Mobile Website SEO

 

Mobile internet usage has steadily increased through the years.  As of November 2012, 13{f57cecc76329659856f00bd01f529e319bb36b58f42dc9ec00a8ea65b2ecec80} of online traffic comes from mobile devices– up from virtually 0{f57cecc76329659856f00bd01f529e319bb36b58f42dc9ec00a8ea65b2ecec80} in 2008. This year and onwards, mobile traffic is set to skyrocket as cellular phones and data plans get cheaper and mobile technology gets sharper. At the end of this year (2013), mobile traffic is forecasted to comprise 20{f57cecc76329659856f00bd01f529e319bb36b58f42dc9ec00a8ea65b2ecec80} of all traffic—which means 1 out of 5 visits will come from mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. So mobile website SEO is no longer a luxury — it is a necessity!

 

If there’s one lesson to be learned it is that you should invest in a mobile website with local SEO in mind or else be left behind. This is critically important with the upcoming Christmas season when online shopping almost always becomes the norm. But you might say, “I have a brick-and-mortar store. I have a site but I don’t sell products online.” Well, get this: During the Christmas season in 2012, 70{f57cecc76329659856f00bd01f529e319bb36b58f42dc9ec00a8ea65b2ecec80} of shoppers “window-shopped” using their smartphones and 62{f57cecc76329659856f00bd01f529e319bb36b58f42dc9ec00a8ea65b2ecec80} of them looked at local businesses’ websites.

How do you make your site optimized for mobile?

Should you make your existing site mobile responsive or should you build a separate mobile site for optimum mobile website SEO? Creating a mobile-friendly site can be achieved using any of three approaches. Each of the three gives a different kind of user experience as outlined below.

Mobile-responsive Site

Mobile Website SEO

Retail store responsive website with no phone or map button. Does that help bring interested shoppers into this store?

A mobile-responsive site is one where the HTML, URL and images are still the same but the CSS gives different rules subject to the browser width. The biggest issue with sites like this is that almost none of them have a call, email, or map/directions button. Every single site MUST at a minimum have a call button. But if your business has people coming to your location, then a map button is equally important. So even if your regular website reformats itself so it fits properly on a mobile device, without the buttons, it’s basically useless.

One of the great advantages of a responsive design is that it usually carries over the regular website SEO with it. So if you consider it to be rather weak or needing tweaking then your mobile version will need it also.

Separate Mobile Site

A separate mobile site is usually hosted on a subdomain or a subfolder. If it is hosted as a subdomain it assumes the URL format of xxxx.domain.com. If it is hosted on a subfolder, it would be www.domain.com/mobile.

How does a website know to switch to a mobile version of the site?

There is a code inserted on the home page that can read the type of device/browser that is being used to access your website. When it sees that it is a mobile device it automatically kicks the person over to the mobile version of the website.

Mobile App

A mobile app is an application that the user can download to his mobile device. Once downloaded, the app serves as your mobile presence or representative, functioning just like your website. However, mobile apps are not crawled or indexed by search engines and is thus considered just a supplemental web presence rather than a stand-alone strategy, and for most local based small businesses apps are not the way to go.

If I don’t have a website how can I have a mobile one?

The best thing to do would be to find a content management system (CMS) which provides a user-friendly mobile experience. WordPress is one prime example as several themes provide mobile-responsive design, but almost every single one of them DO NOT provide the phone and map buttons automatically. Some recoding of the responsive version will need to be done.

The other option would be to have a mobile friendly design that also will present itself well on a PC. Mobile and PC versions look exactly the same. The layout, colors, words, SEO are all the same. The only difference is that the graphics will be larger on the PC.

What can I do if my website is not mobile friendly?

If you don’t want to change your website to a WordPress platform or any other CMS platform then you will have to design a mobile version of your site or have a firm like Digital+ design a mobile website for you. Where Digital+ differs from many design firms is that we design it with Local SEO in mind.

Why is having a mobile website local SEO optimized important?

The rules for mobile website SEO are still being developed along with mobile technology. Google is now giving different search results for the same search term based on what device the search is being performed. If you think about it, Google is all about giving the searcher the most relevant information. If you are on a mobile device, which type of site would be most relevant to you? A regular website pinched and shrunken so that it fits the tiny screen or a site that can be navigated, read & interacted with just using one thumb?

mobile internet usage statsWe won’t go into all the stats about how mobile is growing, but keep this one stat in mind. 57{f57cecc76329659856f00bd01f529e319bb36b58f42dc9ec00a8ea65b2ecec80} of people will NOT recommend a website that gives a bad mobile experience. That is equivalent to closing down your website and business 1 day a week!

So don’t hesitate anymore. If you don’t have a mobile friendly website — get one — NOW!

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