Sunday, April 14, 2013

Best Practices for Mobile SEO

This day mobile is the way to go. With the increasing demand for smartphones and tablets, businesses are finding it necessary to offer mobile versions of their web pages and applications to increase audience reach and promote their brands effectively.

And by all means, they should. Studies show that over 30 percent of total search engine searches are generated through mobile devices. More so, around 85 percent of the world’s population are using mobile devices to access the Internet, primarily for entertainment.

But to ensure full user engagement, businesses must also employ effective mobile SEO practices. These may be as simple as knowing search differences between desktop and mobile users, or as complex as understanding how to set a website for optimum mobile viewing.

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Through their hand-on experience with previous clients, our SEO specialists have discovered these best practices for mobile SEO:

•    Focus on short-tail queries.

One of the primary differences between desktop and mobile users is that the latter opt for shorter phrases, often targeted towards local searches. Take advantage of this by optimizing meta descriptions to suit short tail queries.

•    Think social, then mobile.
Majority of mobile users use mobile Internet for entertainment and amusement, a way to pass time. When creating applications or content for mobile use, keep this bit of information in mind. Develop mobile versions that are entertaining as they are appealing. Your website must also have embedded mobile tools for social media sharing. This increases site traffic, brand exposure and user engagement.

•    Optimize for both user and SEO
Optimize your website for mobile use in that both users and search engines can easily find the same version. Avoid strategies that can get your website penalized or flagged.

•    Streamline
Consider touchscreen features of mobile devices when developing webpages. Ensure that mobile users can focus and easily navigate through the site, particularly through important pages. Vertical menus are recommended as they are easier to use when it comes to link navigation.

•    Avoid scaling to fit

Don’t develop pages such that your website’s mobile version becomes a mini of the desktop version, scaled to fit a smaller screen. Webpages should be specifically developed to scale for mobile searches. Better if servers are created in that your site’s mobile version is placed under a sub-domain that directs to your primary domain. There must be a clearly stated link that leads users to the primary desktop site so as not to limit access to the full site, allowing for optimum user experience.

•    Install direct call for customers.
Not only should your page indicate your business contact numbers, it should also have a direct click-to-call tool per page.

•    Include quick-loading rich content

Content like photos and videos make reading through a website more pleasurable. This may however be, slow to load on mobile OS. To ensure faster loading times and proper functioning on mobile device, reduce the file sizes as appropriate.

•    Consider relevance versus application installation
For many companies, mobile applications serve as a great business and resource tool. However, for some, they may simply be irrelevant to users. Determine the reasons why your audience visits your mobile webpages. Then you can decide whether to push through with applications or not.

•    Get mobile versions in line with search engine versions.

Your website’s mobile version for users should lead to the same version that search engine crawlers are directed to. Duplicate content could hurt your rankings and could result to penalties.