The Importance of Mobile SEO for Your Business
Most business owners today have a love-hate relationship with mobile SEO. Why? Because they understand the importance of having a mobile friendly website, but have a hard time getting around to building one. By recent estimates mobile devices will outpace PCs as the preferred online entry point; in fact as much as 57% of users would shy away from recommending a business with a bad mobile experience. If you are a local business, or a business with local offices, having a mobile friendly site is imperative, with over 95% of mobile users searching for local information, the opportunity cost of not showing up for those searchers is just too high.
Before You Start
So where do we begin? Before you start contemplating your mobile strategy gather as much data as you can. If you have Google Analytics installed on your website, take a look at the mobile section under “Audience” to assess your opportunity, what percentage of your unique visitors access your website through a Smartphone? What pages do they view? How much time on average do they spend on your website? And what keywords are driving the bulk of mobile traffic to your website? Now that you’ve analyzed your mobile traffic, you have to consider user experience and ask yourself the fundamental question of “do my mobile users require a different website layout?” Often times the answer will be an unequivocal NO, however sometimes mobile users require a much simpler experience in which case you’ll have to re-work the information architecture and the way your site is laid out.
Much of the technical implementation for your mobile friendly website depends on how you answer the aforementioned question. If your mobile users require a truly different experience, than most business owners decide on going the sub-domain route. However if your user base is indifferent to the overall information architecture of your website, than I would recommend responsive design, in which the presentational as well as informational elements of your website change and adapt to the viewing device’s resolution and screen size. In fact major search engines, Google and Bing, have come out publicly in support of responsive design and have recommended it as the preferred method for building a mobile friendly version of a website.
There are various SEO implications for the two strategies mentioned above; however no matter which strategy you decide to go with, it’s always best to consult individuals which specialize in providing mobile SEO services. For example there are pros and cons to using a subdomain for your mobile friendly website. One of the risks you should be aware of is the creation of duplicate content which leaves both on your main website and on the mobile subdomain. The use of the canonical tag should help alleviate some of the duplication issues. The bottom line, business owners can’t afford to ignore mobile, the users have made their preferences quite clear. Take advantage of this change in user behavior and maximize your return on the mobile investment.
About the Author: Marat Gaziev is an SEO Consultant based out of Chicago, IL. He offers search engine optimization services to clients who are looking to improve their online presence. Follow Marat on Google Plus and Twitter.