Mobile search engines have various bots and algorithms than those utilized for conventional internet search. They evaluate your web site as if it was being rendered on a mobile phone, and they rank outcomes partially according to how well the page will render on the kind of phone that submitted the query. In the event you look inside your log files, you are able to see that Googlebot-Mobile has various user agents that spoof various phones, such as a Samsung phone, an iPhone or an Erickson phone. In certain instances, different devices will present different search results according to the evaluations that Google makes with the various user agents. The very best thing you are able to do to enhance your mobile search engine optimization would be to make sure that the mobile crawlers and user agents figure out that your content will render well and load rapidly on any mobile phone.
Because the mobile search engines aren’t as finely tuned as the conventional engines, they’re still placing a heavy weight on a website’s mobile bounce rate, utilizing the mobile visitors as barometers for how the web site renders on their phone. This, once more ought to reinforce the require for great mobile rendering. Here’s how you are able to enhance mobile rankings and mobile rending of your web site.
Fundamental mobile Search engine optimization & site architecture
One of the very best things you are able to do to enhance your mobile search outcomes is follow conventional Search engine optimization greatest practices as closely as possible. While mobile bots and indexes are various from internet search, things like title tags, heading tags and alt tags are still very important.
In the event you have done a great job on your conventional Search engine optimization, the first step would be to create a secondary mobile style sheet for your conventional site, and call it handheld.css. This will allow you to format your existing pages for viewing on a mobile phone without having to create separate mobile content. It allows you to leverage the Search engine optimization value that you already have on your existing site without creating new pages. You are able to use the mobile style sheet to block things from becoming rendered utilizing a display:none attribute in the stylesheet. Mobile phones (except iPhones) will automatically pull the handheld style sheet.
iPhones are bit various, and do not look for mobile handheld style sheets. To address this problem, you ought to duplicate your handheld sheet to create one that is specifically for the iPhone, and call it iPhone.css. Even though the iPhone is meant to render full internet pages, research has shown that people still prefer mobile-formatted content on iPhones.
In some instances, mobile search engines will want to rank a conventional page, but deem it ill-suited for rendering on a mobile phone-sometimes even if it has a mobile-specific style sheet. In these instances, the mobile search engines will rank your conventional content, but transcode it for viewing on a mobile phone.
The transcoded version of the site is hosted on a temporary subdomain of on the search engine’s domain. In many instances, this provides an under-optimized user experience, because navigation is sometimes misplaced or broken, and single pages are broken into multiple pages for faster download. It can also be problematic for tracking the activity on your mobile site, and if anyone links to the content, the actual web site may not get credit for the links. To address this concern, you must include a no-transform cache-control in the header for your conventional content. The no-transform designation in the cache control of the header ought to prevent the page from becoming transcoded.
The next step would be to include a mobile site map. Google has a tool that can help you build a mobile sitemap. In the event you are utilizing multiple markup languages, for instance XHTML and WML you ought to submit a separate mobile sitemap for each language that exists on the site, and include only the pages that will render in browsers that can read that kind of code. Be sure to link to the mobile site map inside your robots.txt file, just like you would for a conventional site map.
Submitting a mobile site map, adding the mobile style sheet and the no-transform tag ought to be enough to get the mobile search engines to start crawling and ranking your content. Mobile browsers are unsophisticated and networks can be slow. Another greatest practice to make sure that your conventional content will work on a mobile phone would be to code in strict XHTML. This will give you the very best chance of rendering well across the highest number of phones and browsers.
Advanced mobile Search engine optimization and site architecture
If the pages on your conventional site don’t use external style sheets, have a large file size, sloppy code or lots of multi-media content that could have trouble rendering on mobile phones, you might require to create mobile-specific content on a mobile subdomain or subdirectory (such as www.m.yoursite.com or www.yousite.com/m). This can be problematic for Search engine optimization, because it can split your links and traffic between two sets of similar pages. In terms of usability though, it may be worth the effort.
Inside your mobile-specific pages, you ought to also use a handheld style sheet and the no-transform designation, but you are able to also re-arrange the code so that it is more suited for mobile rendering and crawling. In the event you have extensive top navigation, the very best practice would be to move it to the bottom of the page, and include jump-links to it at the top of the page. The jump-links ought to link to major sections of the page, or could just link to your main content, main navigation, and contact information. These jump links will allow people to see more of the unique content above the fold, and will also minimize the amount of scrolling a user will have to do to find information on the page.
