Using The Mobile Ratio To Measure Mobile SEO Success

Anyone involved in online marketing has an innate sense that mobile is a big deal. We’re never more than an arm’s length from our phones, and we have a curious tendency to do everything on them.

I once sat in front of a dark, Netflix-enabled flat-screen, watching Netflix on my iPhone. It was just easier, and I had it on, and I could switch back and forth with Facebook, and… ok, maybe I have a problem!

In any event, our personal fascination with mobile phones shouldn’t dictate our work decisions. And one question that needs deciding more and more these days is around mobile search: is there a mobile audience for this particular client? And how do we measure the success of our efforts to get a mobile website in front of mobile searchers?

Of course, our past experience with desktop search gives us a great starting point. Search volumes, traffic, and even rankings are useful metrics, both here and there. But mobile SEO brings some special considerations, not least of which is credibility: we need to prove that mobile SEO provides value.

To that end, I’ve been working on a set of metrics to help me get some perspectives on these questions. These aren’t replacements for visitor counts or conversions – rather, think of them as supplements to help us compare the new and somewhat unfamiliar mobile SEO data to our tried-and-true desktop data.

Today we’ll look at one of the most useful, particularly in the early stages of a campaign.

The Mobile Ratio

One of the challenges in getting started with mobile search is proving the value of your efforts: is anyone using a phone to search for this client’s products or services?

To answer that with a simple, understandable metric, I’ve added a Mobile Ratio to the keyword research process. Basically, I’ll start by taking a desktop keyword list, and running the numbers to add mobile figures alongside. I’ll also expand the list if I find any mobile-specific keywords that seem interesting.

Then I’ll take the desktop and mobile volumes, and divide one into the other to compute the Mobile Ratio. For example, if I have a Mobile Ratio of 10, then I can tell the client that for every ten desktop searchers, we have the opportunity to reach one mobile searcher.

Straightforward statements like that allow a client to get their bearings, and start to form a mental model of what mobile means to them. Maybe they’d really like to add another one-tenth to their reach. Or maybe they have easier ways of getting access to those extra eyeballs. Either way, they now have some useful infomation on which to base a decision.

Getting Granular

Doing this at both the keyword and aggregate level allows you to compare and contrast mobile activity for different keywords. So if my aggregate Mobile Ratio is 10, but I have a group of keywords that have ratios in the 5-6 range, then I know these keywords are mobile-heavy: they are more likely to be of interest to mobile users.

This is key info for site-planning and budgeting activities, as it can provide a business justfication for heavying-up on landing pages that address those keywords. Likely examples of keywords that are mobile-heavy could include coupon keywords, or keywords that include a location name.

Mobile Ratio for mobile SEO keywords

The Mobile Ratio lets you identify keywords that are mobile-heavy. Here, "pocket knife" searches are strong, while branded searches ("Victorinox") are relatively light. Good inputs for planning a mobile content strategy. (Not one of my clients, by the way.)

Driving Strategy

In the end, the Mobile Ratio doesn’t create another data point. Instead, it offers a more intuitive way of looking at the data you already have, turning it into a KPI that you can use to make decisions about your mobile marketing plans.

In upcoming articles, we’ll take a look at some other useful metrics for managing mobile SEO.

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

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | How To: Mobile Marketing | Mobile Search | Search Engines: Mobile Search Engines | Search Marketing: Mobile | SEO: Mobile Search


About The Author: runs Skypromote, an SEO agency in Boston and NYC, and has been doing search since 1998. You can follow him on Twitter @SherwoodSEO.

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