Mobile Search Optimization
As phones grow smarter, more people than ever before are accessing the web mobilely. Early statistics from 2009 infer that two-thirds of mobile web search was queried by iPhone users. Now, with the advent of the Google Android phone, mobile web surfing will become more commonplace than it already is. Some folks will argue that you need a completely separate mobile version of a website, while others insist that it is a matter of optimizing an existing site for mobile access. Either way, there are steps that need to be taken for any site that wants to rank well in mobile search. If you want to learn how to optimize your web site or content for mobile search, read on for the blueprints for mobile search optimization.
The very first step you should take is to ensure your site is mobile compliant. This means that your web pages are formatted mobile-friendly. Web pages for mobile browsing are created in XHTML or WML. They must be W3C compliant. W3C stands for “World Wide Web Consortium” and establishes guidelines for how web pages are structured. They also publish best practices for web masters. There is also a W3C Code Validator that you can use to ensure that your site properly and consistently loads on all the major browsers.
Mobile searchers are short on screen space and, in most cases, time. Web pages should be designed to meet these realities. Not sure what your site looks like to a mobile browser? Do your own mobile search and see for yourself. You may notice that there are qualities to your site that are unavailable or very inconveniently unnoticeable. This could make some of your next moves quite clear.
• ALWAYS put your most important information at the top of your site’s homepage.
• Your site needs to be easily navigable on a mobile platform.
• Font sizes need to be readable on a phone.
• Your site should look attractive on a mobile phone screen.
If you can’t check all of these off your list, then you need to make some changes pronto. Some industries are experiencing incredible growth through mobile searches, such as business, entertainment, and travel. These mobile searchers are young people with disposable income, looking for ways to increase their early success.
Before you begin your mobile search optimization, there are a few things you should know first. Mobile searchers tend to use the same browser they use in regular search. Currently, out of the 234 million cell phone users in the U.S., only 10 percent of mobile subscribers are using mobile search (which is still 23 million people). Adoption rates of mobile search are currently higher in Europe. And, mobile searchers tend to be goal-oriented with their searches, they don’t usually search or browse for the fun of it.
Here are a few general tips that mobile optimizers use for their sites:
• Keep content brief
• Use short, concise titles
• Keep the mobile site simple
• Track your mobile stats at http://www.mmetrics.com/
Whether you are search engine optimizing your site for mobile, or creating an entirely new site for mobile, this blueprint is a great start. Check back with us on Wednesday for a discussion how to optimize for either approaches.