Ideally, mobile search engines would be able to see that you have both mobile and conventional content, and would choose to rank your mobile content above your conventional content in mobile search. Unfortunately that is not the case yet. In most instances, your mobile content is competing algorithmically against your conventional content in mobile search outcomes, even when it is on a mobile subdirectory or mobile subdomain of your existing site. The mobile content is newer, has fewer links and sometimes, less content so it may be at an algorithmic disadvantage. That said, the next step would be to link between the two versions of the site.
Browser-detection and redirection, then self selection is the mnemonic device that I like to use to describe how mobile and conventional websites ought to interact. Browser detection and re-direction is a process that looks to see what browser the internet visitor is utilizing to access the site; if a mobile browser is requesting the conventional site, a PHP script seamlessly redirects the user to the mobile site. If a conventional browser is requesting the mobile site, it seamlessly redirects them to the conventional site. This is especially handy if your conventional web site out-ranks your mobile web site in mobile search, but it can also be handy if your mobile site happens to our rank your conventional site in conventional search-which can happen.
The self-selection part of the rhyme simply refers to the idea that you ought to be linking between the conventional site and the mobile site with a text link. It is important that the link goes page-to-page rather than from any page on the conventional site to the home page of the mobile site, or vice versa. The link ought to be on the word mobile or iPhone in the event you have an iPhone-specific site. This is another great signal to give the search engines that the mobile content is optimized for mobile viewing, and ought to rank well in mobile search outcomes. Links ought to always go from the conventional site to the mobile site and vice versa, to make sure that users are able to find exactly what they’re looking for.
There are important notes about placing the self-selection link on your conventional sites. I highly recommend placing it in the very upper left hand corner of the conventional page. It ought to be a text link with appropriate anchor text that indicates mobility, but it ought to also include an image of a phone with great anchor text. This is because when conventional pages render on mobile phones, in some case the right site of the page is cut off or not displayed without side-to-side scrolling. If the button is placed in the upper right hand corner of the page or at the bottom of the page, it could be totally missed.
The phone image is necessary because in many instances, mobile phones with true-web-browsers will display conventional pages that are zoomed out to such a degree that normal size text-links become too small to read; the image helps catch the users eye. When people click the link, it is greatest to set a cookie, so that it tells the browser to always automatically redirect to the mobile version of the site. Not all mobile phones support cookies 100% but enough do that it is worth your time to do it.
Mobile platforms and software
In the event you are utilizing a platform to mobileize your site, there are a couple things you require to look out for, as they can have a dramatic effect on mobile Search engine optimization. Most mobile platforms simply take the existing content on your conventional page and remove all complex code and media, leaving simply text and a minimal amount of images. This is basically the same as the transcoding that the search engines do, though with a proprietary platform it is more customizable. The first problem with these kinds of software is that if they’re internet based, they may include the mobile content on a subdomain of their main domain, rather than including it on your domain.
This generally looks something like: www.yourdomain.theirdomain.com.
In terms of Search engine optimization, that means that you are building up their domain rather than yours, and they have all control of the hosting. Any links, traffic or rankings that your mobile content accumulates are actually accredited to their domain rather than your own.
The next problem with mobilezing software is that frequently they will create temporary or poorly optimized file names, removing any Search engine optimization value from your site architecture or from links that use your URLs as anchor text. Even if the mobile content is on your own domain, the bad file names make it highly under-optimized. When your mobile content is on a mobile subdomain or subdirectory the very best bet would be to always mirror your conventional site architecture. This lets you take advantage of your previous efforts, including keywords inside your file structure. It also makes it much easier for developers to link between the mobile and the conventional content, and to understand what is going on.
Once more, you will require to submit a mobile site map and link it from your robots.txt file. In the event you are putting content on a mobile subdomain, you actually require to create a separate robots.txt file and place it and the mobile site map at the root directory of your mobile subdomain. It is fine to also link from the site map in root folder of the primary domain, but it is greatest to do both. With this strategy your mobile-specific content ought to be pared-down and optimized enough that it will out-rank the conventional site in searches on less sophisticated phones. In searches on smart phones, your conventional site is more likely to rank, but the browser detection and redirection ought to make sure that mobile users still get to the correct content. In the event you use this strategy, you actually provide a great user experience and the very best chance of ranking well on the largest number of phones.
