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The Mobile SEO Party is Ending
… and moving to a bigger house.
Since over a quarter of the world’s mobile phones are now smartphones and mobile Internet use is set to overtake desktop use in the next 4 years, it’s even more important to have a mobile strategy or mobile offering.
In recent times, Google has started to open up about how they crawl, index and use mobile sites. One example of this that there is no longer a need to have a mobile site on a sub-domain or in a folder, you simply need to have mobile friendly pages with the same URL. This was mentioned by John Mueller in a recent Google Buzz Q&A:
John Mueller – @Paul If you have “smartphone” content (which we see as normal web-content, as it’s generally a normal HTML page, just tweaked in layout for smaller displays) you can use the rel=canonical to point to your desktop version. This helps us to focus on the desktop version for web-search.
When users visit that desktop version with a smartphone, you can redirect them to the mobile version. This works regardless of the URL structure, so you don’t need to use subdomains / subdirectories for smartphone-mobile sites. Even better however is to use the same URLs and to show the appropriate version of the content without a redirect.
Has This Put An End To Mobile SEO?
I’d say no, it’s just opened a better way to target your customers and offer them what they’re looking for.
In the UK, nearly half of mobile phones are now smartphones and the number is growing fast and the browsing capabilities are nearly that of a desktop machine. So generally speaking, your current SEO strategy together with a site that works on a smaller screen and is lighter for 3G networks will fit the bill.
This market is now ripe for a mobile SEO strategy using social engagement as its basis as over 90% of mobile use is used to socialise.
But let’s look at the other end of the spectrum, there will always be people who have no interest in smartphones and are happy with their more basic WAP enabled phones. If you offer any services or products that appeal to this demographic, then you have to consider this in your mobile SEO strategy.
Since the desktop Googlebot will crawl and index pages targeted at smartphones and the mobile bot will crawl pages built for WAP devices, there is a place to create or change mobile alternative pages to target these users.
It is now recommended that your URL structure remains the same and you offer different versions of each page to cater for differing device capabilities, site relevancy and power will be applied to your mobile pages.
Once you have created your targeted WAP pages, your pages should then apply the usual SEO practices them, both on page and off page. If you consider part of your user base in the category of WAP phone users then this is simple piece of targeting.
Another way in which you should apply this strategy is in international SEO; as previously mentioned, nearly half of UK phones are smartphones, but this is not the case in all territories.
If you offer services to countries where smartphones aren’t as common or countries with a high population where there is a broader mix of devices, then you must consider offering targeted content that is applicable to the user and their device.
One main reason for this is that the idea of searching on your phone is outgrowing the means to search on your phone.
In other words, people around the world know you can use a phone for search, but might not have the full capability to get the information. As it is, many in the UK take for granted with smartphones and the ever increasing speed of mobile data transfer.
To sum things up:
- Use your current SEO campaign to feed power into your mobile offering.
- Created target pages or versions of to fit your demographic.
- Create a micro-SEO campaign to promote the tailored pages for you demographics searches.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.