The mobile web has grown explosively in recent years, leaving many website owners with the predicament of creating a successful mobile website. The fastest and most effective way to accomplish this is by increasing mobile SEO, which is a combination of mobile web design and boosting a site’s rankings in mobile search results. Four vital tips are outlined below.
A tool such as Google Analytics will show what percentage of site visitors are using mobile, as well as the devices and screen resolutions being utilized. It can also narrow down results to focus on mobile traffic, and the keywords, pages and content that mobile users are consuming. Analysis may also reveal that only certain sections of a website hold appeal for visitors on mobile, such as a promotion or special feature.
Site analysis reveals what devices are being used, such as Android, iPhone or Blackberry. The next step is to discover how the site looks to those devices. An online tool like Screenfly will give the siteowner views from many different screen resolutions on smartphones and tablets. The Fetch feature on Google Master Tools has a setting for smartphones, which can reveal a lot of information about how the site is being crawled. This can be useful in eliminating unhelpful redirections that may be affecting mobile traffic.
Any issues revealed in the presentation phase must be dealt with by developing a design strategy. Many site owners are going with a responsive web design, which is a single layout that arranges itself according to the screen size on which it is being viewed. The biggest advantage to using this approach is the same content will be presented on a single URL regardless of device. It may not be the right solution for all situations, in which case a separate, mobile-optimized site may be set up that will be dynamically served on the same URL as the standard site but offer specialized content that is targeted to mobile users. Setting up a mobile version on an “m” subdomain is not recommended as the Google crawler will have to work harder to index the extra content, and there will also be inconsistent search results.
A site using a responsive layout will index well because it is serving the same content to desktop users as it is to mobile users. Sites that must use an “m” subdomain can benefit by using the mobile sitemap feature available through the Google Webmaster Tools. The site should also include links between the different versions, especially if they are using separate URLs. A crawler bot is not able to see if there is a different version of a site all by itself, which is why it is vital to make sure it is seeing the the code that it needs for proper indexing.
The mobile web will only continue to expand, and webmasters must ensure their sites are ready for the challenge. Following the tips above will provide a strong foundation for mobile success.