The reason I like this strategy so much is because it provides a lot of fall-back options, if something goes wrong. There are so many various mobile handsets and mobile browsers that it is hard to know that your internet content will perform flawlessly. If browser-detection and redirection fails, you still have the self selection option. If that fails or is missed, you still have the handheld style sheet on the conventional content to enhance its rendering on the mobile phone. This strategy works because it gives the mobile search engines lots of clues that your content is appropriate for ranking in mobile search. It also allows you to leverage the existing Search engine optimization power of your primary domain and still provide separate mobile experience when necessary.
Risks associated with mobile Search engine optimization
As you might have guessed, creating a copy of your web site and putting it on a subdomain risks duplicate content issues. You would think that the mobile search engines would be smart enough to understand and interpret the duplication, but they can still get confused. If this is the case, your newer mobile content has little hope of ever outranking your older conventional content, even in mobile search. While the browser-detection and redirection ought to take care of this issue, you the duplicate content also risks bleeding a bit of the Search engine optimization value from the content on the conventional site.
If this is a concern, the very best factor to do is try utilizing the canonical tag, to push all the value from your mobile site back to your conventional site, and then rely on your browser detection and redirection to take care of the rest. The risk here is that you will hurt your rankings for searches on the less sophisticated phones, because you are pushing all the Search engine optimization value to the non-mobile content. The next option, if that doesn’t work, is use your robots.txt file to block the conventional crawler from reaching your mobile content, and potentially also blocking the mobile crawler from accessing your conventional content. This can be a bit risky, and ought to approached with caution, but ought to also enhance the efficiency of both crawlers, keeping them focused on the content that is most important to them.
The other risk associated with any sophisticated mobile Search engine optimization strategy is that you get in trouble for the browser detection and redirection. Search engines are wary of automatic redirection because of its historical use as a spamming technique. The great news is that the search engines are very much in favor of great usability. Because the redirection is for the benefit of the user you ought to be OK, as long as you are providing the search engines with the same content as the visitors and you aren’t trying to do anything sneaky. This however, is another great reason to link directly from page-to-page, when you are creating the self selection links, because that is the very best way to make sure that the two pages in the redirect scheme have similar content, so the redirect is less likely to be perceived as deceptive.
The future of mobile Search engine optimization
As you might have noticed, the mobile space and the development of mobile technology is moving along quite rapidly. It is important to understand that the search engines are scurrying to keep up, and they’re still doing a lot of testing. Mobile algorithms get updates just like conventional internet search algos, and in some instances, they can be significant.
Changes like the increased personalization of search outcomes and the inclusion of real-time content like tweets and wall-posts is great for mobile search because it provides the user with information that they want rapidly and easily. When you think about it, computers can be shared, but mobile phones rarely are, so the level of personalization in mobile search will continue to expand. The search engine can almost always safely assume that the person searching on your phone is you, and they can adapt outcomes according to your previous search behavior, even when you aren’t actually logged in.
Mobile Search engine optimization can also be very focused on location, and though the search engines re not yet actively including your current GPS location in normal mobile internet search, I think they will soon. Currently, to include GPS location data with your search query you actually have to set your location before you do your search. The potential for automatic inclusion of location information coupled with the personalization will make mobile search outcomes even harder to anticipate and track. Mobile Search engine optimization will focus heavily on traffic as a measure of success for exactly this reason. The caveat is that in the event you are utilizing mobile Search engine optimization to drive foot traffic to a store, people may get everything they require from the map, address, phone number and other information included in a mobile search result, and they may not even require to click through.
Applications are also altering mobile Search engine optimization. Mobile searchers are actually turning to mobile search applications instead of internet search more and more. These include search engines like WikiTude, UrbanSpoon, RedLaser and Shazam. Downloadable search applications have various input mechanisms that can make them more fun, more interactive or more useful, and in many instances, the outcomes tend to be more specialized and provide more information than a regular mobile internet search.
It is also important to understand that applications are actually ranking in Google search outcomes somewhat like a Universal result; so if your app is ranking well in the app store it could be pulled into a normal search result. With the launch of Google’s new mobile application marketplace Campfire, as well as the Android Marketplace and the AppStore, you are able to expect this to happen even more, both in mobile and conventional outcomes. When you click on the link in the search outcomes, it actually opens the AppStore on your phone or iTunes on your conventional computer, executing a command much like opening a PDF file in Adobe reader. Having applications that rank well in the application marketplaces is important for driving downloads, but it is can also be a strategy to push competitors down in conventional search outcomes, like videos or images that rank in Universal outcomes might do.