Your Mobile SEO Checklist
Increasingly, people are accessing the Web from smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. It’s not just the desktop and laptop anymore.
This means that, as a business owner, Internet marketer, or SEO professional, you have to come up with a search engine optimization strategy that’s specific to mobile – a strategy that will help you get found online more easily and quickly.
Let smartphone users and mobile consumers find you whenever they search. Here’s a mobile SEO checklist to get you started:
Plan for it. Set a strategy, identify your targets, and plan accordingly. Like any other SEO campaign, successful mobile marketing takes plenty of research and preparation.
Know the various mobile search engines. There’s Google XHTML, Google Mobile, Bing Mobile, Yahoo! Mobile, AOL Mobile, and abphone – among many others. Familiarize yourself with these by using your own mobile phone or tablet device.
“Mobilize” your website. There are plenty of plug-ins and tools for building a mobile version of website, but this doesn’t mean you have to build an entirely different website (with its own domain) from the one you already have. You can also ask your Web programmer or administrator to simply create a secondary CSS file / style sheet for rendering your site precisely and eye-poppingly in various mobile platforms.
Make search easier. Does your full website have its own search box? Make that box prominent when designing the mobile version of your site – preferably at a position where people won’t have to scroll down or scroll right just to find it. It’s a great way of helping users find and arrive immediately at what they’re looking for.
Go agnostic. It’s best to implement a mobile SEO strategy that welcomes all kinds of handheld devices, mobile operating systems, and screen sizes. Make your mobile website as usable for iPhone users as it is for Android and BlackBerry users. Don’t settle for mere reformatting; instead, extend your content and functionality in a way that will have you rank higher in mobile search results.
Apply best practices in SEO. Remember all the traditional on-page SEO tips that you followed to boost your search ranking? Apply them, too, for mobile. Optimize those title tags, meta data, URLs, images, videos, and other documents within your site. Do some link-building. Post fresh, original content – and don’t spam.
Avoid getting fancy. Flash intros, Ajax applications, and other fancy presentations don’t do anything to help your mobile website rank higher in search engine results pages. So drop them. You’ll be surprised at how much faster and simpler your pages will load, too – making it easy for mobile visitors and search engine robots alike.
Click to call. One design element that you do want to include is click-to-call functionality, particularly if you have specific products or services to sell. If your visitors are using their phones to access your Website, you might as well give them the option of instantly calling you. Doing so may improve your conversion rates, too.
Comply. Follow web accessibility guidelines and standards to make sure your website appears on mobile screens perfectly. If in doubt, consult the W3C mobileOK Basic Tests, a comprehensive guide for creating handheld-friendly Web layout.
Speed it up. Site speed is one of the factors in search engine rankings (including that for mobile), and it also affects the way visitors behave when navigating your website. So keep images and heavy text content at a minimum. If your pages load too slowly on smartphones and mobile devices, they’re likely to jump to the next website, which, for all you know, could be your fiercest competitor.
Create a mobile sitemap. If you’re not sure how to do this, just search the Web and choose one of the many mobile / XML sitemap generators available for free. Once you’re done, submit the sitemap and your mobile URL to Google Webmaster Tools, online directories, and other search engines.
Use the Mobile Keyword Tool. Search queries made on mobile devices are usually shorter than those made on desktops and laptops. Want to figure out mobile-friendly variations of your most important keywords and target mobile users? Use the Google AdWords Keyword Tool; under “Advanced Options” > “Show Ideas and Statistics for”, choose any of the following: all mobile devices (sum of devices with WAP browsers and devices with Internet browsers), mobile devices with WAP browsers, or mobile devices with full Internet browsers (iPhone, Android devices, etc.).
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