Mobile optimisation an SEO priority
Discussion about the shifting of the search market towards portable devices is almost constant, with various insiders making predictions about when the tipping point might be reached and the majority of users will end up looking for websites and content from smartphones and tablets rather than desktop machines.
Search Engine Watch points out that the SES London Agency conference, which was held last week in the capital, focused on a number of mobile search-oriented topics, with debate driven by the fact that consistent growth in this market is going to shape SEO strategies.
Over the course of 2013, it is anticipated that up to $5 billion (£3.3 billion) of Google’s revenue will come from tablet searches alone and these trends will only increase as sales of such devices continue to shoot upwards.
What often distinguishes mobile search optimisation from desktop search is that sites need to look far closely at the localised data for ranking and traffic.
If your site ranks well, based on searches made from one area but not from another, this may need to be addressed, particularly if you have multiple real world locations that smartphone owners may end up visiting as a result of using Google from their smartphone.
Of course on the other hand, you may want to ensure that you rank well in specific locations but are less visible in others, so that you do not get lots of unnecessary clicks. This is particularly important for anyone running a PPC campaign that will be targeting mobile searchers.
Conversely, tablets are much closer to desktops because the vast majority of their usage is carried out within the confines of the user’s home.
Google and other search engines therefore tend to treat tablets in much the same way as they would desktops, but that does not mean that this form factor does not present its own optimisation concerns.
SES London Agency keynote speaker, Cindy Krum, told .Net Magazine that sites need to make sure that they have optimised not just for mobile visitors from a design point of view, but also the way they are presented on SERPs, when viewed from different portable platforms.
This means taking context as an integral part of SEO, so that potential customers are encouraged to click through, no matter which device they are using.
Krum pointed out that Google and its contemporaries are apparently in favour of sites which take advantage of responsive designs, rather than setting up distinct addresses to define their desktop and mobile optimised sites.
This could apparently be down to something as simple as the fact that a responsive design means that there is no need for multiple URLs to be crawled and last year Google even went out of its way to confirm that it is in favour of this approach.
The point made by many experts is that site owners will generally have access to the kind of information that can help them optimise for mobile search. It is simply necessary for this to be used effectively.