Mobile SEO Tips For Everyone – Filmed on an iPad 2 – Whiteboard Friday
Posted by Aaron Wheeler
We all use our cell phones (and those of us lucky enough, tablets) to figure out where we are and what’s around us while we’re on the go. While GPS is a godsend, location isn’t the only thing you need to find when you’re out. Facebook, Google, the SEO Blog… (I know a lot of you are watching this on a train, plane, or… well, I hope you’re not watching this in your automobile!) – whatever you look for at home, you’re likely looking for it while you’re away from your desktop as well.
Fortunately, most of the bigger sites out there have mobile versions of their pages so we don’t have to pinch and squint to be be able to read anything. However, most organizations aren’t willing or able to dedicate the time and resources towards maintaining multiple mobile versions of their site. How are you ever going to be able to optimize your mobile web presence when you don’t have one?! Fret not! On this week’s Whiteboard Friday, Cyrus from SEOmoz’s very own SEO team gives some pointers on how to keep sites optimized for cell phones and tablets without breaking the bank or the brain. You’ll find that we used an extremely relevant device to bring you today’s WBF, so check it out! Also, read over the transcript for links and let us know any secrets you’ve discovered in the comments below.
Hi, SEOmoz fans. My name’s Cyrus. I am on the SEO team here at SEOmoz. Today we’re going to be talking about SEO for mobile devices. Mobile devices are becoming huge obviously. It really hit home this year when I realized that 60% of the staff here has an iPad. That’s amazing. Just in the last few months the amount of usage and the amount of searching we’re doing using mobile devices has grown incredibly. We’re using iPads so much that today we thought we’d try something special and actually film the Whiteboard Friday on an iPad. So it’s kind of something new for us. Hopefully, you can search for the Whiteboard Friday on your iPad, watch it on your iPad, and it is recorded on your iPad.
1. Why Mobile SEO is Hard
One of the challenges of doing mobile SEO is it’s really hard. Mobile applications are great.
You know, things like Rotten Tomatoes, Urban Table (Urban Spoon + Open Table) they
have great apps. But for most people, 80% to 90% of us, doing these mobile sites are really
hard because what you end up with is three different sites really that you’re trying to optimize
for. You have your regular website, you have a mobile optimized version of your website,
and then you have an app. That’s really hard to maintain. It’s expensive. It’s time consuming.
It uses a lot of engineering resources. It is hard to maintain just one website, let alone three
different versions of your website. If you do it wrong, sometimes you end up with duplicate
content issues, which causes a lot of problems.
For most people, it is just too much, especially the people who are going to benefit most from
mobile SEO. These are the local people, the mom and pop restaurants, the mechanic. They
don’t really have a lot of budget. If your clients fit in this demographic, it’s really hard to
justify spending money on all these different mobile versions of your site. But just because
we can’t do different mobile versions – do what the big boys do – that doesn’t mean that we
can’t optimize for mobile and take some really actionable steps to improve our mobile SEO
experience. What we’re going to do is we’re going to take advantage of the low-hanging fruit,
the opportunities that already exist.
2. Take Advantage of Your Own Data
The most important thing, the first thing that you want to do is mine your own data. Take
advantage of the statistics you already have. Can you tell me right now, on your major
website, what percentage of your visitors this month came from mobile devices? Most SEOs
don’t know that, but that’s something you should be checking every single month. Now what
we do here at SEOmoz is, very simply, we create a Google Analytics advanced segment, and
it is just one setting in the advanced segments. You just click mobile equals yes. You call that
profile mobile. You check it once a month. You’re going to get incredible information about
what your mobile visitors are doing.
