By Carrie-ann | Jan 28, 2014 | SEO

Are You Forgetting About Mobile SEO?

The statistics are impressive. It’s estimated around 91% of the people on the planet have a mobile phone. 50% of those use their mobile as their primary way to access the internet. About 30% of the searches on Google are made using a mobile device.  Mobile search is big news.

If you’re one of the online business owners who think mobile will look after itself or believe you don’t need mobile search traffic, think again.  All you have to do is look at your analytics to see where your traffic is coming from. Do you notice an increase in traffic from tablets and mobile devices? Even if you don’t this may mean that your site is not optimised for mobile search and traffic is passing you by.

Society has changed and keeps changing, and is gravitating towards a mobile web experience. Even corporate business people will admit to running much of their online activities from a smartphone: On the hoof so to speak. No sector is exempt from this general change in how we access and use the internet.

It’s been well understood for some time mobile website rankings differ from the results found when using a laptop or PC for the same search. While returning rubbish results for a mobile query is still commonplace, more sites will wake up to mobile optimisation and Google will get better at finding them.

Google is certainly taking mobile search seriously. In mid-2013 it announced it would start demoting sites offering a poor searcher experience on smartphone searches.  It even gave examples of the kinds of configuration problems that could result in a demotion. These include the absence of a mobile landing page. In these examples a searcher is re-directed to the homepage. Another problem is having a smartphone landing page that is too slow. Even having links on your smartphone site to a desktop site or media could get you in trouble.

Hummingbird, Google’s new algorithm is very in tune with mobile search. A conversational type of search is, after all, more likely to happen on a mobile.  Hummingbird brought us semantic search and the need to be more creative in our treatment of keywords. This links well to mobile search, where it’s essential to build up a more diverse range of keywords. Of course (“Not provided”) and (“not set”) have made keyword tracking and discovery more laborious, but I have previously covered suggestions on how you can do this. Grouping similar keywords together is a good starting point which will help you determine what you’re getting found for. These terms can then be fed into PPC Campaigns .

Don’t forget either to use the full capability of your analytics package. In Google Analytics you can isolate a segment called “Mobile Traffic”. It’s easy to set up using the Segment Builder. Also compare the performance of your content across devices down to page level.  It’s also worth adding that testing mobile and desktop content on real people is a sensible way to beef up your statistics.
Summing up then, the look, feel and functionality have to be mobile friendly, without compromising your other efforts. You then have to get found by mobile browsers. Just as with desktop search split testing is vital. You can use PPC mobile ads to spot trends in phrases you can recycle for SEO.