You or someone you know in all likelihood owns a mobile smartphone (…like the I-Phone, Android or something similar) and accesses the Internet with it. These devices have grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years – projections are that one day, more people will access the Internet with a handheld device than laptops or traditional desktop machines.
With that said, now is the time to consider integrating a mobile version of your website into your online marketing strategy.
When examining this from a purely SEO standpoint though, one thing you must understand before anything:
Search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo don’t give a hoot if you have a mobile compatible web site or not
That’s right – websites designed for mobile users do NOT receive any special treatment from the search engines. In other words, searches from a mobile smartphone are treated just like any other search from a regular computer.
If you take out your smartphone and do a search, you’ll notice that search engines do not rank mobile sites higher unless you add “mobile” or some other unique keyword to your phrase.
Let’s be clear though – having a site optimized for mobile users is absolutely important. However, this is more of a usability issue and not necessarily a ranking issue.
From a search engine optimization standpoint though, it’s highly unlikely your mobile site will ever outrank your main site.
The big impact in terms of SEO and mobile smartphones is local search. Here’s where sites designed for mobile devices are treated differently than desktop sites (…notice, they treat them differently, not better).
Google and others essentially assume that a mobile search is local. In fact, statistics show that there is a 33% or higher chance you’re looking for something local when using your smartphone.
For example, if you type in “Best Buy” on your mobile device, it’s assumed you’re looking for the local Best Buy store in your town.
Another caveat of mobile search (..exclusive to Google) is the fact that Google Places is clearly pushed to the top in a majority of local related keyword searches.
Therefore, if your customers are local, it’s quite clear you need to have a presence in something like Google Places.
Aside from local searches though, there isn’t any special treatment for mobile-enabled websites.
With this assumption in hand, your best bet is to drive all traffic to your main site and put your mobile optimized site with a sub-directory (i.e. http://www.yoursite.com/mobile) rather than as a stand-alone subdomain (i.e. http://mobile.yoursite.com).
Setting up your mobile site this way carries several benefits, including:
- Content, trust and authority of your main site (…since it’s likely been around much longer) will be available to your mobile users
- You can maintain focus of your link building on your main site rather than having to split your efforts between multiple sites
- Setting cookies is less troublesome when you don’t have to go cross domain
If you’ve setup a mobile site with its own stand-alone domain, you’re probably experiencing difficulty in getting the new domain to rank. If so, you can setup a 301 re-direct to a mobile domain attached to your main website (i.e. http://www.yoursite.com/mobile).
From a marketing and usability standpoint, mobile compatible sites are becoming an absolute must, especially considering these devices are currently experiencing an explosive 400% growth in usage. Much of your content will stay the same – it will just need to include coding to make it compatible for the ubiquitous small screens mobile smartphones have.
But considering the fact that only a tiny fraction of companies have added mobile sites, you will likely have a distinct competitive advantage by starting one now rather than waiting another year or two.
Other Posts you May Be Interested In