What you’ll find is that it is a lot different than what your desktop users are doing. The
keywords are going to be different. The bounce rate is going to be different. Landing pages
are going to be different. You really get some good information into the behavior of your
mobile users. One of the most important things to check for within that profile is the different
devices that are visiting your site. You can see if one device has a particularly high bounce
rate or their time on site is really small, then that’s the device that you can look at. Here at
SEOmoz, we found that we do really poorly on BlackBerries. Not sure exactly why, if the
site is not rendering right or if BlackBerry users just aren’t our demographic. But that is
something that we can look into and focus just on that.
We can also focus on just the landing pages that the mobile visitors are using. Instead of
spending all of our resources doing an entire site, we can focus on just those pages that our
mobile visitors are using. It is incredibly more effective and it improves the experience for
your desktop user and your mobile users as well. So, that’s that. You can use emulators to test
those pages out and make sure they are really working for everyone.
3. Act Global, Think Local
Now, the next point, when you think mobile, it is so important to think local. Google released
a study that showed that 95% of mobile searchers search local info. So a lot of those
searches have local intent. Again, talking about those restaurants, local shopping experiences,
garages. What does that mean if they are searching for local intent? The pages that they
are looking for are contact information, phone numbers, directions to your place. These are
the areas that you want to make sure work really well on mobile devices. Personally, it is
very frustrating looking for a restaurant here in Seattle and you go to their contact page and
you can’t find their address, it’s really small, or that page just doesn’t work well on a mobile
device. If you make sure those pages work well, you’re really doing yourself a favor.
Secondly, if you can’t afford these mobile apps, because mobile apps are great, right? They
integrate GPS, location awareness. They can dial a number for you if they are integrated.
But if you can’t afford that, there is no harm in taking advantage of third party applications.
Instead of listing your address on your Contact Us page, link to a Google Map because
Google does a very good job of giving directions, dialing phone numbers, and having your
contact information there. If you are a restaurant, use applications like OpenTable that can
make the reservation for you. Instead of spending the money yourself on these applications,
take advantage of the third party apps. Generally, we don’t like sending traffic off your site,
but in this case if it is really going to help your business out, it is a good idea to invest.
When we’re thinking local, we need to think about Google Places because they are almost
one and the same. Those local searches are going to be much more focused on Google Maps
coming up. So, if you’re optimized for the Google Maps, if you have your good business
profile information there, you have a lot of reviews, and you’re doing a good job here, you’re
going to do a good job getting those mobile visits. Along with that, you want to make sure
your other local SEO is up to date. Getting included in review sites like Yelp, OpenTable,
Angie’s List, those are all going to help those local references.
4. Go Social
So even if you’re not local, one thing that everybody can keep in mind, and as an addition
to thinking local, think social. Can you guess what the number one search phrase is
on mobile devices? Facebook. I think Facebook is also the number one searched term
on desktop devices, but on mobile, it blows it away. People are using Facebook, Twitter,
LinkedIn. Their social applications are huge on mobile devices.
As a side note, I have also read that something like 90% to 95% of people when they are
using their mobile phones use them in the restroom. That was very surprising to me. I am not
a bathroom mobile device person. I guess they’re replacing magazines. But getting away from
the point there.
The point is, if your content, if your website content is being shared on these social sites,
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, all the other social sites, you are much more likely to get
those referral visits. So if you are doing a good job in terms of social, you’re going to get
those referral visits, and we see from our own analytics here at SEOmoz, we get a huge
amount of referrals from Twitter and Facebook, and those visits predominantly go to our
blog. They have a much different profile of content that they’re visiting than users using
desktops. So we want to make sure they are having a good experience.
In addition to that, you want to make sure your content is easy to share, because when those
people are coming from these social sites on their mobile devices, they are much more likely
to share the content again back to these social sites. So make sure you have your Facebook
buttons, your Twitter buttons, your LinkedIn, whatever social sites that you want to use.
Taking care of these low-hanging fruits, these are something that you can just spend a few
hours a month on instead of building out these huge apps, and you’re going to get a lot of
wins out of it. That’s it. Thank you very much.
Video transcription by SpeechPad.com
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