Mobile SEO is a difficult undertaking for a lot of companies, regardless of their prowess with the rest of their online presence. The challenge is that it tends to be different enough that you have to develop a separate strategy, but the core of what you are trying to accomplish is generally the same. Search engine optimization on any platform should always be about providing a great user experience, a clean site design and real value to your user.
Google offers best practices guidelines for mobile as a section of their long standing Webmaster Guidelines. They offer up three major options for building a mobile friendly site.
1. Allow mobile users to access the current site ensuring the content and code is accessible and displays suitably on mobile devices
2. Use the same site and content but serving altered HTML and CSS when mobile devices are detected
3. Finally offer up alternative URLs, a subdomain or a separate domain for mobile
These are all fairly easy to implement but there are a few problems to look out for. If you intend to use your current site you may need to make some serious changes to your design to ensure that it displays correctly on a mobile device. A lot of content may need to be condensed to allow for the smaller resolution screens.
If you go the route of using responsive HTML and CSS you have to be sure to add a Vary HTTP header. This will signal to Google that a mobile variation of the page is available, so that the pages can be properly crawled and indexed.
If you’re using a separate domain, whether it’s a new URL or sub-domain, you will need to make sure to submit a mobile site map. This mobile site map needs to have proper canonical tags to ensure that there are no duplication issues. You also need to be sure to add rel=”alternate” tag on the desktop URLs, This is very similar to the HTTP header and signals to Google that there is a mobile version of the page.
Key differences in Mobile SEO strategy can make all the difference in your rankings here’s a short list of things you should be paying attention to.
- First of all search engine algorithms for mobile are much more likely to display local results. This means you should develop your local SEO techniques much further for your mobile site. Location of your business is extremely important to local search results so the first thing you should do is make sure you have the proper location meta tags.
- Mobile search terms are also on average shorter and more concise. Since this makes users intentions more ambiguous, and shorter terms will be much more competitive to rank for. You will need to do some more in-depth research on what terms you want to rank for so that you don’t waste your time trying to rank for very competitive terms that may not bring you the traffic you’re looking for.
- Autocomplete will display different results while the user is still entering their term which may steer users away from certain terms you are trying to rank for.
- Knowledge graph results are displayed with mobile search results, which may have a significant effect on your CTR.
Looking for more help with your Mobile SEO strategy? Want some help building an optimized mobile site? Contact Wikimotive for a free evaluation of your current mobile strategies and advice on how you can improve.