Use of the mobile web – accessing the internet using tablets and smartphones – has increased exponentially in the past few years, and this accelerated usage is likely to continue.
As a result, although mobile search engine optimisation (SEO) is still a relatively new concept, it’s increasingly important for businesses to master it.
Differences between mobile and traditional web use
To some extent, mobile SEO best practice is similar to that for conventional SEO – using keywords, metadata and incoming links to improve the way search engines rank your site.
It’s essential to recognise though that there are key differences between mobile web usage and usage of conventional websites, and how this impacts on site build and SEO:
- mobile devices have a much smaller user interface than a laptop or desktop computer – so the site design needs to be simpler and easier to read, while still attractive and inviting
- there is currently no standard interface for mobile devices, so the site build has to work on a wide range of platforms
- many users access the mobile web to find something location-specific (eg restaurants, retail outlets or cinemas), relative to where they are
- users searching for information on the move need key facts to be delivered quickly and without fuss – they don’t want to plough through mountains of information
- mobile search terms are typically short
Making the most of the mobile web
Given these characteristics, you can get maximum advantage from the mobile web by:
- making sure that the site design is tested on the widest range of formats
- making sure that the site is easy to navigate around on a smaller-sized screen
- testing the site on all mobile platforms to make sure it can be used effectively and that access speeds are optimised
- using Google tools and analytics to research typical mobile search terms, and using these to optimise mobile content
- providing only relevant information on a mobile site – long and detailed descriptions are wasted
- ensuring that location data (geotagging) is included
- reviewing mobile site performance regularly, and refining keywords and site design accordingly