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May 15, 2009

Mobile Search and SEO

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Growth of Mobile Search

Today at the Cebit conference on Web and Mobile Applications I discovered something really interesting. 99% of people attending the conference had a blackberry/iPhone or any sort of smart phone. Some people while taking notes, were twitting, sending email or just browsing with their mobiles. According to Nic Williams – Chief Executive Office/Founder at Mocra -the iPhone has the leading browser experience. Nic mentioned that not only social networking (Facebook, Skype and Twitter) is becoming popular on a new iPhone but also sites such as sports.com.au or Surfline that offer interesting data and interesting way to visualize the data. Keith Ahern – CEO of MoGeneration – talked about the Critical Success Factors for Commercial Mobile Applications and how to use mobile apps to increase brand awareness, to reach customers on the go and to generate revenue.

Do people like to use mobiles to buy online? More likely, people are searching for directions, restaurants, locations, entertainment and information. Where do people start searching? According to a recent survey conducted by TMP Directional Marketing, 31% of local searches come from search engines and 60% of shoppers with Wi-Fi phones have conducted local mobile searches.

Bruce Clay Australia Graph

Source

SEO is a must for mobile sites

The growth of mobile search usage isn’t something new to me, however it makes me think about its impact on search engine marketing and how the future of SEO for mobiles will be.

In the last year lots of companies around the globe have started realizing how having a mobile friendly site is becoming essential. In April 2009 dotMobi, the company behind .mobi, the first top level domain dedicated to delivering the Internet to mobile devices, counted something like 1.1 million mobile site addresses in the world.

Mobile Web is still at its early stage. Most of websites in Australia are not optimised for viewing on mobiles. In addition there are slow downloading speed and connectivity issues. With a bad user experience, users will most likely not come back. There is a massive opportunity for businesses in the emerging internet mobile market. Businesses would need to consider search engine optimisation techniques when developing mobile sites. Many aspects of mobile optimisation will follow traditional SEO practices with particular emphasis on on-page factors.

SEO for mobile sites – Tips

Here are few tips that might help you when optimising a site for mobiles:

  • use a dedicated url for mobile
  • provide information that are relevant and easy to access to mobile users
  • rely on a simple navigation
  • submit your mobile site to Mobile Search Engines (such as Yahoo One Search and Google
  • adhere to mobile standards
  • don’t rely on embedded images, objects, scripts, frames, flash, pop-up windows

You might want to refer also to Google’s webmaster guidelines for mobile website.

I believe mobile search will become more and more an integrated part of our daily life with a wider selection of user friendly devices with a faster broadband speed. Business will become more aware of the importance of their mobile search capability. Search engines will develop more sophisticated apps to facilitate local search through mobile phones.

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