It’s Time To Optimize Your Links For Mobile

In case you haven’t noticed, some sites look fairly horrific on mobile devices. Everything is all jumbled up and that link you really want to click is almost impossible to get to. If you’re the link builder who begged and begged (and maybe even paid) to get that link, you’ve now lost a potential mobile conversion.

Maybe the user will try again on a non-mobile device; maybe not though.

You can optimize your current site for mobile or you can build a separate mobile site, as I imagine you all know. That’s not news. The argument over which of these is the better choice is not anything that concerns me with this post, as I’m simply interested in making sure links work on mobile devices. I’m also not concerned about your local SEO efforts, as I’m assuming that you’re easily found in local search. Ahem.

This is basic stuff in my opinion, but it is something that isn’t always focused on, and that tends to be the case with a lot of basic bits, right?

All you have to do is make sure the site you’re getting a link from (as well as your own internal links) are optimized, even to just the bare minimum, for mobile use. Just a quick look is all it takes, but we don’t always think to do it.

This is going to be a more important way to gain traffic and conversions in the near future, so you might as well get used to this, in much the same way as you used to view your website in Firefox and IE before rolling out changes. Remember, over a million iPads were sold in a 28 day period. That is just one popular mobile device (excluding phones). That’s a lot of conversions left on the table.

If you keep check on your new organic inbound links (and of course you do) then view the new sources of traffic on a mobile device and, if your link doesn’t look so hot, contact the webmaster and mention this. Most people are happy to have problems identified. I say that in a very naive and hopeful way of course, and only after first making my poor staff view our site on every mobile device possible.

Mobile & Local Meet Links

Mobile optimization is particularly important for local search marketing. Let’s say that you’re driving through a halfway point en route to Orlando from North Carolina. You have 2 fussy children trying to kill each other and you’re frantically searching for a good kid-friendly restaurant near the highway.

You find a listing, click on it, try to get to the menu, and it’s all jumbled up so that the internal link is unclickable. Do you take the chance and go anyway? I’m a vegetarian so without knowing what the restaurant had to offer me, I would opt out of trying it. No one (who is sane) wants to eat just hush puppies and slaw for lunch.

Here’s another example: my husband and I have a house that we rent out to a nice group of scruffy punk rock boys. Recently, the furnace died and Jay had to quickly locate a local shop that sold the part he needed, as it was seriously getting cold. While he did try local search to locate the part, he was unsuccessful and had to call around to several shops in order to find what he needed. This process took ages.

What if some of the local shops had nice sites online with clickable links for parts searches? What if they had an online area for clicking to ask a question that could be answered by someone in a live chat almost immediately? Time saved and customer gained, because we like to use those pricey mobiles.

This isn’t earth-shattering news but from my experience, we tend to overlook some very basic things when we’re frantically building links. I’ll personally admit to not checking our links on a mobile device until recently and luckily, I haven’t found too many issues yet. Actually, so far my main problem has been with shopping sites so here’s hoping that changes in the future.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Link Building | Link Building: General | Link Week Column


About The Author: owns the link development firm Link Fish Media and is one of the founding members of the SEO Chicks blog.

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  • Winooski

    Julie, great advice, but I have to take a little exception to this:

    “Remember, over a million iPads were sold in a 28 day period. That is just one popular mobile device (excluding phones). That’s a lot of conversions left on the table.”

    The iPad may be a mobile device, but I don’t think it’s accurate to consider it in the context of this article along with portable computers such as smart phones. Although it has iPhone’s OS, the iPad has a screen size much closer to a laptop, so as long as a site looks OK on Safari (and there are more browsers coming, e.g., Opera), it should be good-to-go for iPad. However, you can’t say the same for smart phones, which are restricted by tinier screens.

    Here’s a year-old post from Mobiletech’s John Arne Sæterås considering the arguments for and against lumping iPad in with its diminutive brethren:

  • Julie Joyce

    Winooski…excellent point but I had my shopping nightmare experience on the ipad, which is why I lumped it in. However, you are correct that this is much more of a problem for the smaller screens, so thanks for saying that.


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