• Justin Avery

    An interesting article with some good points, however you don’t seem to have looked into every aspect of the problem.

    First off, I agree that ideally an adaptive approach is best for anyone with an online presence.  By adaptive I mean you have both mobile and responsive sites for the potential customer to access.

    Unfortunately sometimes maintaing multiple sites with multiple content is difficult.  I’ve worked for some very good CMS providers that allow content to be shared between the full and mobile dedicated sites, however it is still a reasonably large overhead for website owners to steer down only one path.

    Of course if you’re in the top 100 forbes companies then sure go for it, but for the smaller businesses it is sometimes just out of their reach.

    Having said that you’re article seems to focus largely on the use of mobile with search, however you don’t cover the context of the mobile search.  Were they on the bus, in the car, sitting on the couch, lying in bed, passing time on the toilet?  Each location offers a different context as to the type of content that the user is looking to get.

    It’s not enough to just direct mobile users to a cut down version of the site.  Doing this is punishing users for using mobile devices.

    As I mentioned above ideally you have two sites running, your full website and a cut down, fast loading, transaction focussed mobile site that contains the option to return to your full website (and remember the selection).  And what happens when they arrive on the full website?  That’s right, it responds to the best possible layout for the canvas that it is being viewed on.

    A question for you:

    At the end of the day is it better to have a site with great onsite SEO, or is it better to have a site that gets tonnes of linkbacks because it provides an awesome experience?

  • http://www.brysonmeunier.com/ Bryson Meunier

    Justin, thanks for your comments. Not sure how to answer your comment, as you ultimately come to the same conclusion that I have: that a hybrid approach with both a simple mobile site with content that’s specific to the searcher’s context and responsive duplicate pages is ideal. No doubt it can be cost prohibitive for smaller businesses, but optimization is not about being good enough, it’s about competing for mindshare. As an SEO consultant, my job is to help my clients compete in search results by delivering the most relevant and engaging content, and that is not simply a responsive desktop site. 

    Your question at the end is moot, really. Why not have both? A good SEO consultant works with you so that you don’t have to choose between the two. The solution that I’m suggesting– a hybrid approach rather than only formatting desktop content– is a solution that allows webmasters to have more engaging and relevant sites than if they were simply reformatting their desktop content. 

    As far as responding to context, a dedicated mobile site based on actual mobile search behavior is more likely to respond to user goals than speculation about where they are when they’re doing the search. For example, if someone searches for [mobile games], does it matter that they’re on the toilet when they do it? Would their context somehow make creating a page that contains mobile games the wrong strategy for a mobile site?

    I have to say, in general I’m perplexed that your comment has gotten three likes and your tone makes it seem as though you’re somehow disagreeing with me when you’re really making the same essential point: that both mobile content and responsive desktop content is best. If I’m missing something, please clarify, but as it is it seems we’re on the same page.

  • http://robertclarkmtfs.com/ Robert Clark

    Fantastic article! I’ve got quite a few seo clients that have been asking about going mobile and while I know it’s something they need, I honestly don’t know a lot about taking a traditional website mobile. Your article laid a nice foundation for me to start doing some more research.

  • Jerry Nordstrom

    Informative article Bryson, and I agree hybrid.
    I think we can simplify the model for those exploring this topic:

    Platform determines the visitors Location | Primary use | Website needed

    PC = Fixed location | Consumer Research | Full site
    Tablet = Fixed & Mobile Location | Research and Immediate needs | Full site optimized display.
    Phone = Mobile Location, Immediate needs | Mobile site with targeted feature set

    For existing customers mobile apps reduce the need for being found through search.
    For new prospects SEO certainly becomes a high priority.

    In general most mobile phone searches are immediate needs based, which suggests they are geographically hypersensative. Locked car = Locksmith, Hungry = Restaurant etc.

    In these cases high visibility in local directories, ratings and reviews sites are where we focus our optimization efforts; paid or organic.

  • Justin Avery

    Thanks for the detailed reply.

    I suppose I just didn’t think the article weighed up the benefits of RWD and the issues faced with Mobile specific sites, rather it concentrated on the reverse.
    Your right though, it’s the same conclusion that having both is ideal.