Your Message on the Move: Getting Your Site to the Top of Mobile Search [Guest Post]October 12, 2012
About the Guest Blogger: Bob Bentz is president of Advanced Telecom Services with offices in Philadelphia, Toronto, London, and Prague. Bob helps companies make more sales through mobile marketing enhancements. He sent 3879 text messages last month, just slightly more than the average teenage girl.
Americans are on the go more than ever.
And, that means that they are searching for your products via the one medium that is always with them — their mobile phone.
In fact, according to Pew, 17% of all internet searches now come from the mobile phone and not the traditional desktop computer.
Do I Need a Mobile Website?
I always tell people to use the “thumb test” when considering whether they need a mobile website or not. If you can navigate your desktop website on your cell phone with your thumb only, then you will know what it’s like for a man with large fingers, or an older person with declining eye site, to navigate your site on a mobile phone.
In most cases you will find that a traditional desktop site simply doesn’t provide a good user experience for cell phone access. Mobile users are often on the go and not near a high speed internet connection so expect their load times to be slower. With 57% of visitors saying they will tune out if your site doesn’t load within 3 seconds, you need a lighter site that will load quickly.
Best URL’s for Mobile Search
The best way to optimize for a mobile website is to use the same URL on the mobile site as the desktop site. This way, you don’t have to do anything differently and you benefit from all of the optimizing that you’ve already done for the desktop site.
If you can’t go with the same domain, then it’s best to use the m.domain.com. This URL structure doesn’t provide any additional built-in SEO benefit, but it has become the industry standard as opposed to the original thinking that the .mobi suffix would become the mobile standard.
But, the best strategy is actually to use device detection to determine whether the user is coming in from a mobile device or not. Then, use canonicals so that your desktop site shows up in search results regardless of what device the consumer is using. When the visitor clicks on the desktop search result, the device detection will take them to either the mobile or desktop site depending on whether the user is on his cell phone or not.
Don’t Forget About Tablet Users
With over 75 million Americans owning tablets, this is clearly not a market that you can ignore. And, with the larger screen of a tablet, the customer may be on a wireless device, but want to use the greater content available from the desktop site. That’s why it’s important to always have a link back to the busier desktop site on the mobile site as well.
A Mobile Customer is Your Most Valuable Customer
Studies show that the mobile searcher is actually closer to making a buying decision than the desktop searcher. 85% of restaurant searchers, for example, convert to making a purchase. Hence, the mobile searcher is more likely to be a buyer now while the desktop searcher is more likely to be gathering information.
That makes mobile searcher the perfect storm of just the right searcher at just the right time.