend to be a major factor for ranking mobile sites – especially for local searches such as “best restaurant” and “coupons”
- The typical Smartphone only shows the first 3 search engine results; being #1 has never been so important
- Think of all the different mobile phones, your site needs to load fast on everyone of them
- Make sure the mobile site is easy to read and understand – give quick options to navigate your site
- Take advantage of Google Mobile Keyword Tool
- Traditional SEO issues are still very important – meta data, heading tags and alt tags (but keep it short)
- Simplicity is key – keep content short and brief, hide advertisements & get rid of excessive call-to-actions
- Avoid images as much as possible – they load slow and take up a lot of screen space
- Content should include the word “mobile”
- Call-to-actions can be as easy as a phone number and physical address
- Most phones will allow the user to call by simply pushing the phone number on your site, or locate your business in Google Maps by simply pushing the address
- Mobile is very personalized and geo-targeted – make sure Google Local and Bing Local are updated
- Submit a mobile sitemap to Google Webmaster and Bing Webmaster
- Update robots.txt
- Link between the normal site and mobile site – this will help search engines and users to switch between the normal site and mobile site easily
- Sign up for rating and review sites like Yelp and City Search
- Encourage reviews on the above mentioned sites and Google/Bing Local
If this list is intimidating to you or a bit overwhelming, it’s okay, just bookmark it and share it with your webmaster or ask the Bridgeline Digital Strategy Group for help. And remember, just like traditional SEO, mobile SEO is going to change on a monthly (if not daily) basis. What the norm is today may not be tomorrow. If you are reading this post a year from now, you may want to make sure that the same bits of advice listed here still apply. Who knows, all this SEO fun could be based on facial recognition in the near future… your phone really can see you!
The image above is only part of the Neilson Media Chart. To view the entire chart, please visit the image on the Nielson site.